Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 24.09.2009 «Дело Резванов и Резванова (rezvanov and rezvanova) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF REZVANOV AND REZVANOVA v. RUSSIA
(Application No. 12457/05)
JUDGMENT*
(Strasbourg, 24.IX.2009)
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*This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Rezvanov and Rezvanova v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Christos Rozakis, President,

Anatoly Kovler,

Elisabeth Steiner,

Dean Spielmann,

Sverre Erik Jebens,

Giorgio Malinverni,

George Nicolaou, judges,

and {Soren}*Nielsen, Section Registrar,

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*Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.

Having deliberated in private on 3 September 2009,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (No. 12457/05) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by two Russian nationals, Mr Sultan Rezvanov and Ms Shamsbanu Rezvanova ("the applicants"), on 25 March 2005.

2. The applicants, who had been granted legal aid, were represented by Ms L. Khamzayeva, a lawyer practising in Moscow. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Ms V. Milinchuk, former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. On 1 September 2005 the Court decided to apply Rule 41 of the Rules of Court and to grant priority treatment to the application.

4. On 28 September 2007 the Court decided to give notice of the application to the Government. Under the provisions of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention, it decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility.

5. The Government objected to the joint examination of the admissibility and merits of the application. Having considered the Government's objection, the Court dismissed it.

THE FACTS
I. The circumstances of the case
6. The applicants were born in 1941 and 1947 respectively and live in the town of Urus-Martan, in the Chechen Republic.

7. The applicants are husband and wife. They are the parents of Mr Akhmed Rezvanov, born in 1984.

A. Disappearance of Akhmed Rezvanov
1. The applicants' account
8. At about 7.15 a.m. on 10 December 2002 six armoured personnel carriers ("APCs") and two UAZ vehicles arrived at the applicants' house at 6 Mayakovskiy Street, Urus-Martan. A group of armed men in camouflage uniforms got off the vehicles and burst into the house. The applicants assumed that they were federal servicemen.

9. Some of the servicemen levelled machine guns at the second applicant and asked her in unaccented Russian where the men of the house were. The others searched the house and its annexes without producing any warrant. Later the applicants discovered that the men had messed everything up, broken some crockery, ripped bed-linen and scattered flour all over the floor.

10. In the meantime Akhmed Rezvanov was hiding in a wash-house annexed to the house. At some point the servicemen threatened to blow up the house. The first applicant asked them to wait, went to the wash-house and convinced his son to come out of it. Akhmed Rezvanov went to the courtyard; the armed men apprehended him and placed him in a light-blue UAZ all-terrain vehicle ("таблетка") with registration number 276-95-RUS. Then they seized some of the applicants' belongings, including a leather jacket, a video appliance, a pair of running shoes and a few more items. It appears that at some point the men told the applicants that they were servicemen of the department of the interior of the Zavodskoy District. Then they got into the vehicles and drove away.

11. On the same day the armed men apprehended two of the first applicant's nephews, Abdula and Artur; they were released a few hours later and returned home. Abdula and Artur told the applicants that following their arrest they had been brought to the premises of the military commander's office of the Urus-Martan District.

2. Information submitted by the Government
12. On the morning of 10 December 2002 unidentified persons wearing camouflage uniforms and armed with machine guns took Akhmed Rezvanov away from the first applicant's house at 6 Mayakovskiy Street, Urus-Martan. The same persons robbed the first applicant and took a video appliance, a leather jacket, running shoes and some other items.

B. Investigation into Akhmed Rezvanov's disappearance
1. The applicants' account
13. On 10 December 2002 the first applicant complained about his son's abduction to the Urus-Martan Town Court and to the prosecutor's office of the Urus-Martan District ("the district prosecutor's office"). In his complaint the first applicant mentioned that the armed men had told him that they belonged to the department of the interior of the Zavodskoy District. He also requested information on his son's whereabouts from the local administration and the military commander's office of the Urus-Martan District ("the military commander's office"), but to no avail.

14. On 27 December 2002 the prosecutor's office of the Chechen Republic forwarded the first applicant's complaint to the district prosecutor's office.

15. On 16 January 2003 the Ministry of Justice of Ingushetia informed the prosecutor's office of the Chechen Republic that they had received a complaint from the first applicant and his brother. The letter read as follows:

"According to the complainants, those who apprehended A. Rezvanov identified themselves as the FSB [Federal Security Service] officers and were [travelling] in two or three APCs and an Ural vehicle. The convoy with the arrestee went to Grozny. The detainee's relatives' complaints [lodged with] many authorities have brought no positive results."
16. By decision of 16 January 2003 the district prosecutor's office admitted the first applicant as a victim to the criminal proceedings in case No. 34003 instituted on 31 January 2003 in relation to Akhmed Rezvanov's kidnapping.

17. On 31 January 2003 the district prosecutor's office instituted an investigation into Akhmed Rezvanov's kidnapping under Article 126 § 2 ("aggravated kidnapping") and the theft of the Rezvanovs' belongings under Article 162 § 2 ("aggravated robbery") of the Russian Criminal Code. The case was assigned the number 34003.

18. On 31 March 2003 the district prosecutor's office suspended the investigation in case No. 34003 for failure to identify those responsible. On 1 April 2003 they notified the first applicant of the decision and commented that, despite the suspension of the proceedings, they had instructed the police to search for Akhmed Rezvanov more vigorously.

19. On 7 April 2003 the first applicant requested the district prosecutor's office to vigorously pursue the search for his son and reported that one hour after the abduction an FSB officer had told him that Akhmed Rezvanov had been taken to the Khankala military base by servicemen of the Main Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defence ("ГРУ").

20. On 28 April 2003 the first applicant requested the prosecutor's office of the Chechen Republic to help him to establish his son's whereabouts.

21. On 26 May 2003 the military prosecutor's office of military unit No. 20102 ("the unit prosecutor's office") informed the first applicant that they had carried out an inquiry, which had not established any traces of military personnel implication in his son's kidnapping.

22. On 10 July 2003 the military prosecutor's office of the United Group Alignment ("the UGA prosecutor's office") forwarded the first applicant's complaint to the unit prosecutor's office and ordered that an inquiry be conducted into the possible implication of military servicemen in Akhmed Rezvanov's kidnapping.

23. On 24 November 2003 the first applicant requested assistance in the search for his son from the Administration of the Chechen Republic.

24. On 22 April 2004 the district prosecutor's office resumed the investigation into Akhmed Rezvanov's kidnapping and notified the first applicant accordingly.

25. On 11 May 2004 the Ministry of the Interior of the Chechen Republic informed the second applicant that the search for her son was under way.

2. Information submitted by the Government
26. On 31 January 2003 the district prosecutor's office instituted an investigation in case No. 34003 under Articles 126 § 2 and 161 § 2 of the Russian Criminal Code.

27. On unspecified dates the applicants were granted victim status in case No. 34003.

28. On an unspecified date the first applicant was questioned and stated that at about 7 a.m. on 10 December 2002 he had been awakened by knocking at his door. He had opened the door and seen around eighty or ninety men in camouflage uniforms armed with machine guns; some of them had worn masks. He had also noticed six APCs and two UAZ vehicles. One of the armed men had demanded the first applicant's identity papers, checked them out and returned them. Another man had said that someone had been hiding in a wash-house in the courtyard. The armed men had surrounded the house and told the first applicant that they would shoot unless the person in the wash-house surrendered. The first applicant had replied that it was his son. Having obtained permission, the first applicant had entered the wash-house and seen his son armed with a Makarov pistol and a grenade. Akhmed Rezvanov had said that he had been planning to blow himself up. The first applicant had convinced his son to give him the pistol and the grenade and had stepped outside. He had given the arms to the men. Then they had searched Akhmed Rezvanov, put a plastic bag on his head and taken him away. The first applicant had not seen his son since then. On the same day two of the first applicant's nephews had been arrested and then released two hours later. During the arrest of Akhmed Rezvanov the armed men had searched the house, ruined some furniture, crockery and clothing and stolen a video appliance, a leather jacket, running shoes and other items. The first applicant also stated that he did not wish to study the case-file upon its completion.

29. The second applicant was questioned on an unspecified date and made a deposition identical to that of her husband.

30. On unspecified dates the first applicant's nephews, Abdula and Artur, were questioned as witnesses. They stated that at about 7 a.m. on 10 December 2002 around twenty masked men in camouflage uniforms and armed with machine guns had entered Abdula and Artur's house, demanded their identity papers and taken them to the courtyard. The armed men had tied Abdula and Artur's arms, blindfolded them and put them in a car. The witnesses did not know the make of the car. After a journey of some twenty minutes the armed men had taken Abdula and Artur out of the car and led them downstairs. The detained men had been questioned about Akhmed Rezvanov. Then they had again been placed in the car and driven for forty minutes. The armed men had taken Abdula and Artur out of the car, untied their arms and ordered them to sit still for twenty minutes. When the car drove off, the two men took the blindfolds off their eyes and realised that they were in a farm near Urus-Martan. Then they returned home and learned of Akhmed Rezvanov's abduction.

31. On an unspecified date Mr G., the applicants' neighbour, was questioned as a witness and stated that at 7.20 a.m. on 10 December 2002, while at home, he had heard voices coming from the outside. He had looked out of the window and seen armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms. Mr G. had tried to step outside but the armed men had told him not to do so. Later Mr G. had found out that those men had taken Akhmed Rezvanov away.

32. On an unspecified date Mr Sh. was questioned as a witness and stated that on 29 January 2003 he had been arrested for storage of explosive materials and weapons that he had obtained from Akhmed Rezvanov.

33. The investigators questioned fifteen residents of Mayakovskiy Street in Urus-Martan who stated that they had no information on Akhmed Rezvanov's abduction.

34. Law-enforcement agencies of the Chechen Republic reported to the district prosecutor's office that Akhmed Rezvanov had not been arrested or kept in detention facilities in the Chechen Republic and that no charges had been brought against him. They also pointed out that federal forces had not carried out any special operations in the Urus-Martan District on 10 December 2002.

35. An UAZ vehicle with registration number 276-95 was not listed in the register of the State Traffic Inspection of the Ministry of the Interior of the Chechen Republic.

36. On 31 March 2003 the investigation in case No. 34003 was suspended for failure to identify those responsible. The second applicant was served with the decision on 3 June 2003.

37. On 22 April 2004 the district prosecutor's office quashed the decision of 31 March 2003 and resumed the investigation.

38. On an unspecified date the investigation was suspended and then resumed on 10 June 2004. On 10 July 2004 it was again suspended.

39. The investigation in case No. 34003 was repeatedly suspended and then resumed following the quashing of decisions on suspension by higher prosecutors.

40. On 25 October 2007 the Investigating Committee of the Russian Prosecutor's Office in the Chechen Republic resumed the investigation in case No. 34003.

41. The Government submitted that the investigation had failed to establish the perpetrators and was still in progress. Involvement of the federal military in the crime had not been proven.

42. Despite specific requests by the Court, the Government did not disclose most of the documents from the investigation file in case No. 34003, providing only a few copies of the district prosecutor's office's decisions and notifications to the applicants. They stated that the investigation was in progress and that disclosure of the documents would be in violation of Article 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure since the files contained information of a military nature and personal data concerning witnesses or other participants in criminal proceedings.

II. Relevant domestic law
43. For a summary of relevant domestic law see Akhmadova and Sadulayeva v. Russia (No. 40464/02, §§ 67 - 69, 10 May 2007).

THE LAW
I. The Government's objection regarding
non-exhaustion