Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 08.04.2010 «Дело Тасатаевы (tasatayevy) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF TASATAYEVY v. RUSSIA
(Application No. 37541/05)
JUDGMENT*
(Strasbourg, 8.IV.2010)
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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 Tasatayevy 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,

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

Having deliberated in private on 18 March 2010,

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

PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (No. 37541/05) 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, Ms Khadishat Tasatayeva and Ms Amena (also spelled Amina) Tasatayeva ("the applicants"), on 11 August 2005.

2. The applicants were represented by Mr D. Itslayev, a lawyer practising in Nazran, Russia. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. On 5 May 2008 the Court decided to apply Rule 41 of the Rules of Court and to grant priority treatment to the application and 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.

4. 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
5. The applicants were born in 1950 and 1949 respectively. They live in Urus-Martan, Chechnya. The applicants are sisters-in-law; they are married to two brothers. The first applicant is the mother of Aslan Tasatayev, who was born in 1975, and the second applicant is the mother of Aslanbek Tasatayev, who was born in 1979. Aslan Tasatayev and Aslanbek Tasatayev are cousins.

A. The abduction of Aslan Tasatayev and Aslanbek Tasatayev
and the subsequent events
1. The applicants' account
a. The abduction of the applicants' relatives
6. At the material time the applicants, their sons Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev and other relatives lived in a household situated at 5 Shvernika Street, Urus-Martan, Chechnya. At some point later the number of the house was changed to 7 Shvernika Street. The applicants' household consisted of several dwellings occupied by eight related families and was located in the town centre, in the vicinity of the local law enforcement agencies. At the time the town of Urus-Martan was under curfew. Military checkpoints were situated on the roads leading to and from the town. In addition, two watch posts set up by local residents were situated in the vicinity of the applicants' household. One of the posts was a hundred metres from the applicants' household; the other one was sixty or seventy metres from it.

7. On the night of 31 May to 1 June 2001 (in the submitted documents the date is also referred to as 31 May and 1 June 2001) the applicants, their sons and other relatives were at home. At about 3 a.m. a group of twenty-five to thirty armed men arrived at their household. They were wearing black masks, were equipped with a portable radio station and had a grey sniffer dog. Some of the men were armed with sniper rifles with telescopic sights. When the men spoke to each other, they did so in unaccented Russian; they mainly communicated by gesturing and behaved like an organised group with a chain of command. The intruders neither identified themselves nor produced any documents. The applicants and their relatives thought they were Russian military servicemen.

8. The servicemen split into several groups and went into the different dwellings through the windows. They searched the houses and demanded and checked identity documents.

9. In the first applicant's house one of the men demanded in unaccented Russian that the first applicant hand over her husband's passport for checking; after that he took the document and went outside, ordering everyone to stay inside and threatening to shoot if anyone disobeyed.

10. The first applicant managed to go onto the porch. In the yard she saw around twenty-five to thirty servicemen who were accompanied by a sniffer dog. At the gates the applicant saw Aslanbek Tasatayev standing with his hands up against the wall. Meanwhile the officers took Aslan Tasatayev out of the house where he lived with his family. The servicemen refused to answer the applicants' questions about the reasons for their sons' abduction and referred to an order of their superiors. One of them, who was unmasked and of Slavic appearance, told the second applicant that her son was being arrested "by order" and that Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev would be home by the next morning.

11. In the yard one of the officers called someone on his portable radio and requested a car. About ten minutes later a grey UAZ minivan ("tabletka") arrived at the gate. Its back windows were covered with plywood instead of glass. Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev were placed in the vehicle and taken in the direction of the town centre. The rest of the servicemen followed the car on foot; the group went in the direction of the Urus-Martan district military commander's office ("the district military commander's office"). According to local residents, the UAZ car with the applicants' sons in it drove into the yard of the district military commander's office.

b. The subsequent events
12. In the morning, immediately after the end of the curfew, the first applicant went with her neighbour Ms L. to the local law-enforcement agencies to find out where Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev had been taken. On the way there the women spoke with the men who had stood watch at the guard post located towards the town centre. According to the men, on the night of the abduction the grey UAZ ("tabletka") vehicle with the abducted men in it had driven towards the town centre. They also confirmed that those of the servicemen who had left the applicants' house on foot had also gone in the direction of the town centre.

13. After that the applicants and their relatives went to the district military commander's office and the Urus-Martan temporary district department of the interior (the Urus-Martan VOVD) and asked about the whereabouts of the abducted men. The agencies denied any involvement in the abduction. After that the applicants with their relatives lodged written complaints about the abduction of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev to the Urus-Martan district prosecutor's office ("the district prosecutor's office") and the Urus-Martan district department of the interior (the Urus-Martan ROVD).

14. On the same morning the applicants and their relatives learnt from their neighbours that on the night of the abduction groups of military servicemen had also broken into the houses of their neighbours, the families of Kh. and G. In one of the houses, one of the intruders had taken off his mask; he was of Slavic appearance.

15. Later in the morning the applicants and their relatives spoke with the local residents who had manned the residential guard posts the night before. According to the applicants' neighbours, Mr R.D. and Mr I., who had stood watch at the mosque, on the night of the abduction a group of military servicemen had arrived there and ordered them to stay inside the mosque, threatening to shoot if they went outside. At the other post one of the applicants' neighbours, Mr U.M., who had been on duty during the abduction, told the applicants that the night before a group of military servicemen had arrived at the post, pulled his and other men's hats down over their faces and ordered everyone to get down on the ground and not to move. After that the military servicemen had gone away, leaving one soldier to guard the watchmen. According to Mr U.M., he had seen the abductors' UAZ car driving in the direction of the town centre.

16. On the same day, 1 June 2001, during their visit to the military commander's office, the second applicant and her son Mr A.T. saw the sniffer dog used by the abductors there.

17. About two or three days after the abduction the applicants spoke with the head of the Urus-Martan town administration, Mr S.G., who informed them that Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev were detained in the military commander's office and that he would try to expedite their release. However, a couple of days later the official told the applicants that he had been mistaken.

18. The applicants have had no news of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev since the night of the abduction.

19. In support of their statements the applicants submitted: a statement by the first applicant dated 8 September 2008; a statement by the second applicant dated 9 September 2008; a statement by the applicants' relative Mr A.T. dated 9 September 2008; a statement by the applicants' relative Ms Z.M. dated 2 September 2008; a statement by the applicants' neighbour Ms M.G. dated 19 September 2008; a statement by the applicants' neighbour Ms M.Kh. dated 19 September 2008 and copies of documents received from the authorities.

2. Information submitted by the Government
20. The Government did not challenge most of the facts as presented by the applicants. According to their submission of 22 August 2008 "...the interim prosecutor of the Urus-Martan district opened criminal case No. 25088 in connection with the abduction of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev by unidentified men..."
B. The search for Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev
and the investigation
1. Information submitted by the applicants
21. On 1 or 2 June 2001 the district police officer M.M. visited the applicants' household with two colleagues. They questioned some of their relatives and a neighbour. The officials did not conduct a crime scene examination during the visit.

22. On 8 July 2001 the district prosecutor's office instituted an investigation into the abduction of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev under Article 126 § 2 of the Criminal Code (aggravated kidnapping). The case file was given number 25088. The applicants were informed about it in writing by the Chechnya prosecutor's office on 20 December 2002.

23. On 8 September 2001 the investigation in criminal case No. 25088 was suspended for failure to establish the identities of the perpetrators. The applicants were not informed about this decision.

24. On 10 October, 9 December 2002 and 20 January 2003 the applicants wrote to a number of the State authorities, including the district military commander, the Chechnya military commander, the Chechnya prosecutor's office, the district prosecutor's office and the Urus-Martan ROVD. They stated that their sons had been abducted by a group of twenty-five to thirty masked military servicemen, who had communicated with each other by gesturing and acted as a group with chain of command; that the servicemen had refused to explain the reasons for the arrest of the applicants' sons and promised to release them on the following morning. According to the applicants, this evidence indicated that their sons had been abducted by servicemen of Russian security services. The applicants further stated that their complaints to various State bodies had failed to produce any results and requested assistance in the search for their abducted sons.

25. On 20 December 2002 the Chechnya prosecutor's office informed the applicants that the criminal investigation had been suspended on 8 September 2001 for failure to establish the identity of the perpetrators.

26. On 19 April 2003 the second applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.

27. On 7 May 2003 the Chief Military Prosecutor's office forwarded the applicants' complaint about the abduction of their sons by Russian servicemen to the military prosecutor's office of the United Group Alignment (the military prosecutor's office of the UGA) for examination.

28. On 9 April 2003 the investigators suspended the investigation in the criminal case for failure to establish the identities of the perpetrators. The applicants were informed about this decision on 9 May 2003.

29. On 12 May 2003 the department of the Prosecutor General's office in the Southern Federal Circuit informed the applicants that their complaint, that the investigation in the criminal case had been ineffective, had been forwarded to the Chechnya prosecutor's office for examination.

30. On 24 June 2003 the Chechnya prosecutor's office informed the applicants that they had examined their complaints about the abduction of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev. The letter stated that on 8 September 2001 the investigation in the criminal case had been suspended; that on two occasions, that is on 9 April and on 21 June 2003, the decisions to suspend the investigation had been overruled by the acting district prosecutor due to the incompleteness of the investigation. The letter further stated that on an unspecified date the investigation had been resumed and that measures aimed at identifying the perpetrators were under way.

31. On 11 July 2003 the military prosecutor's office of the UGA forwarded the applicants' complaint about the abduction of their sons to the military prosecutor's office of military unit No. 20102 for examination; the latter was to look into possible involvement of Russian military servicemen in the abduction of Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev.

32. On 23 July 2003 the investigators again suspended the investigation in the criminal case for failure to establish the identities of the perpetrators. The applicants were not informed about this decision.

33. On 4 September 2003 the military prosecutor's office of military unit No. 20102 informed the applicants that the examination of their complaint had established that on 31 May 2001 during special operations conducted in the Urus-Martan district Aslan and Aslanbek Tasatayev had not been abducted by Russian military servicemen.

34. On 3 March 2005 the applicants wrote to the district prosecutor's office describing the circumstances of their sons' abduction and pointing out that there was evidence