Chechnya accused of ‘gay genocide’ in International Criminal Court complaint


Chechnya has been accused of committing ‘genocide’ against gay people in a complaint to the International Criminal Court.

The complaint was filed by three French LGBT+ rights groups who blame Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov for a “wave of persecution” that has been reported in the Russian republic this year.

Etienne Deshoulières, the lawyer representing the groups, labelled Kadyrov “the architect” of “genocide” and claimed he was “the organiser of torture camps with the desire to exterminate homosexuals”.

Stop Homophobie, Mousse and Comité Idaho France are hoping to push the International Criminal Court into action against Russia before the conservative country withdraws from the ICC in November.

Alexandre Marcel, chairman of Comité Idaho France, said filing the complaint was “the only way to pursue Nazi behaviour” at an international level.

Reports of the abuse first emerged in early April, when a number of human rights organisations confirmed that gay men were being rounded up by Chechen police and detained in what are widely being referred to as modern-day ‘concentration camps’.

The men were held “in connection with their non-traditional sexual orientation” and victims have been tortured, forced to confess information on other gay men, and even murdered.

Related: Theresa May promises “urgent action” over anti-gay camps in Chechnya

More recently, there have been further terrible accounts of young gay men being murdered by their own family members, as authorities tell parents to kill them – or they’ll do it themselves.

In one chilling instance, a 17-year-old male was pushed from a 9th floor balcony by his own uncle.

Lithuania has become the first country to grant asylum to gay and bisexual Chechens needing to escape their home country, although the US has been denying visas to those looking to get away from persecution.

Meanwhile, over $250,000 has been raised by a handful of Facebook campaign for the non-profit organisation Rainbow Railroad, which is currently helping victims escape Chechnya’s ongoing detention and abuse of gay men.

The Kremlin and Chechen government have both denied allegations that gay men are being detained and tortured in the region.

That’s despite Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov, having publicly declared that he wants all LGBT+ people in the country to be eliminated by May 26, which marks the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.

Related: Couples around the world are kissing to protest Chechnya’s anti-gay purge



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