"The world will know the truth." European Court finds Russia guilty of murdering Litvinenko
Litvinenko murder case
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has recognized that the Russian state was behind the poisoning of former Russian intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko in the UK. The court satisfied the claim of the victim’s widow. However, Moscow said it would not comply with the court’s decision and would not pay compensation to his family.
The European Court of Human Rights issued its final ruling on the case “Marina Litvinenko v. Russia” on September 21, 2021.
The court named the Russian state and certain individuals – Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun – guilty of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko, noting that this is indicated by “the presence of solid evidence”, according to the Russian “Novaya Gazeta”. The European Court considered that the Russian authorities violated Litvinenko’s right to life (Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, after several loud statements about the illegal actions of the FSB leadership and personally Vladimir Putin, who was the director of this organization from 1998 to 1999, was forced to flee Russia with his family. He managed to obtain political asylum in the UK.
Litvinenko collaborated with British intelligence services. In 2006, he died of radioactive poisoning. After a decade of investigation, the court concluded that the FSB was most likely behind Litvinenko’s murder, acting with the approval of Vladimir Putin.
“The death of Litvinenko was the result of a planned and complex operation, including the acquisition of a rare deadly poison, organizing a trip for Lugovoy and Kovtun, and numerous attempts to inject the poison”, the court ruling says.
The court emphasizes that Lugovoi and Kovtun acted as agents of the Russian state and flew to the United Kingdom “not of their own free will, but at the order of another person”, using the radioactive isotope polonium-210 for the murder, which can only be accessed with state assistance.
According to the court, the Russian authorities failed to provide a “satisfactory and convincing explanation” that would refute the materials of the British investigation. The court also stated that no effective internal investigation was carried out in Russia into the death of Litvinenko.
According to the court’s decision, Russia must pay Litvinenko’s widow 100,000 euros in compensation for non-pecuniary damage and 22.5 thousand euros in legal costs.
On the day the decision was published, the representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Maria Zakharova said that the ECHR thus “tried to contribute to the cultivation of an atmosphere of Russophobia,” and the presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov added that the British investigation “was unfounded” and the ECHR decision in Russia would not be executed.
Marina Litvinenko, in an interview with Novaya Gazeta, noted that she did not expect Russia to comply with the court’s decision and pay the money. The main thing is to prove that the state is guilty of the death of her husband.
“Even if the Russian authorities deprive me of compensation, they will not deprive the whole world of the opportunity to see and read the decision of the European Court. Very few people managed to get such a strong verdict as this one. And this decision is now in history. Well, my son and I will somehow survive the absence of monetary compensation”, Litvinenko said.