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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in the North Caucasus and in particular the case of Oleg Orlov


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Heidi Hautala, Werner Schulz, Barbara Lochbihler, Bart Staes on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0549/2010

Postopek : 2010/2932(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in the North Caucasus and in particular the case of Oleg Orlov

The European Parliament,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the Russian Federation with regard, in particular, to the ones of 17 September 2009, 12 November 2009 and 17 June 2010,


- having regard to the existing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between the

European Communities and their Member States, of the one part, and the Russian

Federation, of the other part, and the negotiations initiated in 2008 on a new EU-Russia



- having regard to the EU-Russia Human Rights Consultations,


- having regard to the Resolution 1738 (2010) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and to the report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights on Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus region of 22 June 2010 and of 4 June 2010,


- having regard to the press releases issued by EP President Buzek on the sixth anniversary of the tragedy of Beslan of 3 October 2010, on Anna Politkovskaya: fourth anniversary of the assassination of 6 October 2010 and on the suicide bomb attack in Vladikavkaz, North Caucasus of 10 October 2010,

- having regard to Rule 122(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas over the last few years the situation in some areas of the North Caucasus has been constantly deteriorating with widespread serious human rights violations, attacks, killings, forced disappearances and cases of ill-treatment and arbitrary detention,

B. whereas the situation of refugees from and within North Caucasus remains alarming, whereas more than 20,000 refugees from Chechnya are living in Austria and one refugee was murdered in Vienna in May 2010, allegedly with the involvement of the Kadyrov administration of Chechnya,


C. whereas independent journalists, civil society activists, lawyers and human rights defenders in the region have often been the victims of threats and acts of violence, harassment and intimidation and their activities limited or restricted by members of law enforcement bodies,


D. whereas the European Court of Human Rights has condemned the Russian Federation for serious human rights violations in the region in over 150 judgments, whereas the full normalization in the North Caucasus is impossible without full accountability for human rights violations and the re-establishment of the rule of law,


E. whereas investigations into human rights abuses are ineffective and flawed, often resulting in impunity for the perpetrators and perpetuating a lack of trust in state institutions and the justice system as a whole, whereas a lack of transparency with regards official acts leads to an array of such violations and whereas increasing of transparency could contribute to an increase in accountability and strengthening of the rule of law,

F. whereas those responsible for the deaths of prominent journalists, human rights activists and lawyers such as Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova, Anastasia Barburova, Stanislav Markelov and Sergei Magnitsky, who lost their lives in this very struggle, have yet to be brought to justice,


G. whereas the whereabouts of Ali Dzhaniev, Yusup Dobriev, Yunus Dobriev and Magomed Adzhiev have remained unknown since around midnight on 28 December 2009 in St. Petersburg, whereas the whereabouts of another five people Zelimkhan Akhmetovich Chibiev, Magomed Khaybulaevich Israpilov, Dzhamal Ziyanidovich Magomedov, Akil Dzhavatkhanovich Abdullaev and Dovar Nazimovich Asadov, three of whom are North Caucasus residents, have remained unknown since the night of 24-25 September 2010 when they went to Historic mosque in Moscow, where there are grounfds for concern over the fate of all five missing people,

H. whereas Oleg Orlov, one of the winners of the 2009 European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and a life long human rights defender and the head of the Council of the Human Rights Center Memorial, was found guilty in a civil defamation suit in October 2009, having accused Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov of being responsible of Natalia Estemirova's death,


I. whereas on 9 February 2010, Ramzan Kadyrov publically announced that he would drop the criminal proceedings he initiated against Mr. Oleg Orlov, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”, and Ms. Ludmila Alexeeva, Chairwoman of the Moscow Helsinki Group, for defamation,


J. whereas on 21 January 2010, Mr. Oleg Orlov and Memorial Human Rights Centre were respectively condemned by the Moscow City Civil Court to pay 20,000 roubles (approximately EUR 460) and 50,000 roubles (approximately EUR 1,150) in damages to Mr Kadyrov and court proceedings have continued despite a public retraction of the complaint by the plaintiff, Chechnya’s President Ramzan Kadyrov,


K. whereas on 6 July 2010, Mr Oleg Orlov was summoned to appear before the Investigation Division of Investigatory Department and was then charged with criminal offense of "libel" under parts 2 and 3 of Article 129 of the Criminal Code, whereas Mr Oleg Orlov is facing up to three years in jail,


L. whereas, since court hearings resumed on 27 September 2010 in the criminal case against Mr Oleg Orlov, a series of checks by prosecutors into the activities of Memorial and 35 other NGOs are raising fears that these organisations could face increased government pressure,


M. whereas on 29 October 2009, the Representative of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on Freedom of the Media, Mr Miklos Haraszti, pointed out that "statements like Mr Orlov's are perfectly legitimate in a democracy and should be subject neither to civil law nor to criminal law sanctioning",


N. whereas, as a member of the Council of Europe and of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russia has committed itself to protect and promote human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law and to respect the sovereignty of its European neighbours,

O. whereas the development of a genuine strategic partnership cannot be limited or rely only on the deepening of bilateral economic and trade relations between the EU and Russia but must go hand in hand with the respect for democratic values and the promotion of human and minority rights,

P. whereas the EU Member States have failed to put in place coherent human rights policy towards Russia, whereas inconsistent policies of the EU Member States have resulted in a weak EU position concerning the protection and promotion of human rights in Russia,


1. Expresses its deepest concern at the situation in the North Caucasus and calls on the Russian authorities to put an end to the ongoing and widespread climate of impunity for human rights violations and the absence of the rule of law in the region;

2. Pays tribute to human rights activists working in difficult circumstances and often in peril of their lives to help victims obtain justice and denounce abuses;

3. Is deeply concerned over the increased number of attacks against citizens of Ingushetia outside the Republic since December 2009 and particularly over the cases of the four Ingush men subjected to forced disappearance or extrajudicial killing in St Petersburg on the night of 28 December 2009; strongly condemns the public threats expressed against Ingush human rights defender Magomed Mutsolgov and the severe assault against Dagestani human rights defender Sapiyat Magomedova;

4. Expresses great concern over the safety of Islam Umarpashaev, a 24 year-old Chechen who was illegally detained from 11 December 2009 to 2 April 2010; urges the Russian authorities to guarantee the safety of Mr Umarpashaev and his family;

5. Calls for Russia to make efforts to increase the transparency of the official acts and enhance access to information by the Russian citizens;

6. Expects the participation of the 2009 Sakharov Prize Oleg Orlov at the ceremony of the award of the 2010 Sakharov Prize winner in the European Parliament on 15 December 2010;

7. Urges the Russian judicial and law enforcement authorities to show determination in carrying out their investigations in order to bring perpetrators to justice in fair proceedings; urges Russia to undertake a thorough review of domestic legislation, regulations and law enforcement regarding the use of lethal force by military and security forces in order to ensure compliance with international standards;

8. Urges the Russian authorities to enable the domestic and international NGOs to function effectively and without harassment in Russia; urges Russia to stop harassment and intimidation of independent journalists, lawyers and human rights defenders and to protect and guarantee their physical integrity in accordance with relevant international and regional human rights instruments; calls, in this respect, on the Commission and the Council to closely follow the progress of these investigations as well as the ongoing ones related to murders of human rights defenders;


9. Calls on the Russian authorities to fully implement all the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights and to protect complainants against harassment and threats; urges the authorities give particular attention to the implementation of judgments concerning human rights violations in North Caucasus; stresses that independent and thorough investigation must be carried out in cases where the European Court of Human Rights considers prior investigations inadequate;


10. Strongly supports the recommendations of Dick Marty's report on "Legal remedies for human rights violations in the North Caucasus" of 4 June 2010, which could make a significant contribution to the efforts to put an end to the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of human rights violations and restoring the people's trust in the law enforcement agencies;


11. Supports the initiative of Russian and international civil society to establish a Documentation Centre in Oslo for potential war crimes and other grave human rights violations committed in the course of the wars in Chechnya;


12. Urges Russia to provide unhindered access to the North Caucasus for international human rights organisations, media and international governmental institutions, such as Council of Europe, ICRC, OSCE and the UN;


13. Urges the EU to ensure that rights of the refugees from North Caucasus are protected and their safety guaranteed in Europe; urges Russia to ensure that rights of refugees within Northern Caucasus and elsewhere in Russia are protected and their safety guaranteed; urges Russia to ensure that refugees be guaranteed a right to return as foreseen in the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Russia is a party;


14. Stresses that full investigation and inquiry must be carried out to ensure accountability for the Beslan siege of 1-3 September 2004; insists on the need to restore the rights of victims and the families of the victims and to award them adequate compensation;


15. Highlights the vulnerable situation of at least 80,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in the North Caucasus who live in extremely poor, insecure and unhealthy conditions; welcomes the substantial support of the UNHCR for IDPs in the region; requests enhanced national government actions to support the UNHCR operations to continue housing programmes, facilitate IDPs’ access to services, increase their self-reliance and address the needs of the most vulnerable IDPs; urges the Russian government to legally recognize the concept of internally displaced people and to adapt its legislation accordingly;


16. Draws particular attention to the situation of thousands of North Caucasus refugees in EU Member States with special regard to the Diaspora from Chechnya living in Austria which amounts to at least 20,000 people; expresses strong concern in this respect of the murder of a Chechen refugee in May 2010 in Vienna with serious allegations regarding Chechen President’s implication into this crime; strongly requests a more coordinated, coherent and visible policy from EU Member States towards protection of North Caucasus refugees on the European soil in accordance with its humanitarian and human rights obligations;


17. Welcomes the work of Nizhny Novgorod based independent Committee Against Torture founded in 2000;


18. Stresses once more that democracy and human rights must be at the core of the new comprehensive partnership and cooperation agreement with the Russian Federation, with regard, in particular, to the definition and inclusion of an effective and operational human rights clause, and that the quality and depth of future relations depend on respect and support for such values;


19. Strongly supports the EU Guidelines on Human Rights Defenders as part of the EU human rights policy and calls at the same time on the Council to further develop preventive protection measures while focusing on the protection and support of human rights defenders; stresses in this regard the request of the European Parliament to set up a focal point for human rights defenders in all three institutions so as to better coordinate actions with European and international human rights bodies;

20. Reiterates the call to step up the EU-Russia human rights dialogue and to open this process to effective input from the European Parliament and the Russian State Duma, with the involvement of the respective directorates-general and ministries responsible for justice, internal affairs and foreign affairs in both Brussels and Moscow; calls for civil society, NGOs and human rights organisations to be more involved in the bi-annual EU-Russia summits;

21. Urges Russia to ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the UN Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance; Underlines the importance of strengthening universal jurisdiction to ensure accountability for grave violations of human rights law;

22. Notes that a comprehensive assessment of the EU-Russia Human Rights Consultation has been requested by the Council and Commission and calls for the presentation of the conclusions of this evaluation before the relevant committees of the European Parliament; calls in particular for having, as a standing item in these consultations, the protection of human rights defenders, for guaranteeing the public political follow-up to the human rights Consultations at the occasion of the EU-Russia Summits and for improving the transparency of this dialogue;

23. Urges the EU Member States to put in place coherent and consistent human rights policy towards Russia;

24. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the Member States and the Government and the Parliament of the Russian Federation.