Russian LGBT Network called the OSCE member-states to use all the existing mechanisms to protect the victims of crimes in Chechnya

On September 12, the representative of the Russian LGBT Network Igor Kochetkov made a statement at the annual OSCE Conference in Warsaw. The statement was devoted to the illegal detentions, tortures and extrajudicial killings in Chechnya based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The official representatives of the Russian Federation also delivered a statement, but did not even mention the situation in Chechnya.

Arbitrary detentions, tortures, and killings of civilians based on their sexual orientation and gender identity continue in Chechnya, Russian Federation. Since April 2017, the Russian LGBT Network received applications from 52 people who were detained and tortured by the law enforcement officers in the area of the North Caucasus. These people – both men and women – did not face any charges that are stipulated by the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.

The Chechen authorities organize and encourage arbitrary detentions, tortures, and extrajudicial killings, as well as condone honor killings. The President of the Chechen Republic Mr. Ramzan Kadyrov together with other representatives of the Chechen authorities claimed on multiple occasions that Chechnya should be “cleaned” from LGBT people, human rights defenders, and other individuals, who, according to those in power, do not fit into the norms and traditions of the Chechen society.

The Chechen Republic a part of Russian Federation. However, the Federal authorities, represented by the President of the Russian Federation Mr. Vladimir Putin and his spokespersons, on multiple occasions refused to give evaluations of the unlawful claims of Mr. Kadyrov. The Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation did not initiate criminal conduct at the request of Maxim Lapunov, the only person who openly stated that he was detained and tortured by officers of the Ministry of Internal Affirms in Grozny because of his homosexuality. The Investigative Committee also failed to establish facts of the crime from reports on torture and extrajudicial killings of civilians suspected of engaging in terrorist activities, published by Novaya Gazeta.

Systemic records of arbitrary detentions, tortures, and extrajudicial executions committed by the state representatives should be a matter of international investigation in case national officials can't or won't conduct a just investigate by themselves. Russian Federation did not investigate these crimes. On behalf of the Russian LGBT Network, I call of the OSCE member-states to use all the existing mechanisms to protect the victims of the crimes committed on the territory of the Russian Federation and provide these victims with access to justice.

Igor Kochetkov