Russia failed in probe over Chechnya activist killing: Europe court

Strasbourg, France: Russia has failed to properly investigate the 2009 killing of activist Natalia Estemirova, Europe’s top rights court said Tuesday, while disappointing her supporters by ruling there was no evidence of a state-sponsored murder.

Campaigners have accused the local authorities in Chechnya under its strongman leader Ramzan Kadyrov of being linked to the abduction and murder of Estemirova, who was head of the Chechnya branch of Memorial, a leading Russian rights group.

They have called for a more thorough inquiry, but so far no one has ever faced trial over the killing.

Ruling on a case brought by Estemirova’s sister Svetlana in 2011, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said it had seen no evidence of state involvement in the murder of Estemirova.

But over a decade after a murder that shocked the rights community in Russia, it said Moscow had shown a "failure to properly investigate the crime”.

The Russian government had also failed to provide the court with a full copy of the criminal case file, which "had undermined its ability to assess the quality of the investigation”, it added.

But the evidence it had received and contradictions in the case "led it to doubt that the investigation had been effective”, the court said.

Russia failed to prove the investigation was in line with the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights, the court said, ordering the Russian government to pay 20,000 euros ($23,700) in damages. – AFP