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Chechnya and the European Court of Human Rights: The merits of Strategic Litigation

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In May 1998, eighteen months before the start of the second war in Chechnya, Russia ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, thereby granting the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) jurisdiction to hear complaints against the Russian authorities from Russian citizens. When the second war in Chechnya started in December 1999, therefore, human rights organizations had access to a new potentially powerful tool with which to fight human rights abuses in Chechnya: the European Court of Human Rights. Several litigation projects emerged and hundreds of complaints have been filed from Chechnya. Ten years after the ratification of the European Convention on Human Rights, the record shows that bringing cases to the ECHR has produced concrete positive results, but that the full potential of ECHR litigation is still to be realized.


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