Examination of R. Kadyrov’s lawsuit: conclusions from the first round

On 6th October 2009 the Tverskoi district court in Moscow ruled to partly satisfy Kadyrov’s lawsuit against me and the Human Rights Center Memorial.

Neither I, nor my colleagues are in agreement with the court ruling and we are determined to appeal it at the highest judicial instance. If the appeal is rejected by the Moscow city court, we will appeal to the European court on human rights.

I believe it is necessary to point out that during the court examination at the first instance the defendants were able to carry out a serious and detailed discussion of many important issues, including:
-    The political responsibility of R. Kadyrov for the death of Nataliya Estimirova
-    The responsibility of R. Kadyrov for the extremely difficult situation for independent human rights organisations in today’s Chechnya.

As a basis for our position the defendants presented many documents, reports from the mass media, public statements by officials from the Chechen Republic, including by R. Kadyrov himself, recordings of programmes from Grozny television, materials from our correspondence with the bodies of the general prosecutor’s offices, reports by human rights organisations. Witnesses who appeared in court gave facts that confirmed our position. Even witnesses for the prosecution, probably against their will, gave objective confirmation of the truth of the words, that the plaintiff succeeded in getting retracted.

As far as the question of to what degree the positions of the plaintiff and the defendant relied on facts and legal norms is concerned, anyone can get a satisfactory answer if they just acquaint themselves with the audio recordings of the shorthand reports of the court hearings, the documents presented to the court for review or with the documents attached to the case materials. These materials have been put on the Memorial site and more will follow (http://www.memo.ru/2009/09/10/sud.htm).

There is also information in various Internet publications. I think that any unbiased person will come to the obvious conclusion.

Despite the fact that the representatives of the plaintiff and the witnesses they called claimed again and again times that “Memorial” (including Nataliya Estimirova) supposedly distributed unproven and unreliable information, they did not give one concrete example of thisl. Even in answer to a direct question from a “Memorial” representative the witness on behalf of Kadyrov (the head of the human rights ombudsman’s office in Chechnya) could not give an example. More than that, the witness could not provide an example of one case wherein the office of the human rights’ ombudsman had sent a statement to Memorial or anywhere else for that matter questioning information distributed by the Human Rights Centre “Memorial”.

Because of all of the above mentioned facts I would like to express my satisfaction with the way that the court proceedings went, despite the unjust, in my opinion, decision of the court.

Oleg Orlov, chairman of the Human Rights Center Memorial

October 9, 2009