Press release - 565(2010)

Murder of Natalia Estemirova: time to do justice

Strasbourg, 15.07.2010 - “One year has passed since human rights defender Natalia Estemirova was brutally murdered. Those guilty of this horrible and cowardly crime have still not been brought to justice. This is unacceptable” said the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, publishing today his latest human rights comment.

Natalia Estemirova was one of the leading members of the human rights organisation Memorial. Her courage and personal dedication to human rights protection in the Chechen Republic was unique. Last year, Commissioner Hammarberg condemned her brutal assassination and urged the Russian authorities to carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation with a view to ensuring the criminal accountability and punishment of the perpetrators.

“I have raised the case with the Russian authorities repeatedly since then, including with President Dmitry Medvedev in January 2010. During my meetings with the federal Investigation Committee, I was assured that the investigation would be successfully completed in the near future. The world is still waiting for the results.”

The Commissioner concludes underlining that “it is crucial that justice be done, prosecuting not only the actual killers, but also those behind it”.

Press contact in the Commissioner’s Office:

Stefano Montanari, +33 (0)3 88 41 34 21;

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Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights
Communication Unit
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 35 38
Fax:+33 (0)3 90 21 50 53