On the eve of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, three French gay-rights groups (Mousse, Stop homophobie and Comité Idaho France) lodged a complaint on May 16 with the International Criminal Court (ICC) against the Head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov accusing him of ‘genocide’.
Homosexuality is currently strictly disapproved in the country, as the majority of the population is Muslim. Under sharia law, homosexuality is a felony that is punished.
According to the Russian investigative newspaper Novaïa Gazeta, a new wave of persecution against gay people rolled across Chechnya since April 2017. The newspaper also reported allegations that the Government was undertaking arrests and mass detention of gay men.
Amnesty international stated that at least a hundred men were rounded by the police, arrested and tortured because of their sexuality. Three of them were killed. ‘We are facing massive violence, using very cruel tortures, targeting a group of people’, Igor Kochetkov, head of the LGBT Russia network said.
On April 4, the same newspaper reported that allegedly gay men were held in secret places being interrogated and tortured. The situation is critical and hundreds of men are risking their lives. To be homosexual and to feel safe in Chechnya is nearly impossible, because being gay in the country constitutes a dishonor to the family. The Government of Chechnya refused to admit being part of such activities and officials have denied that gay people even exist in their countries. ‘If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning,’ said, Alvi Karimov, Kadyrov’s spokesman.
In 2016, Vladimir Putin who strongly supports Kadyrov’s policy, formally withdrew the Russian signature from the founding statute of the ICC. The Court was established to maintain the International order and has jurisdiction over the most serious crimes as known as genocides, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. This withdrawal will be effective one year after the notification to the ICC. Russia signed the statute in 2000, and cooperated with the ICC ever since. It has never ratified the Treaty, as well as the United States of America.
The issue was raised in a debate in the European Parliament
On May 16, this situation was examined during a debate in the European Parliament. Several political groups (Green/EFA, ALDE, ECR, GUE) asked the diplomatic services to act against these illegal actions that have been denounced for several weeks by NGOs.
The European Commissioner for humanitarian aid, Christos Stylianides, insisted on the necessity for the Russian authorities to investigate effectively on those matters.
‘This is indispensable so that anyone found guilty of or complicit in such crimes are brought to justice. This is our strong conviction,’ he said.