Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 22.04.2010 «Дело Хатуева (khatuyeva) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF KHATUYEVA v. RUSSIA
(Application No. 12463/05)
JUDGMENT*
(Strasbourg, 22.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 Khatuyeva v. Russia,

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

Christos Rozakis, President,

Nina {Vajic}*,

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

Anatoly Kovler,

Elisabeth Steiner,

Khanlar Hajiyev,

Dean Spielmann,

Sverre Erik Jebens, judges,

and {Soren} Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 25 March 2010,

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

PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (No. 12463/05) 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 a Russian national, Ms Luiza Khatuyeva ("the applicant"), on 28 March 2005.

2. The applicant was represented by lawyers of the NGO EHRAC/Memorial Human Rights Centre. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mrs V. Milinchuk, the former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights and subsequently by their new representative, Mr G. Matyushkin.

3. On 15 January 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 applicant was born in 1969. A native of Chechnya, from 1996 she lived in the settlement for internally displaced persons from Chechnya in the village of Ordzhonikidzevskaya (also known as Sleptsovskaya), in the Ingush Republic of the Russian Federation (Ingushetia). The applicant later left Russia with her children and sought asylum in another country, where she now resides. She is the wife of Sultan Khatuyev, who allegedly disappeared in 2004 following his arrest by the security forces.

A. Disappearance of Sultan Khatuyev
6. On 2 August 2004 at about 8.00 a.m. an operation was carried out in the Ordzhonikidzevskaya settlement by the security forces with a view to finding members of illegal armed groups. More than one hundred servicemen and numerous vehicles were involved in the operation.

7. The applicant stated that her home had been searched during this operation by two servicemen who neither introduced themselves nor produced any document. They checked Sultan Khatuyev's passport and ordered him to follow them to their car. In response to the applicant's questions, the servicemen told her that her husband would be taken along with some of their neighbours to the Sunzhensky district department of the Interior (ROVD) for an identity check. Six other persons were apprehended and taken to the Sunzhensky ROVD during the same operation. They were all neighbours and knew each other.

8. As soon as the operation was over the applicant went by car to the Sunzhensky ROVD together with R.A., a relative of another apprehended person. They saw the seven apprehended men being taken from the yard into the ROVD building.

9. Three of these men were released at approximately midnight. Two of them later stated that they had initially been detained for several hours in a wing on the ground floor and then taken to the second floor for questioning.

10. On 3 August 2004 at approximately 1 a.m. a ROVD officer informed the applicant and the three men who had just been released that the other detainees, including Sultan Khatuyev, would be released in the morning.

11. Around 8.00 a.m. on 3 August the applicant went back to the ROVD with relatives of the other detainees. They were told that the four remaining detainees had been taken to the Federal Security Service (FSB) office in Magas. The applicant and the other detainees' relatives immediately went there. While they were not allowed to enter the premises, an officer confirmed that the four people, including Sultan Khatuyev, were being detained at that office.

12. In response to the applicant's repeated requests an officer came out of the building at 4.00 p.m. and released two more persons. He also told the applicant that the other two persons, Sultan Khatuyev and U.I., had already been released. According to U.I.'s relatives, he had indeed been released in an extremely poor condition by FSB officers between 1.00 and 2.00 p.m. and left alone at a rubbish dump. The applicant went to the rubbish dump to look for her husband but did not find him or any of his personal belongings.

13. U.I. later told the applicant that he and Sultan Khatuyev had been detained in two neighbouring cells on the FSB premises and that he had heard Sultan Khatuyev groaning. He told her that he had been beaten by the FSB officers and that, given the sounds coming from the other cell, Sultan Khatuyev had been beaten as well. The lawyer representing the applicant submitted a written statement about his conversation with U.I. to that effect; however, he noted in the same statement that U.I. had feared reprisals and refused to sign any testimonies about his detention. According to the lawyer's submissions, U.I. and Sultan Khatuyev had been taken in the same car from the Sunzhenskiy ROVD to the FSB office in Magas. U.I. had had a plastic bag over his head but he had heard the voice of the applicant's husband, whom he had known well as they had been neighbours. He also told the lawyer that the car had not stopped anywhere on the way to Magas and that at one point he had heard Sultan Khatuyev screaming in the building.

14. The applicant has had no news of Sultan Khatuyev since 2 August 2004.

15. In support of her own statements, the applicant submitted statements by her relatives and a statement by one of the persons who had been detained on 2 August 2004 at the Sunzhenskiy ROVD together with Sultan Khatuyev.

16. The Government did not dispute the circumstances of the applicant's husband's detention on 2 August 2004.

B. The search for Sultan Khatuyev and the investigation
1. The applicant's account
17. Since 3 August 2004 the applicant has repeatedly applied in person and in writing to various public bodies. She has been supported in her efforts by NGO Memorial. In her letters to the authorities the applicant referred to her husband's detention and asked for assistance and details of the investigation. Mostly these enquiries have remained unanswered, or purely formal replies have been given in which the applicant's requests have been forwarded to various prosecutors' offices. The applicant submitted some of the letters to the authorities and the replies to the Court, which are summarised below.

18. On 3 August 2004 the applicant lodged a written complaint with the Sunzhensky ROVD about the abduction of her husband. She was informed by the ROVD officers that they were not aware of his fate after he had been taken to the FSB office in Magas.

19. On 4 August 2004 the applicant again went with her relatives to the ROVD office to inquire about her husband and talked to officer A.B., whom she had seen take part in the operation at issue. He gave them no information, but insulted the applicant and her sister-in-law using obscene language. The incident was interrupted by another officer, A.G., who had also taken part in the operation. The latter informed the applicant, after a telephone call to the FSB office in Magas, that Sultan Khatuyev was still being detained there. A.G. promised to find out the reasons for his detention, but failed to provide any further information in response to the applicant's subsequent telephone calls.

20. On 6 August and 9 August 2004 the applicant complained to the Sunzhensky District Prosecutor's Office (hereafter "the district prosecutor's office") about the abduction of her husband and demanding an investigation into the matter.

21. By a letter of 9 August 2004 the FSB office of Ingushetia informed the applicant that they had no information about Sultan Khatuyev's apprehension and whereabouts.

22. On 12 August 2004 the applicant requested the Minister of the Interior of Ingushetia to identify the servicemen involved in the abduction of her husband.

23. On 19 August 2004 the applicant wrote to the district prosecutor's office and submitted additional details of her husband's disappearance.

24. On 20 August 2004 the District Prosecutor's Office opened a criminal investigation (case file No. 04600054) into Sultan Khatuyev's kidnapping under Article 126, part 1, of the Criminal Code. The applicant was informed thereof by letters of 31 August and 8 September 2004.

25. In September 2004 the applicant received a reply from the acting Minister of the Interior of Ingushetia. The letter stated that on 2 August 2004 eight persons, including Sultan Khatuyev, had been apprehended during an operation carried out jointly by the FSB Department for Ingushetia and the special forces of the Ingush Ministry of the Interior (OMON) with a view to identifying and arresting persons involved in illegal armed groups. The Minister also confirmed that four of those persons had been released, while four others, including Sultan Khatuyev, had been relocated pursuant to the orders of the head of the FSB group Mr M.Ye. The Minister indicated that the investigation to find out Sultan Khatuyev's whereabouts was under way.

26. On various dates in October 2004 the applicant again wrote to the district prosecutor's office. She inquired about the progress of the criminal proceedings, requested to be granted victim status and access to the case file and to question the six witnesses who had been apprehended together with her husband. The prosecutor's office replied on 1 November 2004 and confirmed that four persons including Sultan Khatuyev had been taken to the ROVD and subsequently transferred to the FSB office in Magas and that Sultan Khatuyev's whereabouts were still not known.

27. On 4 November 2004 the applicant asked the district prosecutor to bring criminal charges against the persons involved in the abduction of her husband. She again requested access to the criminal case file. She also asked specifically for the other men who had been apprehended on the same day and the officials involved, including the ROVD officers who had arrested her husband and the FSB officer M.Ye., who had ordered his transfer to the Magas FSB Department, to be questioned.

28. The applicant received no response to these requests. In reply to her subsequent requests the prosecutor's office indicated, by letter of 19 February 2005, that the investigation concerning criminal file No. 04600054 was still ongoing.

29. On 20 February 2005 the investigation was discontinued given the failure to identify the persons against whom the charges were to be brought (Article 208, part 1, paragraph 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure) and the applicant was informed thereof by letter of 5 March 2005.

30. On 5 May 2005 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Sunzhensky District Court ("the district court") under Article 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. She requested the court to declare the inaction of the prosecutor's office unlawful, to quash the prosecutor's decision adjourning the investigation and to order a thorough and effective investigation into Sultan Khatuyev's abduction.

31. On 24 May 2005 the district court dismissed the applicant's complaint. The court noted in particular that the investigation authorities had questioned certain officers of the Sunzhensky ROVD, including A.G., and complied with the plan of investigation measures. The court also noted that the necessary measures had been taken to secure the questioning of FSB officer M.Ye., but the latter had failed to appear due to circumstances beyond the investigator's control.

32. On 4 June 2005 the Supreme Court of Ingushetia reviewed the applicant's cassation appeal against this decision. The court quashed and remitted the decision of 24 May 2005, with an instruction to the investigation authorities to question Mr M.Ye.

33. The applicant received no further information about the proceedings in the case concerning her husband's abduction. In 2008 she informed the Court that she had been threatened by unnamed representatives of the security forces, who had allegedly told her to stop complaining. They threatened to plant drugs or arms on her teenaged sons or accuse them of being involved with illegal armed groups. The applicant and her family left Russia and sought asylum in another country.

34. The applicant submitted that her health had deteriorated significantly since the events of 2 August 2004 and the disappearance of Sultan Khatuyev. Without presenting any documents, she claimed that in 2008 she had been diagnosed with a benign tumour, which she thought was a result of the endured stress.

2. Information submitted by the Government
35. With reference to the information provided by the Prosecutor General's Office, the Government submitted that the investigation of the abduction of Sultan Khatuyev had commenced on 20 August 2004.

36. On unspecified dates the investigation questioned the applicant and Sultan Khatuyev's parents. The applicant was granted victim status on 25 August 2004.

37. The Government stated that two servicemen of the Sunzhenskiy ROVD had been questioned in the course of the investigation. They testified that on 2 August 2004 their office had assisted the FSB and the criminal police of Ingushetia in the security operation in Ordzhonikidzevskaya. One serviceman had taken part in this operation, while the other one had not. The aim of the operation had been to identify members of illegal armed groups and to check that the inhabitants of the settlement of internal migrants from Chechnya were complying with residence rules. The participating serviceman had been aware of the detention of four men, the identities and the reasons for detention of whom he had not known. The other serviceman (presumably, this was A.G., questioned on 3 September 2004 - see paragraph