Germany to charge five leaders of Chechen ‘gay purge’ with crimes against humanity

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Five leaders of the horrifying Chechen “gay purge” could finally be charged with crimes against humanity thanks to a criminal case in Germany.

The five officials are within the inner circle of Chechnya’s autocratic leader Ramzan Kadyrov, according to the Guardian, and the charge sheet against them stretches 97 pages.

It accuses the Chechen military and state apparatus of persecution, unlawful arrests, torture, sexual violence and incitement to murder at least 150 individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation since February 2017.

The criminal case was submitted in February by the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a German NGO, and the Russian LGBT Network, which has been instrumental in helping LGBT+ people flee the region.

“In an imperfect system of international criminal justice, with an international criminal court with limited jurisdiction, Germany attempts to guarantee that Europe is no safe haven for war criminals,” said ECCHR’s founder, Wolfgang Kaleck.

“If no other jurisdiction investigates, Germany is able and must be willing to take over tasks, representing thereby Europe and the international community.”

Two of the officials are already sanctioned by the EU, the UK and the US for their involvement in the purge: Abuzayed Vismuradov, Kadyrov’s former personal bodyguard and deputy prime minister, and Ayub Katayev, a police chief and senior official at the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry in Chechnya.

The chair of the Chechen parliament, Magomed Daudov, is also named in the criminal complaint.

If the general prosecutor in Karlsruhe decides to take on the case, Kadyrov’s associates could face an arrest warrant if they set foot in Germany – a country which Vismuradov is known to have visited repeatedly for medical care.

It’s hoped that after viewing extensive material submitted by the ECCHR, Germany’s public prosecutor will take further steps to investigate the officials, helping those persecuted to claim asylum in Europe.

The Russian Internal Affairs Ministry refutes all charges as the official line from Kadyrov and his allies is a flat denial that any LGBT+ people exist in the region, let alone a gay purge.

However, their claims are countered by dozens of harrowing refugee reports from LGBT+ people who have been imprisoned, beaten, tortured and seen others killed in gay concentration camps.