Refusal to open criminal case against officials who led special operation in Dubrovka theater is illegal - court decision

The Moscow Lefortovsky District Court has ruled that investigators' refusal to open a criminal case against the officials who led the operation to free hostages in the Dubrovka theater in 2002 is illegal.

The court has granted a claim filed by Igor Trunov, a lawyer for the victims, an Interfax correspondent has reported.

Hearings on the case have been postponed three times because the prosecutor and the investigator failed to appear in court. At one of the hearings, Trunov accused the investigator and the prosecutor of "ignoring and disrupting the trial."

The defense lawyers for the victims demanded that the Investigations Committee open a criminal case, citing a decision made by the European Court of Human Rights.

"The hostages were hurt and died as a result of the negligence and abuse of power by the officials who organized storming the center, not at the hands of the terrorists. A criminal case was not opened against these people, their guilt was not determined, and the people did not get any compensation," Trunov said earlier.

The decision made by the European Court of Human Rights ordering compensation to the people hurt in the terrorist attack took effect in early June.

Trunov told the court the investigator did not even give any reasons for his refusal to open a criminal case.

"Our claim was based on the decision made by the European Court of Human Rights, which says that the gas used in the special operation was fatal to weak people and said it needs to be investigated by opening a criminal case. The formula for this gas is not present in any criminal cases related to this attack," he said.

Trunov said the reasons given by the investigator stating that a decision was made in 2002 not to open a case on the basis of a claim filed by Boris Nemtsov, who was a State Duma deputy at that time, were not legal.

"The decision made by the European Court of Human Rights is grounds for the reversal of all previous decisions. In addition, in 2002 Nemtsov did not know the facts that were presented in the European Court of Human Rights, namely, evidence given by medical workers, medical records of the people who received treatment, and the results of autopsies performed on the dead hostages. The European Court of Human Rights used that information to make its decision," Trunov said.

The prosecutor, in turn, asked for the claim to be declined.

"The reasons stated in the claim filed by Nemtsov in 2002 are similar to Trunov's reasons. The investigator gave a grounded response to Trunov's statement," he said.

On December 20, 2011, the European Court of Human Rights granted a claim filed by the victims, ordering Russia to pay each of them 8,800 Euros to 66,000 Euros in moral damages. The court found that the authorities did not plan and conduct the rescue operation in a responsible manner and were unable to conduct an effective investigation.

Sixty-four people, including victims of the Dubrovka theater terrorist attack and relatives of the people killed in the attack, filed claims with the European Court of Human Rights.

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