Anna Politkovskaya: partial justice is not enough

On the eighth anniversary of her murder, ARTICLE 19 remembers Anna Politkovskaya and condemns the Russian Federation for allowing impunity to continue in her case.

Since her assassination on 7 October 2006, there have been three trials, the most recent ending in June 2014. These trials led to six people being imprisoned for carrying out her killing, but the masterminds remain at large.

Politkovskaya, a well-known, award-winning investigative journalist, wrote extensively about human rights abuses, particularly in Chechnya. She wrote for the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the few remaining independent and critical publications in Russia.

“Partial justice is not enough,” stated Thomas Hughes, ARTICLE 19’s Executive Director, “Anna’s murder, as with any journalist killed as a result of their work, is not just an individual tragedy but a huge loss for society as a whole, preventing people from seeking, receiving and imparting information.”

“Until the masterminds behind Anna’s murder are brought to justice, impunity will continue to cast a dark shadow over the journalistic community in Russia. In turn, those who were involved in silencing her are able to continue creating fear in the belief that they will not be held to account.”

In the light of the Russian Federation’s abysmal record for ensuring justice for crimes against journalists, ARTICLE 19 calls upon the authorities to fully implement the recently adopted United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on the safety of journalists and ending impunity.

This resolution particularly emphasises the need for States to ensure that investigations are:

  • impartial
  • speedy
  • thorough
  • independent
  • effective.

It also stresses that investigations should seek to bring to justice not only the perpetrators but also the masterminds behind attacks.

ARTICLE 19’s recommendations

In the case of Anna Politkovskaya, ARTICLE 19 specifically calls upon the Federal Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to:

  • Renew and focus efforts to investigate who instigated the murder of Politkovskaya, in an independent, speedy and effective manner
  • Ensure future trials are conducted in a proper and timely manner, taking into consideration the victim’s rights and interests, in this case those of Politkovskaya’s family, as prescribed by Article 6 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

These recommendations were included in the ARTICLE 19 report The Russian Federation: Journalists under Attack published in December 2013.

Anna Politkovskaya also features in ARTICLE 19’s recently released film Journalist under Attack (available in Russian with English subtitles).