Russian Justice Initiative (RJI), Russia’s largest foreign non-governmental organization providing legal assistance to Russians in the European Court of Human Rights, was excluded from the list of authorized NGOs, the Kommersant daily said on Monday.
Since 2001, Russian Justice Initiative won about 10 million euros (almost $13 million) in Strasbourg Court actions on complaints from residents of Chechnya. In late 2010, it won a record lawsuit of 1.72 million euros (about $2.3 mln) against Russia over the killing of at least 24 Chechen villagers in an operation against militants in 2000.
The Russian Justice Ministry ruled in February 2011 to exclude the organization from the list of authorized non-governmental organizations over an overdue report, effectively barring it from operating on Russia’s territory.
“Because of bureaucratic mistakes we've failed to submit in time a report about our future plans and financing, and we were subsequently excluded from the list,” the organization’s executive director Vanessa Kogan said, adding that RJI was not notified about possible exclusion.
“It looks like they [the authorities] are deliberately finding faults with us,” Kogan added.
The organization applied for re-registration three times, but the ministry denied them for various reasons.
RJI appealed its exclusion and denials for re-registration in a Moscow court. It also filed to register as a Russian NGO.
Russia accounts for more than 26 percent of cases pending at the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR), a larger share than any other country. It has lost the majority of its cases.