Among those against whom the complaint was filed is the chairman of the Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov
The German non-governmental organization “European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights” (ECCHR) and the Russian LGBT network appealed to a German court with a demand to bring to criminal responsibility five people from the inner circle of the head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.
Human rights activists accuse Chechen officials and security officials of crimes against humanity due to the persecution of gays in Chechnya.
The 97-page document, which was reviewed by the British newspaper Guardian, accuses the Chechen military and representatives of the Chechen authorities of unlawful arrest, torture, sexual assault and incitement to kill at least 150 people due to their sexual orientation.
The lawsuit was filed in February this year. According to the newspaper, it includes the deputy chairman of the Chechen government Abuzaid Vismuradov, the head of the police of the city of Argun in Chechnya Ayub Kataev and the chairman of the Chechen parliament Magomed Daudov. The newspaper does not specify the names of two more people against whom the lawsuit was filed.
Earlier, the EU countries, Britain and the United States have already imposed sanctions against Vismuradov and Kataev for the persecution of gays in Chechnya.
- “Novaya Gazeta” transferred to the UK data on the victims of gays in Chechnya
If the German Prosecutor General's Office opens criminal proceedings on this claim, the accused may face arrest on the territory of the Federal Republic of Germany and other countries with which Germany is bound by agreements on the provision of legal assistance.
Why was the lawsuit filed in a German court?
The lawsuit was filed in a court of the Federal Republic of Germany, since the principle of universal jurisdiction operates there, which allows criminal prosecution for crimes against humanity, even if they are committed in other countries.
German human rights lawyers have tried for years to use this principle to hold people accountable for crimes against humanity. Among those against whom they were going to press charges was, for example, former US President George W. Bush, whom they suspect, among other things, of violating the UN Convention against Torture.
- “A screw in a torture machine.” A refugee who worked in the special services of Syria convicted in Germany
Earlier, German law enforcement agencies were able to convince the court that, based on the principle of universal jurisdiction, it has the right to consider crimes against humanity committed in Syria.
As a result, a German court in February of this year found former Syrian intelligence officer Eyad al-Gharib guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to four and a half years in prison.
His case has become an important legal precedent, since now the FRG courts can pass sentences to other people guilty of human rights violations in Syria.
Harassment of gays in Chechnya
For the first time, Novaya Gazeta reported about large-scale persecution of gays in Chechnya in 2017. According to the newspaper, the Chechen authorities began to place men suspected of homosexuality in “secret prisons”, where they were tortured and several people were killed.
- Human rights activists report new detentions of gays in Chechnya, authorities deny
- “You will not find sympathizers”: a monologue of a Chechen gay man who left Russia
The Russian LGBT network reported that since April 2017, the organization's employees have evacuated about 150 people from Chechnya, of which more than 130 have left Russia.
The Chechen authorities denied that there were special prisons for gays in the republic, and denied accusations of harassment of sexual minorities, claiming that there were none in the republic.
“If there were such people in Chechnya, the law enforcement agencies would not have any worries with them, since the relatives themselves would send them to the address they are not returning from,” said the press secretary of the head of Chechnya, Alvi Karimov.