Chechnya accused of 'genocide' against gay people in complaint to International Criminal Court

Chechen leader denounced as 'organiser of torture camps with the desire to exterminate homosexuals'

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The Independent Online

Chechnya has been accused of carrying out a genocide against gay people in a complaint filed at the International Criminal Court.

Three French gay rights groups blamed the Russian republic's leader Ramzan Kadyrov and state officials for a "wave of persecution".

Stop Homophobie, Mousse and Comite Idaho France urged the ICC to investigate the persecution of gay men, citing the case of a teenager reportedly thrown out of a ninth-floor window after his uncle discovered he was gay.

Etienne Deshoulieres, a lawyer representing the three gay rights groups, called Mr Kadyrov “the architect” of a “genocide”.

He said the Chechen leader was "the organiser of torture camps with the desire to exterminate homosexuals".

Hundreds protest at Russian embassy over 'gay concentration camps' in Chechnya

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

Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported last month that authorities in the majority Muslim republic had rounded up over 100 men suspected of being gay and tortured them.

At least three of the men had been killed, the newspaper reported.

Chechen officials denied the reports, with a spokesman for Mr Kadyrov calling them "absolute lies and disinformation" and claiming gay people did not even exist in the region.

“You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” he told the Interfax news agency.

“If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin backed a report into the inquiry after German Chancellor Angela Merkel asked him to investigate

Last week, five activists were detained as they tried to deliver a petition to prosecutors in Moscow.

The police said they had been arrested because their actions amounted to an unsanctioned protest.

The activists said the petition was signed by "more than two million people around the world".