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Last Updated: Monday, 28 July, 2003, 16:18 GMT 17:18 UK
Moscow terror victims fight ruling
Nikolai Gorshkov
By Nikolai Gorshkov
BBC correspondent in Moscow

European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg
Survivors and relatives hope the court will recognise the loss of their bread-winners

The lawyer for the victims of the Moscow hostage siege has vowed to take their fight for compensation to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Up to 800 people had to endure a three-day ordeal in a Moscow theatre seized by the Chechen rebels last October.

One hundred and twenty-nine died after special forces stormed the building.

Dozens of lawsuits for moral damages filed by the survivors and families of the victims have been thrown out by Moscow courts.

An appeals court in Moscow has upheld the judges' decision to throw the cases out, saying the authorities were not obliged to pay moral damages.

But the plaintiffs' lawyer, Igor Trunov, insists that Russia's anti-terrorist laws hold local authorities responsible for looking after the victims of an act of terror committed on their territory.

His offer for an out-of-court settlement was rejected by the Moscow city government.

City officials argue the law on compensation applies only to material damages, not moral, and say they have not ruled out the possibility of paying material damages.

Ammunition

Last week, in a separate case, a court ordered city authorities to pay monthly compensation to the wife of a man who died in the hostage-taking.

This gave new ammunition to Mr Trunov to argue his case.

He said he plans to file several new material damages suits on behalf of those who lost bread-winners in the siege.

But he also vowed to continue his fight for moral damages as well.

He said he has little hope of having the ruling against his clients reversed by Russian courts, and that he is considering taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.


SEE ALSO:
Money for theatre siege widow
22 Jul 03  |  Europe
Foreign hostages sue Russia
11 Jun 03  |  Europe


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