Four Russian officers found guilty of killing six civilians

The North Caucasus military district court has found all the suspects in the so-called Ulman case guilty of murder. All of them have been sentenced to various prison terms. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov is certain the decision that puts an end to this

Four Russian officers of the anti-terrorist reconnaissance force were charged with murder of six civilians in Chechnya, in 2002. The group under Captain Eduard Ulman’s command was on patrol near the Chechen village of Dai. They fired at an approaching car, killing one passenger, when the driver failed to stop at their demand. The prosecution says five other passengers, including a pregnant woman, were then shot as well to cover the incident. The officers also tried to burn the car in order to hide the evidence.  

Major Aleksey Perelevsky is the only officer in the Ulman group who has shown up in court to hear the verdict. Unlike his fellow servicemen who got 12 to 14 years prison term, Perelevsky will spend only nine years in detention.

Relatives of the six Chechen people killed by the Ulman group seem to be satisfied with the verdict, but they are concerned that the three soldiers are still at large.

“We are happy with the verdict, namely that it is a guilty verdict. And, of course, we are not happy that it cannot be implemented at once. But we hope that those found guilty will soon be found,” Murad Musaev, a lawyer, says.  

Ulman's supporters, who were regular visitors in the court during the hearings, still think that he is innocent because he was following orders.

It took almost an hour of deliberations before the judges announced the verdict.  

Now it will be a matter of police investigation to locate the Ulman group and to bring them to justice.

Even though the Ulman case is now officially closed, it's unknown whether his supporters or opponents will appeal the court's ruling.

But with Eduard Ulman and his fellow officers topping the country's most wanted list, it doesn't seem that further proceedings could make any difference.