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Court: Investigation of journalist Anna Politkovskaya’s murder failed to look properly into who commissioned the crime

A European Court of Human Rights judgement today declared that Russia’s investigation into murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya “failed to look properly into who commissioned the crime.”

The case was brought by the mother, sister and children of the journalist who was killed in 2006.

As Just satisfaction (Article 41), the European court held by five votes to two that Russia was to pay the applicants 20,000 euros (EUR) jointly in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Mazepa and Others v. Russia (application no. 15086/07) the European Court of Human Rights held, by five votes to two, that there had been:

a violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The court found in particular that while the authorities had found and convicted a group of men who had directly carried out the contract killing of Ms Politkovskaya, they had failed to take adequate investigatory steps to find the person or persons who had commissioned the murder.

The authorities had followed one theory about the instigator of the crime, pointing to a now deceased Russian businessman residing in London, however, they had not explained how they had followed through on that line of enquiry. They should also have explored other possibilities, including those suggested by the applicants. They had alleged the involvement of agents from Russia’s FSB domestic secret service or of the administration of the Chechen Republic.

The state had failed to abide by its obligations under the Convention to carry out an effective investigation and the length of the proceedings had been too long.

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