Grozny OMON fratricide incident

Grozny OMON fratricide incident

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict= Grozny OMON fratricide incident
date=March 2 2000
place=Grozny, Chechnya
result=More than 20 OMON personnel killed
Campaignbox Second Chechen War

On March 2 2000 a unit of OMON (Russian special-purpose police) from Podolsk and a military unit from the Sverdlovsk Oblast opened fire on an OMON unit from Sergiyev Posad (Moscow Oblast), who had arrived in Chechnya to replace them. More than 20 policemen were killed and more than 30 injured in the result of friendly fire between the Russian forces. [ [ CASE OF BAYSAYEVA v. RUSSIA] ] At first, the Chechen rebels were blamed for the attack.

The ambush

The Sergiyev Posad "Omonovtsy" (OMON police officers) were travelling in nine-truck convoy to a guard post in Staropromyslovsky city district of the Chechen capital Grozny as the Podolsk men waiting in a nearby courtyards in ambush for the reported group of unidentified armed people was arriving in the city (which they believed were Chechen guerrillas disguised as pro-Moscow Chechen militia). After the column did not stop at a roadblock, they opened fire and a four-hour firefight ensued. The battle and its aftermath were videotaped by the Podolsk unit.

Out of the 98 troops in the convoy, at least 22 men were reported killed (including the unit's commander, Colonel Dimitry Markelov) and 31 were wounded; at least two members of the Podolsk unit were also killed. [ [ Chechen Friendly-Fire Trial Begins] ] Initially, Moscow officials insisted that only 12 men were killed. [ [ Chechnya: Russia Provides Conflicting Reports On Casualties] ] A day later the chief of staff for the Russian military in the North Caucasus said the death toll had risen to 37. [ Rebel ambush leaves 37 Russians dead in Chechnya] ]

Official whitewash and reprisals in Chechnya

Immediately after the incident, the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD) officials reported that the convoy was ambushed by Chechen rebels and the other Russian forces were reinforcements. [ [ Chechens Ambush Russian Convoy Near Grozny, Killing 20] ] Baultdin Bakuyev, a Chechen field commander also took responsibility, saying the attack was revenge for the OMON's atrocities in Chechnya.

On the next day after the massacre, dozens of the local men including Shakhid Baysayev were detained and some of them were were killed or forcibly disappeared by the Russian OMON troops in the hunt on the alleged Chechen attackers of the convoy; Baysayev's detention was also videotaped. His bodies were never found, but seven years later, in 2007, Baysayev was legally declared dead by the European Court of Human Rights and presumed to be killed by the Russian forces while in custody.

At the time, then-Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo attended the funeral of the slain troops and vowed that the rebels responsible for their deaths will be first identified, and then "retribution will be dealt out accordingly." [ [ Russia insists it's winning Chechnya war despite losses] ] He added that any Interior Ministry superiors responsible would also be punished. Soon, three suspected rebels allegedly involved in the attack had been announced to be charged with murder, and foreign journalists received supposed video footage of the attack on the convoy. However, the detained "rebels" were later discharged, and the video was saidt to be footage of a different ambush. [ [ Senior Russian Officers Stand Trial for Negligence in Chechnya] ]

The 2002 criminal negligence trial

Independent journalists, however, managed to uncover the real story about the incident, eventually forcing the authorities to admit the truth.

In 2002, in a closed trial, a court acquitted two senior Interior Ministry officers (the former deputy head of the Moscow Oblast Interior Ministry department and the head of the Moscow traffic police Major-General Boris Fadeyev and the former head of the command group of the Interior Ministry's force in Chechnya, Colonel Mikhail Levchenko) of criminal negligence and instead laid blame on Colonel Markelov. [ [ Court Acquits OMON Officers] ] Major Igor Tikhonov, the ex-commander of Podolsk OMON, was excused from the proceedings on health grounds.

ee also

*Ingush-Chechen fratricide incident
*Shakhid Baysayev


External links

* [ Friendly Fire Trial of OMON Officers Opens], 2002/01/16
* [ Russia invented ambush by Chechens to hide friendly-fire massacre] "The Independent", Jan 15, 2002
* [ Russian friendly-fire police cleared] CNN, March 22, 2002
*ru icon [ "Чечня. Кровь на погонах"] (TV documentary)

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