The ICJ today called on the Russian authorities to immediately launch a full and independent investigation into the killing of a lawyer in Dagestan.
The lawyer, Umar Sagidmagomedov, and a relative were killed on Friday by law enforcement officers under circumstances that remain unclear.
According to official sources, the lawyer’s relative first opened fire on the agents but the family and colleagues of the lawyer claimed the victims were not carrying arms nor driving the car. They believe the killing was intentional and related to Sagidmagomenov’s professional activity, which included defending suspected members of alleged illegal armed formations.
The ICJ is highly concerned that the current criminal investigation into the incident does not seem to question the role of the law enforcement agents.
“These killings must be subject to full, prompt and independent investigation, and those responsible for any excessive and illegal use of force must be brought to justice,” said Róisín Pillay, Senior Legal Advisor of the ICJ Europe Regional Programme. “The government must send a clear signal that no impunity will be allowed for arbitrary killing, in particular for violent attacks against lawyers and other human rights defenders.”
The ICJ also urges both the Russian federal government and the local authorities of Dagestan to ensure the safety of all those involved in the investigation, including independent investigators from outside of the North Caucasus region if this appears to be necessary.
The Russian Federation has obligations under international human rights law, including the European Convention on Human Rights, to protect against arbitrary killing and to investigate killings, which may amount to arbitrary deprivation of life.
In particular, the ICJ recalls that, according to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers “where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities”.
“Lawyers must be able to act freely and must perform all their functions without intimidation or harassment,” Pillay added.
For more information please contact:
Temur Shakirov, Legal Advisor, ICJ Europe Regional Programme, tel +41 22 979 3832; e-mail: temur.shakirov(at)icj.org
Russian Federation-killed Dagestan investigation-press release-2012 (full text in Russian, PDF)NewsPress releases