Andijon Survivors File Case Against Almatov

by David Walther on 12/18/2005 · 6 comments

Looks like Almatov’s stay in Germany might end up costing him a bit more than his medical bills. I think it will be very interesting to see how this might affect or be affected by Germany’s relationship with Uzbekistan.

From RFE/RL’s Daily Russian report:

“Human Rights Watch (HRW) announced in a 15 December press release on the
organization’s website ( that alleged survivors of torture and 12-13 May violence in Uzbekistan filed a case in Germany on 12 December against Uzbek Interior Minister Zokir Almatov. Almatov is reportedly undergoing medical treatment in Germany. The victims have asked German prosecutors to charge Almatov with torture, torture as a crime against humanity, and the Andijon massacre as a crime against humanity. German law permits such charges wherever the crimes may have been committed. Holly Cartner, HRW Europe and Central Asia director, said: “This case represents a unique opportunity to bring a measure of truth and justice for some of the horrors that occurred under the command of Zokirjon Almatov.” DK” (RFE/RL Russian Report)

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Brian December 19, 2005 at 10:07 am

They got some UN staff support now:

David Walther December 19, 2005 at 10:26 am

So as I see it, Germany has a few choices now: they can harbor him secretely (deny that he’s in the country), kick him out, or prosecute him.

I don’t think the first option is very viable (he appears to be drawing enough attention that sooner or later somebody will expose him, though it seems possible he has already been there for months), so the second and the third would generate some interesting developments.

I don’t really understand the whole “everybody but the Germans has to go” position from the Uzbek’s anyway. And I understand even less why the Germans want to stay so badly–so hopefully action stemming from this suit will clarify some of these questions a little bit. If anybody sees any opinions on this in the German press or otherwise, please post it up here (I don’t read German, but I noticed that several people do).

Bert December 19, 2005 at 11:09 am

Seems like either your first proposal already became truth, or maybe he was just faster than our german bureaucrazy. “SpiegelOnline” got to know and reports today that “Sakir Almatow is no longer treated in the International Neuroscience Institute in Hannover”
Lawyer Wolfgang Kaleck (who filed the case for HRW) said “Almatov is no longer on german territory”.


The article also gives some kind of “answer” to your question, why the germans want to remain in Termez : “Since 2002 germany invested 9.1 Million Euros in infrastructure of the Airport.”

Ne December 20, 2005 at 3:22 am

The Germans are not all too happy about the base in Uzbekistan and it is quite right to critizise them. But again, there is the plan to start “evaluating” the establishing of a base for the Germans in Afghanistan and then German soldiers might be out of Uzbekistan.

Matt W December 21, 2005 at 12:34 am

Here’s the latest:

So does anyone know what this would mean? Would Germany be making extradition requests in regard to Almatov from here on, or can any country that gets him try him?

Nathan December 21, 2005 at 5:01 pm

Matt, it depends on whether or not that country’s legal system exercises universal jurisdiction. As far as I know, there are not too many countries that have such legislation, and even fewer willing to exercise it.

Personally, I think it’s a very dicey legal concept because it leaves it up to a foreign state to determine whether or not the state with authority over the place where an alleged crime took place is taking serious steps to prosecute offenders. (HRW doesn’t explain this very well, but as I understand it, insofar as there is a custom, it is customary to give the state where an alleged offense took place the opportunity to prosecute before foreign powers that recognize universal jurisdiction step in.) This doesn’t bother me much in the case of Almatov, but as someone very skeptical of international prosecutions of this sort (primarily because of European attitudes on them, actually), I don’t think this is a good precedent to set.

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