Practice Relating to Rule 150. Reparation
The Russian Federation’s Constitution (1993) provides: “The rights of persons who have sustained harm from crimes and abuses of power shall be protected by the law. The state shall guarantee the victims access to justice and compensation for damage.” It also provides: “Everyone shall have the right to compensation by the state for the damage caused by unlawful actions (or inaction) of state organs, or their officials.”
Other Russian legislation of relevance to the question of compensation for victims of violations of IHL are: the Law on Rehabilitation of Victims of Political Persecution (1991), as amended; the Law on Rehabilitation of the Repressed Nations (1991); the Decree on the Law on Rehabilitation of the Repressed Nations in Relation to the Cossacks (1992); the Resolution on Compensation for Persons Having Suffered Nazi Persecution (1994); the Resolution on Return of Property and Compensation for Victims of Political Persecution (1994); and the Resolution on Compensation for Destruction of Property for Citizens Having Suffered from the Settling of the Crisis in Chechnya and Having Left Chechnya Irrevocably (1997).
In the Khamzaev case in 2001, a Russian District Court rejected the claim of a private person against the Russian Government for material and moral compensation for the damages sustained in the aerial bombardment of Urus-Martan in October 1999 by Russian aviation. During the trial, the government denied that bombings had taken place in the relevant part of the town. However, the representative of the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation declared:
We think that the damage was caused by the Federal armed forces. The house was destroyed. But, if the generals assert that they had not given the order to attack residential areas of Urus-Martan, then the pilot(s) exceeded the limits of the order. Hence, there are no grounds for compensation for damages from the State treasury.
Considering that those who are seeking compensation have declared that their property was pillaged or that their property was destroyed during the hostilities and that members of their families were victims of the hostilities, and, therefore, they must be compensated for all of this by Alexis Dusingize along with the Rwandan State as he was an authority responsible for assisting the mayor of the Commune of Kanzenze.
[The Court c]onfirms that Alexis Dusingize, along with the public authorities, must pay the compensation that has been claimed;
[The Court o]rders that he must pay damages valued at 15,000 RWF [Rwandan Franc] and, failing which, expropriation should forcibly take place through the action of the State[.]
The Court of Appeal of Ruhengeri:
Having regard to Articles 93 [on court hearings being public, with the exception of those held in closed session when public disclosure poses a threat to public order or decency] and 94 [on all judgments being reasoned and pronounced in open court] of the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda of 10/06/1991;
Having regard to the protocol to the Arusha Peace Agreement on power-sharing of 30/10/1992, particularly Articl[e] 26 [on the recognition of specific ordinary and military jurisdictions of the judiciary while specifying the law may establish any other specialized courts]… ;
Having regard to Articles 109 [stating that the Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear appeals against judgment handed down by the Court of First Instance], 135 [on the definition and objective of a civil action] and 136 [on when a civil action may be pursued at the same times as or separately from any criminal proceedings] of Decree No. 09/80 of 7 July 1980 determining the Organization and Jurisdiction of Courts;
Having regard to Articles 90 [on the format that any judgment must take and the information it should contain] and 99 [on the right to lodge an appeal and who has the right to do so] of the Law of 23/02/1963 determining the Code of Criminal Procedure as amended and supplemented by Decree No. 07/82 of 07/01/1982;
Having regard to Articles 21 and 22 of Book I of the Rwandan Penal Code, and Article 312 of Book II of the Rwandan Penal Code;
Having regard to Articles 2(b) [which states that persons who acted in positions of authority at the national, prefectoral, communal, sector or cell level, or in a political party, the army, religious organizations or in a militia and who perpetrated or fostered such crimes fall within Category One of offenders for the purpose of the Organic Law], 3 [on the definition of an accomplice and criminal responsibility of superiors for acts referred to in this organic law committed by a subordinate if the superior knew or had reason to know that the subordinate was about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to punish or prevent such acts], and 14(a) [which states that persons whose acts place them in Category One are liable to the death penalty] and 24 [on when decisions of the Specialized Chambers may be subject to opposition and appeal] of Organic Law No. 08/96 of 30/08/1996 on the organization of prosecutions for offences constituting the crime of genocide [or crimes against humanity committed since 1 October 1990];
Having regard to International Conventions of 09/12/1948 on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and of 26/11/1968 on the Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity;
Having regard to Decree No. 08/75 of 12/02/1975 on Rwanda ratifying these Conventions;
Ruling on the documents submitted by the parties:
The Report on the Practice of the Russian Federation notes that a number of victims of the conflict in Chechnya have filed claims and “are entitled to get a reimbursement for their homes demolished by federal troops, i.e.
, for the lost property”.