The 2004 Beslan school siege by Chechen gunmen and the Russian responses to the attack demonstrated the tremendous impact a terrorist attack and a state’s anti-terrorist operations can have on the human rights of victims. The violations of the victims’ human rights were examined by the European Court of Human Rights in Tagayeva v Russia (2017), which this article argues is a landmark case in that the Court placed the human rights of victims at the centre of its concerns and reinforced the idea that states remain bound by the European Convention on Human Rights in large-scale anti-terrorist operations. The principal goal of this article is to examine the positive and procedural obligations of states towards the victims as outlined by the Court and to assess how this case might shape future responses to terrorist attacks. It will be argued that when states respond to a terrorist hostage-taking, they have to focus primarily on the human rights of hostages abducted within or beyond their borders on land or at sea.
- anti-terrorist operations
- Article 2 European Convention on Human Rights
- planning and control of security operations
- right to life
- Tagayeva v Russia