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Trial Monitoring

Summary of Court Proceedings

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Coalition of Human Rights Organisations

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), together with the Human Rights Centre “Memorial” (Russian Federation), People in Need (Czech Republic), Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights, Novaya Gazeta (Russian Federation) and Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden)

Israilov Case – Trial in Vienna, Austria, Summary of Proceedings (16 – 26 November 2010)

I. Summary of court proceedings

The trial at the Landesgericht für Strafsachen in Vienna started on 16 November 2010. Three judges and eight jury members will have to pass a judgement at the end of the trial, which is currently planned for the end January 2011. Accused are three recognized Chechens refugees. Otto Kaltenbrunner (alias Ramzan Edilov, nicknamed “Schurik”) and Suleyman Dadaev (alias Muslim Dadaev, also called Surcho) are accused of having committed the offence of establishing a criminal organization, the offence of attempting to abduct and deport a citizen to a foreign power, and the offence of murder. Turpal-Ali Yeshurkaev is accused of the second and third of these offenses but not the first one.


Israilov Trial: Russia Must Cooperate with the Austrian Courts

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Russia must cooperate with the Austrian Courts; Ramzan Kadyrov should testify about his alleged involvement in the Israilov case

(Vienna, 29 November 2010) “The Russian government needs to cooperate with Austrian judicial authorities,” says Marek Svoboda of People in Need, on behalf of a coalition of human rights groups monitoring the Israilov-trial in Vienna. ”Specifically, the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov should testify in the on-going Israilov case, as there is compelling evidence suggesting that Chechen authorities were involved in the crime.”

Today the presiding judge in the Viennese Penal Court, Friedrich Forsthuber, concluded the first part of the Israilov trial, and officially decided to call President Kadyrov to testify about his involvement in the murder of Umar Israilov. This request will be made via the Russian Prosecutor General. The jury trial has been prolonged, and a verdict is expected at the end of January. Israilov was shot and killed outside his home in Vienna on 13 January 2009. Israilov was a refugee from the Russian republic of Chechnya, who had lodged a legal complaint where he implicated President Kadyrov personally in crimes like murder, torture and abduction. Three men of Chechen origin are currently on trial for forming a criminal conspiracy, for attempted abduction and for murder.

President Kadyrov’s name has been mentioned by a number of witnesses in the trial. Expert witnesses have testified how under his presidency Chechnya has remained a human rights disaster zone, marked by a complete disregard for the rule of law, and a personalization of power that “appears disgraceful in a democracy,” according to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Expert witnesses further noted a pattern in how a number of rivals, opponents and critics of President Kadyrov have been assassinated. One of the main suspects in the case, who is thought to have fired the lethal shots, fled to Chechnya and allegedly received an important commission in the Chechen law enforcement. The mobile phone of the chief suspect contained pictures of the suspect and President Kadyrov embracing. One of Kadyrov’s closest advisers was described as the chief organizer of the crime by the prosecutor: the accused met him several times prior to the assassination, called him right afterwards, and a copy of his passport was found in the car of the assassins.

“This is a landmark trial,” says Souhayr Belhassen, President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). “It sheds light on the system of crime and impunity operated by President Kadyrov. If Russia decides to cooperate with the Austrian judicial authorities, it would open a door to a process of accountability. If Ramzan Kadyrov refuses the court summons, Russia will once again demonstrate that it has no interest in accountability.”


On December 2 2010, the day before the court testimony of Sharpudi Israilov, the father of the deceased Umar Israilov, the coalition of organizations that carry out monitoring of the trial, will hold a press-conference in Vienna. The speakers will analyze the context of this murder - the daily violence and abuses, which have become a norm in contemporary Chechnya and have spilled over beyond its borders to other regions of Russia and to Europe.

Sharpudi Israilov will be present at the press-conference. For almost a year Sharpudi Israilov was kept hostage in a secret prison in Chechnya and subjected to torture in order to force his son, Umar Israilov, to return from Europe. As of today, he remains the only living victim who dared to file a legal complaint against President Kadyrov. The second applicant against Ramzan Kadyrov, his son Umar Israilov, was killed in Vienna, and the third person, who testified against Kadyrov in a legal complaint, Mohmadsalors Masaev, was abducted by unidentified security servicemen in Grozny on 3 August 2008 and remains missing.

The time and venue of the conference will be announced shortly.

For more info:

People In Need, press officer, +420 608 527 312

Karine Appy/Fabien Maitre, FIDH, +33 43 55 14 12/90 19

Aage Borchgrevink, The Norwegian Helsinki Committee, +47 907 51 150

See for more information on the Israilov case, the coalition of human rights groups, including summaries of the hearings.

Zuletzt aktualisiert am Dienstag, den 30. November 2010 um 07:51 Uhr

Opening of the Israilov Trial

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Russia / Chechnya: Opening of the trial into the murder of a Chechen refugee in Vienna: The hope of finally holding all perpetrators accountable

Israilov Case to be Monitored by A Coalition of Human Rights NGOs

15 November 2010 - The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), together with Human Rights Center “Memorial” (Russia), People in Need (Czech Republic), Norwegian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Civil Rights Defenders (Sweden), Austrian Helsinki Association for Human Rights and Novaya Gazeta (Russia) welcome the opening of the trial in Vienna, Austria, of the alleged perpetrators of the murder of Umar Israilov, a Chechen refugee in Austria. This coalition has decided to send an observation mission to Vienna from 16 to 26 November 2010, for the purpose of observing the court hearings.


Our organisations consider this trial particularly significant because there exist necessary conditions for an independent court investigation that would make it possible to name all the guilty in this murder. The indictment presented by the Prosecutor’s office of Austria states that the aim of the immediate executors of the crime was the “forced abduction of Umar Israilov with the aim of taking him out of the country and his subsequent transfer to the authorities in the Chechen Republic or in case this plan fails; the murder of Umar Israilov”, and it also points to the obvious involvement of the Chechen authorities in this crime. It is important that during the trial all persons who commanded and were involved in planning; organising and executing  this crime are identified and named regardless of their position or status. This will contribute to combat impunity for crimes committed in Chechnya and outside Chechnya. Unfortunately in Russia itself an independent trial into such a case cannot take place.

Umar Israilov dared to bring a case to he European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in which he accused the President of the Chechen Republic, and openly spoke to journalists about his experience as one of Kadyrov’s men (kadyrovtsy). He deserted from the ranks of the kadyrovtsy, after having been “granted his life” in the summer of 2003 by Ramzan Kadyrov (who was at that time the head of  security service of the President of Chechnya). According to Israilov, Kadyrov personally tortured him, offering him to join the ranks of the kadyrovtsy as the only alternative to death (as was done with many captured rebels). By his statements Israilov broke the wall of silence around what is actually happening in “the pacified” Chechnya. Following these statements Israilov was murdered.

The killing of Israilov (as well as his abduction, which was allegedly the initial plan), served as a means to intimidate all Chechens abroad. It became clear that despite  having been granted asylum  far away from Chechnya expatriates can nevertheless be easily reached even in Europe.

Our organisations hope not only that this trial will  be fair and  all perpetrators will be held  accountable but also that it will investigate the context of Israilov's murder - routine violence and criminal practices which have become a norm in Chechnya and which have spilt outside its borders-to other regions of Russia and further to Europe.


Umar Israilov, an applicant to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), was murdered on 13 January 2009 near his home in Vienna. In his application to the ECHR, Israilov accused the President of Chechnya of illegally detaining and torturing him in 2003. Israilov, a former Chechen fighter, maintained that after he had been arrested by officers of the Chechen law enforcement agencies, Kadyrov personally tortured him with electric shocks before offering him amnesty conditional upon his joining the ranks of Kadyrov’s security service. In his petition, Israilov described in detail the system of violence and secret prisons which existed in the Chechen Republic. As recorded in a witness report published by The New York Times, six months before his murder, an emissary of Kadyrov came to see Israilov in Vienna to lure him out of Austria, and when he saw that this was in vain, he delivered threats from the Chechen leader and demanded that he withdraw his petition from the European Court.  This episode is reflected in the indictment .

On 15 March 2010, the Vienna counterterrorism department, which had carried out a criminal investigation into the murder of the Chechen refugee Umar Israilov, submitted its final 214-pages report on the results of the investigation to the Vienna public prosecutor’s office. The investigation names two close aides of the Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, Shaa Turlayev and Magomed Daudov and the Chechen President himself as being suspected of having ordered the killing or  kidnapping, which would possibly result in the death of the victim.

On 16 August 2010, the Public Prosecutor issued his indictment. Three persons are charged with the offence of establishing a criminal organisation, the offence of attempting to abduct and deport a person to a foreign power and with murder. The alleged actual murderer is in hiding but the three persons in custody in Vienna have participated in the organisation and implementation of the crime.  We publish the text of the indictment on our websites.

The trial is scheduled to take place before the Vienna Landesgericht für Strafsachen from 16 November to 26 November 2010. The presiding judge will be Friedrich Forsthuber. The father, widow and children of the deceased are civil parties in the proceedings.