Shaipova and Others v. Russia
The ECHR case of Shaipova and Others v. Russia (application 10796/04).
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Press release issued by the Registrar
SHAIPOVA and OTHERS v. RUSSIA
Shaipova and Others v. Russia (no. 10796/04)
The applicants in the first case are three Russian nationals: Salman Saidovich Khadzhialiyev and Alpaty Elikhanova, born in 1932 and 1937 respectively, who are the parents of Ramzan and Rizvan Khadzhialiyev, born in 1977 and 1979; and, Magamed Ramzanovich Khadshialiyev, born in 2002, who is Ramzan Khadzhialiyev’s son. In the early hours of the morning on 15 December 2002 Ramzan and Rizvan Khadzhialiyev were abducted from the family home in Samashki, a village in the Chechen Republic, by armed men in camouflage uniforms. They were allegedly seen being taken away in UAZ vehicles. Four days later the bodies of the two men were found near their village; they had been decapitated and dismembered. The missing parts of their bodies have never been found.
The applicants in the second case are two Russian nationals: Luiza Abdulbekovna Magamadova and Alpatu Didievna Iskhanova, who were born in 1964 and 1958 respectively and live in Mesker-Yurt (Chechen Republic). They are the wives of Viskhadzhi Shatayevich Magamadov, born in 1962, and Khasan Shakhtamirovich Mezhiyev, born in 1963. The two men have not been seen since the early hours of 14 November 2002 when they were taken away from the Magamadovs’ home in armoured personnel carriers (APCs) by armed men in camouflage uniforms.
The applicants in the third case are four Russian nationals: Isa Beksultanovich Tsurov, born in 1948; Aminat Tarkhanovna Tsurova, born in 1949; Leyla Isayevna Tsurova, born in 1973; and, Magomed Isayevich Tsurov, born in 1982. They live in Ingushetia (Russia). They are the parents, sister and brother of Ibragim Isayevich Tsurov, born in 1970, an advocate admitted to the Bar of the Chechen Republic. He has not been seen since 26 April 2003 when, his car stopped by armed men, he was seen being taken away in the boot of a car.
The applicants in the fourth case are five Russian nationals: Tamara Daliyevna Shaipova, born in 1953; Yakhita Musayevna Shaipova, born in 1974; Ramzan Akhmedovich Shaipov, born in 1995; Askhab Akhmedovich Shaipov, born in 1998; and, Magomed Akhmedovich Shaipov, born in 2002. They live in Urus-Martan (Chechen Republic.) They are the mother, wife and sons of Akhmed Musayevich Shaipov, born in 1972, who has not been seen since the early hours of 9 April 2003 when he was abducted from the family home by armed men in camouflage uniforms.
All the applicants alleged that their relatives were abducted and killed by Russian servicemen and that the domestic authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into their allegations. They relied, in particular, on Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), 5 (right to liberty and security) and 13 (right to an effective remedy).
In the case of Khadzhialiyev and Others v. Russia the Court noted that the local police had admitted to having seen on the night of 14 to 15 December 2002 a group of armed men who had identified themselves as servicemen from Grozny carrying out a special operation. It was doubtful that, as suggested by the Government, two different groups of armed men in camouflage uniforms had been driving through the village of Samashki in UAZ vehicles on that same night.
In the case of Magamadova and Iskhanova the Court considered it unlikely that, as suggested by the Government, paramilitary groups in stolen APCs could have moved freely at the relevant time through Russian military check-points and abducted the applicants’ husbands.
In the case of Tsurova and Others v. Russia the parties had not disputed the fact that a large group of armed men in uniform had stopped Ibragim Tsurov’s car in Grozny in broad daylight. Indeed, the Government had suggested that three eyewitnesses, trained military servicemen, had thought that the incident had probably been a regular police operation. The applicants had also even been informed by the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Ingushetia that their relative had been arrested by the police.
The Court considered that those elements in particular strongly supported the allegation that the five men had been apprehended by Russian servicemen. Drawing inferences from the Russian Government’s failure to submit documents – despite specific requests from the Court – to which it exclusively had access and the fact that it had not provided any other plausible explanation for the events in question, the Court considered that the applicants’ relatives had been arrested by Russian servicemen during unacknowledged security operations. In the cases of Magamadova and Iskhanova and Tsurova and Others v. Russia
life-threatening. The absence of the applicants’ relatives or any news of them for more than five years corroborated that assumption. Therefore the Court found that those three men had to be presumed dead following their unacknowledged detention by Russian servicemen. In the case of Khadzhialiyev and Others v. Russia, given the lack of any DNA expert examination or willingness to provide a copy of the post-mortem forensic report, the Court considered it proven that the remains found four days after the abduction had belonged to the applicants’ relatives and found it established that Ramzan and Rizvan Khadzhialiyev had been kidnapped and killed by Russian servicemen. Noting that the authorities had not justified the use of lethal force by their agents in any of those three cases, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 2 in respect of all five of the applicants’ relatives. there had been no reliable news of the applicants’ three relatives since their disappearances and the Russian Government had not submitted any further explanations. In the context of the conflict in Chechnya, when a person had been detained by unidentified servicemen without any subsequent acknowledgment of their detention, that situation could be regarded as
However, in the case of Shaipova and Others, the Court noted that the group of armed men who had abducted the applicants’ relative had been wearing running shoes, not normally part of regulation uniform for a Russian servicemen, and uniforms with unrecognisable insignia. Nor had the group of men allegedly used military vehicles. The Court therefore found that the applicants had not submitted persuasive evidence to support their allegations that Russian servicemen had been implicated in the abduction of their relative. Nor had it therefore been established “beyond reasonable doubt” that Akhmed Shaipov had been deprived of his life by State agents. In such circumstances, the Court found that there had been no violation of Article 2 in respect of the applicants’ relative.
In all three cases, the Court held that there had been violations of Article 2 concerning the Russian authorities’ failure to carry out effective criminal investigations into the circumstances in which the applicants’ relatives had disappeared and, in the case of Khadzhialiyev and Others, into their relatives’ deaths.
Furthermore, in the cases of Magamadova and Iskhanova and Tsurova and Others, the Court found that the applicants had suffered and continued to suffer, distress and anguish as a result of the disappearance of their relatives and their inability to find out what had happened to them. The manner in which their complaints had been dealt with by the authorities had to be considered to constitute inhuman treatment in violation of Article 3. In the case of Khadzhialiyev and Others, the Court noted that the missing parts of the applicants’ relatives, including their heads, had still not been found, meaning that the applicants had not yet been able to bury the bodies in a proper manner, which had to have caused them profound and continuous anguish and distress, in violation of Article 3.
The Court further found that the applicants’ relatives in the first three cases had been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5, which constituted a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security enshrined in that article.
Finally, the Court held unanimously that, in all the first three cases, there had been a violation of Article 13 as regards the alleged violation of Article 2 and that, in the case of Tsurova and Others, there had been no violation of Article 13 as regards the alleged violation of Article 3 in respect of the applicants’ relative.
In the case of Khadzhialiyev and Others the Court awarded the parents of Ramzan and Rizvan Khadzhialiyev, jointly, EUR 3,000 in respect of pecuniary damage and EUR 50,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage. It further awarded EUR 1,500 to Ramzan Khadzhialiyev’s son in respect of pecuniary damage and EUR 20,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage. For costs and expenses, the applicants were awarded EUR 4,150.
In the case of Magamadova and Iskhanova the Court awarded each applicant EUR 3,000 in respect of pecuniary damage, EUR 35,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,150, jointly, for costs and expenses.
In the case of Tsurova and Others the Court awarded the parents of Ibragim Tsurov, jointly, EUR 10,000 in respect of pecuniary damage and EUR 25,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage. The Court awarded EUR 5,000, each, to Ibragim Tsurov’s sister and brother in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
In the case of Shaipova and Others the Court awarded the applicants, jointly, EUR 6,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,150 for costs and expenses.
(The judgments are available only in English.)