Russia's Foreign Ministry Slams EHRC Ruling on Litvinenko's Death for Promoting Russophobia
12:54 GMT 21.09.2021 (Updated: 15:15 GMT 21.09.2021)
© Fotobank.ru/Getty Images / Natasja Weitsz Alexander Litvinenko is pictured at the Intensive Care Unit of University College Hospital in London, England. (File)
© Fotobank.ru/Getty Images / Natasja Weitsz
In a judgment published on Tuesday, the European court of human rights (ECHR) ruled that Russia was responsible for the death of former FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006.
The European court of human rights (ECHR) ruling that Russia was responsible for the 2006 murder by radiation poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London fuels Russophobia, stated Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The court’s ruling on 21 September raises questions, not only pertaining to the actual merits of the conclusions drawn by the international body, but also from the point of view of procedure... the ECHR is positioning itself as an international judicial body, seeking to play a political role while contribute to the fostering of Russophobia, which has become so popular in some Western countries, underscored Zakharova said at the briefing.
In a judgement published on Tuesday, the ECHR, part of the Council of Europe, responding to a complaint brought by Litvinenko's widow Marina, found "beyond reasonable doubt" that Russia was responsible for the killing of the former Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Litvinenko.
"Having reviewed all evidence before him, the Chairman considered that there existed a strong probability that when poisoning Mr Litvinenko, Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun were acting under the direction of the Russian security service ... The [Russian] Government failed to provide any other satisfactory and convincing explanation of the events," the court ruling read.
The court claimed that Russian authorities had failed to carry out a serious domestic investigation into the ex-security officer's death, ordering Russia to pay the applicant, Litvinenko’s wife, €100,000 (£86,000) in damages.
© REUTERS / Vasily Djachkov/FilesAlexander Litvinenko, then an officer of Russia's state security service FSB, attends a news conference in Moscow in this November 17, 1998 file picture
Alexander Litvinenko, then an officer of Russia's state security service FSB, attends a news conference in Moscow in this November 17, 1998 file picture
Commenting the ECHR ruling at the briefing, Zakharova pointed out that the court chose to echo clearly politicized and more than questionable from a legal aspect conclusions of the national judicial authority of one of the Council of Europe member states.
Disregarding the actual content of the document itself and the "erroneous conclusions" drawn by the Strasbourg-based court, a legal assessment will be given by the Prosecutor General's Office in the light of the powers delegated to it to represent our country in the ECHR, said Zakharova.
© REUTERS / Toby MelvilleMarina Litvinenko, (R) widow of Alexander Litvinenko, poses with a copy of The Litvinenko Inquiry Report with her son Anatoly (L) during a news conference in London, Britain, January 21, 2016.
Marina Litvinenko, (R) widow of Alexander Litvinenko, poses with a copy of The Litvinenko Inquiry Report with her son Anatoly (L) during a news conference in London, Britain, January 21, 2016.
Previously, the ECHR pledged not to consider such cases until decisions had been taken on key issues in the framework of a so-called “adjacent inter-state claim,” she reminded. Zakharova noted that on 23 February, Ukraine filed the ninth complaint against the Russian Federation, accusing the Kremlin of “targeted” operations to eliminate persons ostensibly perceived as opponents of Russia in other states.
Accordingly, as the complaint "Litvinenko v. Russia " falls directly under the subject of this inter-state lawsuit, the spokeswoman pointed to the inconsistency of the court, which should have suspended its consideration, as was done with thousands of other complaints related to inter-state cases.
"We consider it inadmissible for the European Court to apply different approaches to identical situations," added the official spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry.
Russia has categorically rejected claims the country’s intelligence agents were behind the fatal poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. The former FSB officer, who worked for the UK’s MI-6 after defecting to Great Britain in 2000, died in November 2006 in London.
His health began to deteriorate after his encounter with Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun and drinking tea together. After his death, a significant amount of radioactive polonium-210 was discovered in Litvinenko's body. The main suspect in the British case in connection with the ex-FSB officer's death is Russian businessman and deputy Lugovoi, who has denied all charges against him, slamming the trial a "theatrical farce."
Moscow has repeatedly stated that the criminal case was politicized, and the investigation process not transparent.