International experts to assess events of 6th May 2012 on Bolotnaya Square

29 April 2013 

Source: (info)
Leading human rights organisations have announced the creation of an international commission of experts to investigate the events of 6th May 2012 on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square, reports. The organisations that have announced their participation in the commission’s work include Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Article 19, the European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and Human Rights, the International Civic Initiative for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the international platform Civic Solidarity, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and the Centre for International Protection.

A press release from the commission states that the commission will base its work on world experience in resolving similar situations of conflict, including the protests in Minsk after the 2010 presidential elections, the events in Kishinev in 2009, the mass demonstrations in Northern Ireland, and the dispersal of the “Occupy Wall Street” camp in the USA in 2011.

As has reported, it is expected that the commission will not only conduct an independent investigation into the events of 6th May 2012 in Moscow, but will also give an evaluation of the legal proceedings against the participants. The international commission intends to put over 60 questions to the demonstration’s organisers and the representatives of Russian official bodies. The experts are particularly interested in whether or not the organisers of the so-called March of Millions discussed a plan of action in the event of provocations. They would like to know when, by whom and on what grounds the decision was taken by Moscow city hall to close part of Bolotnaya Square to the demonstrators. They would also whether less aggressive measures were considered by the police to stop the protest. The commission intends to publish the answers to these questions and the consequent conclusions in a special report.

In the past week Russian human rights defenders published a report on the reasons for the events of May 6th 2012 which concludes that there were no “mass disturbances” on Bolotnaya Square that day, but rather acts of “self-defence” by citizens against the disproportionate actions of police who instigated the conflict.