The European Human Rights court decided to postpone the trip of its representatives to Georgia and Russia until the beginning of 2004.
According to court's press service, the governments of respective countries will be informed of the exact date of the planned trip in the "near future." Initially, the representatives were supposed to visit Georgia and Russia at the end of October 2003 in order to gather additional information for the case concerning extradition of several Chechen militants, detained in Georgia, to Russia. The case is currently being deliberated in the Human Rights Court. However, the governments of both countries asked to postpone the trip for a later time.
Georgian authorities justified their request by the necessity to conduct parliamentary elections scheduled for November 2, and Russian authorities - by the specifics of "internal procedures" established in the prosecutor' office of the Stavropol Territory, which the court representatives must visit to collect additional data.
The court decided to satisfy both requests, though stating that according to the Convention on the European Human Rights Court "internal procedures" are not considered a good reason for such requests because in accordance with international law, which has a priority statute over state laws, access to prison inmates should not be impeded by state authorities.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea