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Home » ECHR Cases

Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

Submitted by on Thursday, 27 February 2014.    194 views No Comment
Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

The ECHR case of Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia (application nos. 8620/09, 11674/09, 16488/09, 21133/09, 36354/09, 47770/09, 54728/09, 25511/10 and 32791/10).

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FIRST SECTION
CASE OF DZHABRAILOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA

(Applications nos. 8620/09, 11674/09, 16488/09, 21133/09,36354/09, 47770/09, 54728/09, 25511/10 and 32791/10)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

27 February 2014

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 Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia,

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

Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre, President,
Julia Laffranque,
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,
Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos,
Erik Møse,
Ksenija Turković,
Dmitry Dedov, judges,
and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 4 February 2014,

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

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in nine applications (see details in Appendix I) 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 Russian nationals (“the applicants”) on the dates indicated in Appendix I.

2. The applicants were represented before the Court by lawyers from the NGO Stichting Russian Justice Initiative (SRJI) (in partnership with the NGO Astreya), lawyers from the NGO Memorial Human Rights Centre, and Mr S. Visengereyev, a lawyer practising in Moscow. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. The applicants claimed that on various dates between 2000 and 2004 their thirteen relatives had been detained by State servicemen in Chechnya and that no effective investigation into the matter had taken place.

4. On 14 December 2011 the applications were communicated to the Government.

THE FACTS

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

5. The applicants are Russian nationals who live in various districts of the Chechen Republic. They are close relatives of individuals who disappeared, allegedly after having been unlawfully detained by servicemen during a special operation. In each of the applications the events concerned took place in areas under the full control of the Russian federal forces. The applicants have had no news of their missing relatives since the alleged arrests.

6. The applicants complained about the circumstances to law‑enforcement bodies, and official investigations were opened. The proceedings were repeatedly suspended and resumed, and have remained pending for several years without achieving any tangible results. The investigations have mainly consisted of requests for information and formal requests for operational search measures to be carried out by counterparts in various parts of Chechnya and other regions of the North Caucasus. The requests received either negative responses or no reply at all.

7. From the documents submitted it appears that the relevant State authorities were unable to identify the State servicemen allegedly involved in the arrests or abductions.

8. In their observations the Government did not challenge the allegations as presented by the applicants. At the same time, they stated that there was no evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that State agents had been involved in the incidents.

9. Below are summaries of the facts in respect of each individual application. Each account of the events is based on the statements provided by the applicants and their relatives and/or neighbours to the Court and to the domestic investigative authorities. The personal details of the applicants and their disappeared relatives, and some other key facts, are summarised in the attached table (Appendix I).

1. Application no. 8620/09, Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

10. The applicants are:

(1) Mr Khamzat Dzhabrailov, who was born in 1941,

(2) Ms Tamara Taysumova (also referred to as Dzhabrailova), who was born in 1955,

(3) Ms Zarema Dzhabrailova, who was born in 1978, and

(4) Ms Larisa Dzhabrailova, who was born in 1985.

11. The applicants live in Argun, Shali District, the Chechen Republic. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from the Memorial Human Rights Centre.

12. The first and second applicants are the parents of Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov, who was born in 1981; the third and fourth applicants are his sisters.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relative

13. At the material time the applicants and Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov lived in Argun in one household consisting of two dwellings. Between 13 and 15 December 2001 Russian servicemen conducted a sweeping-up operation in that settlement. The town was surrounded by military checkpoints and the residents required authorisation to enter or leave it. On-duty servicemen patrolling the streets made it impossible for the residents to move around.

14. On 14 December 2001 a group of twenty servicemen arrived at the applicants’ house in an armoured personnel carrier (APC) and a UAZ “tabletka” vehicle with obscured registration plates. The servicemen were camouflaged and unmasked, of Russian or Asian appearance, and spoke unaccented Russian. Having searched Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov’s dwelling, they threatened to take him with them and added that those whom they took away never returned. On the same day the servicemen took the applicants’ neighbour, Mr B.U., to the Argun district military commander’s office (“the military commander’s office”) He was later released, but his car had been taken away from him by the servicemen and remained at the office’s premises.

15. On 15 December 2001, at around noon, the same servicemen returned to the neighbourhood in the APC and cordoned off the area. Some of them broke into the applicants’ dwelling and locked the applicants inside, while two others entered Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov’s part of the house. They forced Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov outside, put him in the APC and drove to the military commander’s office. Servicemen patrolling the streets witnessed the events but did not interfere.

16. Later on the same day the second applicant went to the Argun town administration, where she met about fifty relatives of other men arrested during the special operation. Two representatives of the town council informed her that the arrested men had been taken to a “filtering” point on the outskirts of Argun, and they agreed to pass on clothes to Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov. In the evening the applicant learnt that the arrested men would be transferred to the military commander’s office.

17. On 17 December 2001 the military commander’s office informed the applicants that the special operation had been conducted by a special forces unit which did not report to the office and that none of the arrested men had been brought to their premises. Subsequently, the applicants learnt that Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov and seven other persons arrested between 13 and 15 December 2001 had not been released.

18. According to the second applicant, on 18 December 2001 she heard Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov screaming in the district military commander’s office.

19. The applicants have not seen Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov since 15 December 2001.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken in the investigation

20. On 12 January 2002 the first applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case and questioned. In his statement he described in detail the circumstances of his son’s abduction by armed men in military uniforms who had arrived in an APC and a UAZ vehicle. He also stated that prior to the abduction, on 14 December 2001, the same group of men had searched his house. The applicant provided a detailed description of the perpetrators and their vehicles and insisted that the APC was the same that had been used by the abductors the day before, on 14 December 2001.

21. On 17 and 18 January 2002 the investigators questioned the second and third applicants, whose statements about the abduction were detailed and similar to the one given by the first applicant.

22. On 19 January 2002 the investigators questioned the applicants’ relative, Ms M.M., whose statement about the abduction was also similar to the one given by the first applicant. In addition, she stated that from the abductors’ actions it had been clear to her that they were familiar with the house and that they must have been the same men who had searched the applicants’ house on 14 December 2001.

23. On 3 September 2003 the investigators questioned the applicants’ neighbour Ms A.D., whose statement about the abduction was similar to the ones given by the first, second and third applicants. She also stated that the APC used to take away Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov had been the same as that used on 14 December 2001 by the men who had searched the applicants’ house.

24. On 9 September 2003 the investigators questioned the applicants’ neighbour Mr B.U., who stated that on 14 December 2001 armed men who had arrived at his house in an APC had ordered him to take his Mercedes car to the military commander’s office and leave it there for two weeks.

25. On 10 September 2003 the investigators again questioned the first applicant, who stated, amongst other things, that during their first visit on 14 December 2001 the abductors, having searched his house, had gone to his neighbour’s dwelling and taken the Mercedes car.

26. On various dates in February 2004 the investigators questioned the applicants’ neighbours Mr A.U. and Mr R.U., whose statements concerning the abductors’ visit on 14 December 2001 were similar to the ones given by the first applicant and Mr B.U. (see paragraphs 20 and 24 above). They also questioned the first applicant, who reiterated his previous statements.

27. On 30 March 2004 the investigators questioned Mr M.S., who had been the head of the Argun department of the Federal Security Service (FSB) at the time of the abduction. The officer denied having any pertinent information concerning the disappearance of Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov.

28. On various dates in September 2006 the investigators questioned six of the applicants’ neighbours, all of whom confirmed that a special operation had been conducted in Argun on 15 December 2001.

29. On 21 September 2006 the investigators again questioned the first applicant, who stated that his son’s abduction had been organised by the head of the Argun FSB, Mr M.S., and that the Argun prosecutor, Mr R.T., had been aware of it.

30. On 25 September 2006 the investigators questioned Mr R.T., who denied having any pertinent information about the abduction.

31. On various dates in August 2011 the investigators questioned the first applicant and several of his relatives and neighbours. No new information concerning the abduction was obtained.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

32. On 9 January 2002 the Argun district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 78010.

33. On 5 February 2002 the investigators requested the Military Commander of the United Group Alignment (UGA) to inform them whether their servicemen had detained the applicants’ relative. On an unspecified date the UGA replied that on 15 December 2001 a joint police and military group had conducted a special operation in Argun.

34. On 30 March 2002 the investigators examined the crime scene. No evidence was collected.

35. On 21 January 2004 the district prosecutor’s office criticised the lack of progress in the investigation and the investigators’ failure to take basic steps.

36. On 14 September 2004 the military prosecutor’s office of military unit no. 20102 informed the investigators that no military servicemen had been involved in the abduction.

37. On 10 August 2006 the first applicant wrote to the investigators requesting that they take a number of steps to expedite the search for his son. He also stated that he suspected that Mr M.S., who had been the head of the Argun FSB at the time, was responsible for his son’s abduction, and that the Argun Public Prosecutor and the Argun military commander had known about it but failed to take any action.

38. On 31 October 2006 the district prosecutor’s office informed the applicants that criminal case no. 78027 had been opened in connection with the discovery of four mutilated corpses on the eastern outskirts of Argun on 28 February 2002. One body was identified as being that of Mr A‑W. Ya., who had been abducted from his home in Argun in January 2001 under similar circumstances.

39. On 28 February 2008 the first applicant requested that the investigators allow him access to the investigation file. On 6 March 2008 the Shali District Investigation Department granted his request. However, on 1 July 2008 the applicant’s lawyer was denied access to the file’s entire contents on the grounds that the investigation was still pending.

40. On 17 July 2008 the investigators informed the applicant that the decision of 6 March 2008 had granted him only limited access to the case file.

41. The contents of a number of documents from the investigation file reflect that the abduction took place “during a sweeping-up operation” by special forces. Such references are made in the decision to suspend the investigation and in the investigators’ request for police assistance, both dated 25 December 2011.

42. The investigation was suspended and resumed on several occasions; the last suspension took place on 25 December 2011. The proceedings are still pending.

2. Application no. 11674/09, Suleymanova and Others v. Russia

43. The applicants are:

(1) Ms Mata Suleymanova, who was born in 1956,

(2) Mr Ostambek Suleymanov, who was born in 1950,

(3) Ms Marem Magamaliyeva, who was born in 1981, and

(4) Mr Abdul-Malik Suleymanov, who was born in 2002.

The applicants live in Gudermes, Gudermes district, the Chechen Republic. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from SRJI/Astreya.

44. The first and second applicants are the parents of Mr Salambek Suleymanov, who was born in 1974, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov, who was born in 1979, and Mr Anderbek (also spelt as Andarbek) Suleymanov, who was born in 1981. The third applicant is the wife of Mr Salambek Suleymanov, and the fourth applicant is his son.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relatives

45. At the material time the applicants and the three Suleymanov brothers resided in two neighbouring houses in Gudermes. Mr Salambek Suleymanov lived with the third and the fourth applicants while Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov and Mr Anderbek Suleymanov lived with the first and second applicants. The town was under curfew.

46. On an unspecified date in September or October 2002 federal servicemen conducted a special operation in Gudermes and arrested about thirty persons, including the Suleymanov brothers. The servicemen took the arrested men to the Gudermes district department of the interior (“ROVD”) in buses belonging to the FSB. After their fingerprints had been checked and photographs taken, the arrested men were released.

47. On 28 October 2002 two neighbours, Mr Ali M. and Mr Musa Z., visited the applicants. Mr Anderbek Suleymanov joked that his family kept a bomb in the basement. It appears that Mr Musa Z. had previously been detained by the FSB and released in exchange for providing information. According to the applicants, it was possible he had informed the FSB about the joke.

48. On 29 October 2002, at around 4 a.m., a group of camouflaged servicemen in masks and helmets arrived at the applicants’ houses in two UAZ minivans. They were armed with short-barrelled automatic rifles. The servicemen stormed inside and quickly searched the houses, looking for drugs, firearms, and, in particular, for the bomb allegedly hidden in the basement. Threatening the applicants in unaccented Russian, the servicemen ordered them to lie down on the floor. They collected the applicants’ and the three brothers’ identity documents, forced the latter into the UAZ and drove off in the direction of the town centre, passing unhindered through a checkpoint on the way.

49. At the beginning of November 2002, about a week after the abduction, a former classmate of Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov told the applicants that their relatives were detained at a temporary detention centre (“IVS”) on the premises of the Gudermes ROVD and that FSB officers guarded them and occasionally took them out. Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov had passed an item of his clothing to his parents through another person and asked him to inform them of his place of detention. However, the ROVD officers denied that the brothers were detained there and refused to allow the applicants to enter the premises.

50. One of the applicants’ neighbours, a police officer, also confirmed that the three men had been held at the ROVD.

51. At some later point the applicants heard from anonymous sources that in 2003 the brothers had been detained on the premises of an FSB department, that in 2003 Mr Salambek Suleymanov had been transferred to detention elsewhere, and that Mr Aslan Dzh., the head of the criminal search unit at the Gudermes ROVD, had ordered the brothers’ abduction.

52. The applicants have not seen their three relatives since 29 October 2002.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

53. On 15 November 2002 the first and third applicants were questioned. Both of them provided a detailed description of the abduction similar to the one furnished to the Court.

54. On the same date, the second applicant was also questioned and granted victim status in the criminal case. His statement concerning the abduction was similar to the one given by the first and third applicants. The second applicant was subsequently questioned again on two occasions: on 18 June 2005 and 20 April 2006.

55. On 16 November 2002 the investigators questioned the applicants’ neighbour Mr Kh.A., who confirmed seeing a group of armed men in UAZ vehicles next to the applicants’ house on the night of the abduction.

56. On 18 May 2005 the first applicant was also granted victim status and was questioned. She reiterated her previous statement, adding that she had made an official complaint about the abduction on the following day.

57. On 20 April 2006 the first applicant was questioned again. She reiterated her previous statements and added that in her opinion her sons had been abducted by law-enforcement agents.

58. On 5 and 6 May 2006 the investigation team questioned the head of the IVS and a senior inspector at the ROVD, who denied having any knowledge of the Suleymanov brothers. According to the IVS registration log of detainees examined on 5 May 2006, the brothers had not been detained there.

59. On 23 September 2008 the first applicant was questioned again. She stated that she had learnt from Mr Uvais, who had died in 2007, that Mr Aslan Dzh., the head of the criminal search unit at the ROVD, was resposible for her sons’ abduction.

60. On 8 October 2008 the investigators questioned the applicants’ relative Ms M.A., whose statement concerning the alleged organisation of the abduction by Mr Aslan Dzh. was similar to the one given by the first applicant.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

61. On 30 October 2002 an investigation team examined the crime scene. No evidence was collected.

62. On 1 November 2002 the Gudermes district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 57098 in connection with the abduction. According to the investigation plan drawn up on the same day, the abduction could have been perpetrated by criminals pursuing a blood feud, by creditors, by members of illegal armed groups, or by officers of law‑enforcement agencies.

63. In November 2002, May and June 2005, April 2006 and September 2008 the investigators sent out requests for information to a number of law‑enforcement agencies in Moscow and the Southern Federal Circuit, including the Ministry of the Interior and various ROVD offices, detention centres, military commander’s offices and FSB departments. Only negative replies were received.

64. On 12 December 2002 the Chechnya prosecutor’s office stated in a procedural document that “the investigation [had] failed to establish to which power structure the abductors belonged”. Subsequently, on 16 August 2006, the investigators stated in another procedural document that “the only substantiated investigative theory was that the culprits belonged to power structures”.

65. On 5 April 2006 the first applicant requested information on the progress of the investigation. In reply she was informed that the proceedings were still in progress.

66. On 17 November and December 2006, and then on 4 March and 10 November 2008, the first applicant requested access to the investigation file. Her two latest requests were granted, on 7 March and 11 November 2008.

67. On 10 September 2008 the applicants’ relatives and neighbours Ms M.A. and Ms N.D. wrote to the investigators stating that Mr Aslan Dzh., the head of the criminal search unit at the Gudermes ROVD, had been involved in the abduction of the applicants’ sons. Following that complaint, on 12 September 2008 a supervising prosecutor ordered the questioning of Mr Aslan Dzh. by the investigators. From the documents submitted it appears that this order was not complied with.

68. On 19 July 2010 and 26 January 2011 the Russian President’s Human Rights Envoy in Chechnya (“the Envoy”) wrote to the investigators on behalf of the first and second applicants requesting assistance in the seach for the applicants’ sons. In reply he was informed that operational seach measures to solve the crime were under way.

69. According to the information obtained by the investigation, none of the Sulyemanov brothers were detained in penal institutions in the Russian Federation (see paragraph 51 above).

70. According to the information received by the investigators at the Gudermes ROVD, the Suleymanov brothers were members of illegal armed groups and Salambek Suleymanov had participated in the activities of illegal Sharia courts.

71. The investigation was suspended and resumed on several occasions; the last suspension took place on 14 October 2008. It is still pending.

3. Application no. 16488/09, Chankayevy v. Russia

72. The applicants are Mr Viktor Chankayev, who was born in 1948, and Ms Zaynap Chankayeva, who was born in 1954. The applicants live in Urus-Martan, Urus-Martan district, the Chechen Republic. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from SRJI/Astreya.

73. The applicants are the parents of Mr Ramzan Chankayev, who was born in 1985, and the uncle and aunt of Mr Aslan Chankayev, who was born in 1985.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relatives

74. At the material time the applicants, their son Mr Ramzan Chankayev and their nephew Mr Aslan Chankayev lived together in Urus-Martan. The area was under curfew. Roads leading to and from the settlements were blocked by checkpoints.

75. On 19 September 2001 a group of about fifteen servicemen arrived at the applicants’ neighbourhood in Urus-Martan and cordoned off the area. Their UAZ car had no registration plates and the registration number of their Ural lorry was obscured by mud. All the servicemen were armed and wore camouflage uniforms and masks, save for the commanding officer. The latter was unmasked, had Slavic features and had an FSB emblem on his sleeve. After a quick search of the applicants’ house, the servicemen told them in unaccented Russian that they had to take Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev with them to check their fingerprints at a laboratory situated on the premises of an Azeri market on the western outskirts of Urus-Martan. As the applicants refused to let their relatives go, the commander started shooting in the air. The servicemen then collected the bullet shells, put Mr Aslan Chankayev in the UAZ and Mr Ramzan Chankayev in the Ural and drove away.

76. On the same morning the servicemen conducted an identity check at the house of a neighbour, Mr N.S.

77. Immediately after the arrest, the first applicant went to the Azeri market and the Urus-Martan district military commander’s office but his arrested relatives were not there. Then he went to the district prosecutor’s office, where he was told that the two men had been taken to the IVS at the Urus-Martan ROVD. In the evening, an official from the local administration confirmed this information to the second applicant, adding that both young men would be released as soon as they had had their fingerprints checked. Mr Radmir Arbekov, an assistant to the district prosecutor, agreed to pass on some food brought by the applicant for the arrested relatives. However, Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev were not released on that day.

78. On 20 September 2001 the ROVD officers informed the applicants that their relatives had been transferred to the district military commander’s office. None of the officers at that office acknowledged the detention.

79. On 8 October 2001 the second applicant saw the commanding officer who had participated in her relatives’ arrest on the premises of the military commander’s office. Sometime later she saw two other servicemen who she thought might also have participated in the abduction. When approached, one of the servicemen introduced himself as “Vitaliy”.

80. The applicants have not seen Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev since 19 September 2001.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

81. On 20 October 2001 the investigators questioned the second applicant, who provided a detailed description of the events similar to the one furnished to the Court. In addition, she stated that she had noticed FSB service stripes on the shoulder of the uniform of one of the abductors. The abductors had told her that they were from the Urus-Martan temporary department of the interior. At about 5 p.m. on the same day she complained to the prosecutor’s office about the abduction; near the office she met the deputy head of the Urus-Martan town administration, Mr L.M., who promised to expedite her relatives’ release from detention.

82. On 2 November 2001 the investigators questioned the first applicant’s brother and the father of Mr Aslan Chankayev, Mr A.Ch., whose statement concerning the events was similar to the one given by the second applicant. He also added that the abductors had told them that Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev would be released an hour later at the Azeri market.

83. On 3 November 2001 the investigators questioned the first applicant, whose statement concerning the events was similar to the one given by his wife, the second applicant. In addition, he stated that on 8 October 2001, near to the military commander’s office his wife had identified one of the abductors in the presence of the district military commander and the head of the town administration Mr Sh.Ya.

84. On various dates in November and December 2001 the investigators questioned five of the applicants’ neighbours, none of whom had witnessed the abduction but had learnt about it from the applicants.

85. On 20 September 2006 the investigators again questioned the second applicant, who reiterated her previous statement and added that the man in charge of the abduction had been called Radmir.

86. On 20 or 21 September 2006 the investigators questioned the applicants’ daughter, Ms Z.Ch. (also referred to as E.Ch. in the documents submitted), whose statement concerning the abduction was similar to those given by the applicants. In particular, she stated that one of the abductors had had FSB stripes on his uniform.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

87. According to the applicants, they complained of the abduction to various law-enforcement agencies on 20 September 2001. According to the Government, the applicants complained of the abduction on 27 October 2001.

88. On 1 October 2001 Mr Arbekov, the assistant to the district prosecutor, wrote to the Chechnya FSB that, according to the registration log of the Khankala FSB department, both Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev had been detained there. On 15 October 2001 the district military commander’s office sent out queries to the military units of the Ministry of Defence and the Internal Troops of the Ministry of the Interior. On 16 October 2001 the ROVD informed the applicants that their relatives were not listed in their databases and that operational search files had been opened in connection with their abduction.

89. On 27 October 2001 the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 25137.

90. On 20 March 2002 the head of the Main Service for the Execution of Sentences stated that the applicants’ relatives had not been detained in the detention centres in the Rostov Region.

91. On 26 March 2003 the second applicant was granted victim status in the criminal proceedings.

92. On 13 October 2005 the applicants requested permission to access the investigation file. No response was given to this request.

93. On 21 November 2005 the Urus-Martan ROVD informed the investigators that on the date of the abduction of the applicants’ relatives, no special operations had been conducted by the servicemen of the military units stationed in the area.

94. On 28 September 2006 the investigation was suspended. The applicants were not informed.

95. On various dates throughout the proceedings, such as 9 November 2001, 4 June 2003 and 13 October 2005, the applicants contacted the investigators to ask about the progress of the investigation and to request assistance in the search for their relatives. In reply they were informed that an investigation was in progress and operational search measures were under way.

96. On 2 February 2009, having been contacted by the applicants on 27 January 2009, the investigators informed them that the investigation had been suspended on an unspecified date.

97. The investigation is still pending.

4. Application no. 21133/09, Sultanova and Others v. Russia

98. The applicants are:

(1) Ms Maret Sultanova, who was born in 1958,

(2) Ms Madina Sultanova, who was born in 1993,

(3) Mr Khusain Sultanov, who was born in 1984,

(4) Ms Razet Sultanova, who was born in 1988,

(5) Ms Zalina Sultanova, who was born in 1989, and

(6) Mr Ibragim Razhipov, who was born in 1982.

The applicants live in Samashki, Achkhoy-Martan district, the Chechen Republic. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from SRJI/Astreya.

99. The first applicant is the mother of Mr Dzhamali (also referred to as Khasan) Sultanov, who was born in 1986. The other applicants are his siblings.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relative

100. Mr Dzhamali Sultanov suffered from a disability. In September 2004 he had an argument with Mr R.S., a local police officer. According to the applicants, Mr R.S., in order to get back at Dzhamali, might have deliberately misinformed the Achkhoy‑Martan ROVD that Mr Dzhamali Sultanov was involved in illegal activities.

101. On 5 November 2004, at around 3 a.m., a group of servicemen arrived at the applicants’ house. Five of them broke in. They were in camouflage uniforms and armed with machine guns; three of them wore masks and the others wore helmets and caps. Those whose faces were not covered were of Slavic appearance; the servicemen spoke Russian and Chechen. They asked whether the applicants had any weapons or drugs, then checked Mr Dzhamali Sultanov’s passport, forced him outside and put him in a khaki UAZ car saying that they were taking him to Grozny. Then the UAZ departed in the direction of Achkhoy‑Martan, accompanied by a convoy of about ten vehicles, including UAZs, Gazelle minivans, and VAZ‑21099 and Lada (Жигули) civilian cars. Later that night a serviceman manning a roadblock in the vicinity confirmed that the convoy had entered Achkhoy-Martan.

102. According to the applicants, the abductors were acting on the false information given to the ROVD by police officer R.S.

103. Five days later, an acquaintance of the applicants, Mr Akhdan, who served at the seventh military commander’s squadron (седьмая комендантская рота) stationed in Achkhoy-Martan, confirmed that he had seen the convoy in Achkhoy-Martan. According to him, a UAZ car had entered the premises of the Achkhoy-Martan ROVD, while the rest of the convoy had continued to drive on. According to Mr Akhdan, Mr Dzhamali Sultanov had been detained at the ROVD and had been questioned by Mr V.K., the head of the ROVD’s criminal search department. According to the applicants, Mr V.K. was head of the Zheleznodorozhniy ROVD in Voronezh in the Voronezh Region and was on a temporary assignment in Achkhoy-Martan. In a meeting with the first applicant Mr A.S., Mr V.K.’s deputy at the Achkhoy‑Martan ROVD, denied that Mr Dzhamali Sultanov had been detained at the ROVD. Mr Akhdan was killed several days after the conversation with the applicants.

104. The applicants have not seen Mr Dzhamali Sultanov since 5 November 2004.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

105. On 26 November 2004 the investigators questioned the first and the third applicants, whose statements concerning the abduction were similar to the one submitted to the Court. In addition, the first applicant stated that Mr Dzhamali Sultanov suffered from a learning disability, and had neither been to school nor had any friends. She further stated that she recognised one of the abductors as a police officer from the Achkhoy-Martan ROVD, Mr V.K., also known under the nickname ‘Liman’. The first applicant was subsequently questioned again on 28 December 2004, 10 October 2006 and 25 July 2007 and provided similar statements; the third applicant was questioned again on 25 July 2007 and provided a similar statement.

106. On 26 November 2004 the investigators questioned the first applicant’s husband and the father of Mr Dzhamali Sultanov, Mr Z. Sultanov, whose statements concerning the abduction were similar to the ones given by the first and third applicants. He was subsequently questioned again on 10 October 2006 and reiterated his previous statement.

107. On various dates in November and December 2004, September 2006 and then in July 2008 the investigators questioned a number of the applicants’ neighbours and relatives and other residents of Samashki, all of whom stated that they had learnt of the abduction from the applicants.

108. On 1 July 2008 the investigators questioned the fourth applicant, whose statement about the abduction was similar to the one given by the first and third applicants.

109. On 3 July 2008 the investigators questioned district police officer Mr Kh.Z., who stated that at about 5 a.m. on 5 November 2004 the first applicant had arrived at his house and informed him of her son’s abduction. She had provided a detailed description of the abductors and their vehicles and also stated that a fortnight prior to the events, Mr Dzhamali Sultanov had had an argument with police officers R.S. and A.A., who had come to the applicants’ household to check the premises.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

110. On 5 and then on 17 November 2004 the investigators examined the crime scene. No evidence was collected.

111. On 15 November 2004 the Achkhoy-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 38053 in respect of the abduction.

112. On 27 December 2004 the investigators checked the transport registration log of checkpoint no. 190 with regard to the passage of the abductors’ convoy on 5 November 2004. No such passage was registered.

113. On 28 December 2004 the first applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.

114. On 5 January 2005 the investigators checked the transport registration log of checkpoint no. 186 with regard to the passage of the abductors’ convoy on 5 November 2004. No such passage was registered.

115. On 15 March 2005 the investigation was suspended. On 19 August 2006 the district prosecutor’s office rejected the applicant’s complaint against the decision to suspend the investigation.

116. On 30 June 2006 the Achkhoy-Martan District Court declared Mr Dzhamali Sultanov a missing person.

117. On 29 July 2006 the ROVD informed the first applicant that an operational search file had been opened in connection with the abduction.

118. In March and April 2007 district departments of the Southern Circuit of the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences stated that Dzhamali had not been detained in their detention facilities.

119. On 25 April 2007 the investigators informed the applicants of the progress in the criminal proceedings, stating that, amongst other things, the investigators had questioned over seventy witnesses, including the applicants’ relatives and neighbours, forwarded information requests to a number of law-enforcement agencies in the Southern Federal Circuit, and examined the registration logs of the checkpoints in Samashki and Achkhoy-Martan districts. No involvement of servicemen in the abduction had been established.

120. The investigation of the criminal case was suspended and resumed on several occasion; the last suspension took place on 10 July 2008. The proceedings are currently pending.

5. Application no. 36354/09, Eldarov v. Russia

121. The applicant is Mr Elsi Eldarov, who was born in 1956 and lives in Gekhi, Urus-Martan district, the Chechen Republic. He is represented before the Court by lawyers from SRJI/Astreya.

122. The applicant is the brother of Mr Aldan Eldarov, who was born in 1964.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicant’s brother

123. The facts of this application are based on the same events as those examined by the Court in the case of Musayeva and Others v. Russia, no. 74239/01, 26 July 2007, which concerned the abduction of the applicants’ relatives as a result of a special operation conducted by federal forces in Gekhi between 8 and 10 August 2000, and the subsequent discovery of their bodies.

124. At the material time the applicant and his brother, Mr Aldan Eldarov, lived in neighbouring houses in Gekhi. On 8 (in the documents submitted the date was also referred to as 9) August 2000 federal servicemen started a three-day sweeping-up operation in Gekhi. They surrounded the settlement in their UAZ cars and Ural lorries, cordoned off the area and blocked the roads leading to and from the settlement. The servicemen were stationed on the eastern outskirts of Gekhi. Around two hundred of the village’s male residents were arrested during the operation.

125. At around 10.30 a.m. a group of servicemen conducted a search of Mr Aldan Eldarov’s house. They took away a group photograph of him, his brother and some police officers from Grozny, all of whom were in military uniform. Then the servicemen left and Mr Aldan Eldarov went to see the applicant.

126. Later, at around 11 a.m., two servicemen arrived at the applicant’s house in a UAZ lorry registration number OBS 31-62 (ОБС 31-62). The applicant knew the servicemen personally as Mr Vadim and Mr Oleg Ye. The latter was in charge of the operation in the applicant’s street. Prior to their being sent to work with the Urus-Martan ROVD, both officers had worked in the economic crimes unit of the Penza Regional Department of the Interior (OVD). The servicemen told the applicant that in connection with the photograph they had to take Mr Aldan Eldarov to the military base. Then they put him in their car and left. The applicant was unable to follow them because his car was stopped by servicemen carrying out the special operation.

127. On that day the servicemen also arrested a local resident, Mr Akhmet Kadyrov, and his two brothers. After checking their passports, the servicemen took them to the military base in an APC and placed them in cages and tents with other detainees. The cages were surrounded by dozens of military vehicles, including APCs, tanks and a helicopter. The detainees, who were asked whether they knew any rebel fighters or local residents who had weapons, were subjected to beatings. Mr Aldan Eldarov was in a very bad state after questioning, and servicemen took him to hospital in an APC. Mr Akhmet Kadyrov and his brothers were released.

128. On 10 August 2000 the head of the local administration, Mr Said‑Selim Ay., informed the applicant that the servicemen conducting the operation would release the detainee in exchange for a machine gun. The applicant agreed to the exchange. However, after visiting the military base, Mr Said-Selim Ay. stated that Mr Aldan Eldarov had been taken to hospital.

129. In September 2000 a burial site was discovered on the outskirts of Gekhi. Two of the bodies were identified as the Musayev brothers, also Gekhi residents, who had been arrested in the same period as Mr Aldan Eldarov.

130. The applicant has not seen Mr Aldan Eldarov since the date of the abduction.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation into the abduction

131. On an unspecified date in December 2000 the applicant was questioned. He provided a detailed description of the events, similar to the one furnished to the Court.

132. On 27 April 2005 the investigators again questioned the applicant, who reiterated the description of his brother’s abduction by officers from the Urus-Martan ROVD during the special operation and his subsequent handing over by the police officers to military servicemen under the command of General Nedobitko.

133. On 15 November 2005 the investigators questioned officer Mr I.S., who had participated in the special operation in Gekhi and the arrest of local residents, including the applicant’s brother. The officer confirmed that the special operation had been conducted but could not recall any details because of the passage of time.

134. On 21 November 2005 the investigators questioned officer Mr Oleg Ye., who had participated in the special operation in Gekhi and the arrest of local residents, including the applicant’s brother. The officer confirmed that the special operation had been conducted but could not recall any details.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

135. For details of the main investigative steps taken by the authorities between 2000 and 2006 in criminal case no. 24047 opened in connection with the abduction of four residents of Gekhi during the special operation and the subsequent discovery of their bodies, see Musayeva and Others v. Russia, no. 74239/01, §§ 31-48, 26 July 2007. The steps taken by the authorities in respect of the applicant’s brother within the framework of the criminal case may be summarised as follows.

136. On several occasions in August 2000 the applicant complained to various law-enforcement agencies about his brother’s abduction during the special operation. On 18 September and 28 October 2000 the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office criticised the ROVD for failing to open a search file in connection with the abduction.

137. On 18 September 2000 the ROVD refused to initiate criminal proceedings in connection with the discovery on 13 September 2000 of four male corpses on the outskirts of Gekhi.

138. On 27 September and 21 December 2000 the military prosecutor’s office of military unit no. 20102 denied any involvement by servicemen in the abduction.

139. On 16 October 2000 the applicant yet again requested that the Chechnya military prosecutor open a criminal case to investigate the abduction. He submitted to the Court that officer Yefimenko had informed him that the police had handed Mr Aldan Eldarov over to servicemen of the 245th mechanised infantry regiment of the Ministry of Defence under the command of General Nedobitko. It is unclear whether this information was examined by the authorities.

140. On 18 October 2000 the district prosecutor’s office quashed the ROVD’s decision of 18 September 2000 and opened criminal case no. 24047 in connection with the discovery of the bodies. Subsequently the bodies were referred to in the case file as being those of Mr A. Musayev, Mr U. Musayev, Mr R. Lorsanukayev and Mr R. Abukhadzhiyev. No official identification was carried out.

141. On 21 April 2005 the applicant was informed that the investigation had been resumed. From the documents submitted it appears that prior to that date he was not informed as to the progress of the proceedings and that the first applicant in the case of Musayeva and Others, cited above, was the only victim in the criminal case to whom the authorities provided information on the progress of the proceedings from time to time.

142. On 1 October 2005 the applicant was informed that the investigation of the criminal case had again been resumed, and then on 31 October 2005 he was informed that the investigation had been suspended.

143. From the documents submitted it appears that at some point between October and December 2005 the authorities concluded that four residents had been abducted as a result of the special operation: Mr A. Musayev, Mr U. Musayev, Mr R. Lorsanukayev and the applicant’s brother Mr Aldan Eldarov, and that a Mr R. Abukhadzhiyev had been killed when resisting arrest during the special operation. The four bodies discovered in September 2000 were those of Mr A. Musayev, Mr U. Musayev, Mr R. Lorsanukayev and an unidentified person.

144. On 18 August 2006 the applicant was informed that the investigation had been resumed. Then on 18 September 2006 he was informed that it had been suspended.

145. Between November 2007 and July 2008 the investigation was resumed and suspended on several occasions. The applicant was not informed thereof.

146. On 2 June 2008 the investigation was again resumed and on 23 June 2008 the investigating authorities prepared a plan of operational search measures to be taken in the criminal case. The plan concerned primarily the investigation into the Musayev brothers’ abduction and their subsequent killing and made no mention of a search for Mr Aldan Eldarov.

147. On 18 August 2008 the investigators were instructed by the supervisory prosecutor to take a number of steps in respect of the applicant’s brother.

148. In August 2008 the investigators received a reply to their request for information from the Central Archives of the Internal Troops of the Russian Ministry of the Interior, according to which any information pertaining to the special operation in Gekhi in August 2000 and the possible arrest of Mr Aldan Eldarov and the other residents of the village was classified as a State secret.

149. On 16 September 2008 the investigation was again suspended and then resumed on 20 October 2008, then again suspended on 20 November 2008. The applicant was not informed thereof.

150. On various dates in 2008 and 2009 the investigators questioned a number of local residents who confirmed that a special operation had been conducted in Gekhi between 8 and 10 August 2000. No information pertinent to the whereabouts of Mr Aldan Eldarov was received.

151. According to the information received by the investigators, Mr Aldan Eldarov had not been arrested or detained on State premises.

152. On 27 January and 30 April 2009 the applicant requested that the Chechnya Prosecutor’s Office inform him of the progress of the investigation and resume it if it had been suspended.

153. On 5 May 2009 the investigators agreed to provide the applicant with copies of a few procedural decisions.

154. The investigation was again suspended and resumed on a number of occasions. The last suspension took place on 16 December 2009. The criminal proceedings are still pending

6. Application no. 47770/09, Usumovy v. Russia

155. The applicants are:

(1) Ms Malika Usumova, who was born in 1960,

(2) Ms Aminat Usumova, who was born in 1985,

(3) Mr Zaur Usumov, who was born in 1988,

(4) Mr Zurab Usumov, who was born in 1994, and

(5) Ms Laura Usumova, who was born in 1993.

The applicants live in Kurchaloy, Kurchaloy district, the Chechen Republic. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from Memorial Human Rights Centre.

156. The first applicant is the wife of Mr Moul Usumov, who was born in 1960; the other applicants are his children.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relative

157. At the material time Mr Moul Usumov worked at the Kurchaloy FSB. The Kurchaloy district military commander’s office and the Kurchaloy FSB were situated on the eastern outskirts of Kurchaloy, close to the 33rd regiment (33 бригада) of the Russian armed forces stationed at the premises of the State Road Construction Department (дорожно-ремонтно-строительное управление, ДРСУ).

158. On 30 June 2001, at 3.30 a.m., a group of fifteen to twenty armed servicemen in camouflage uniforms with dogs cordoned off the applicants’ neighbourhood using APC no. L119 (Л119), a UAZ car and two Ural lorries. Seven servicemen broke into the applicants’ house and ordered the applicants in unaccented Russian to lie down on the floor. After searching the premises, the servicemen took away money, a number of valuables and Mr Moul Usumov’s military service card. One of the servicemen hit him with his rifle butt, demanding that he spell out his name. Then the servicemen handcuffed Mr Moul Usumov, took him outside, put him in the APC and drove away.

159. The first applicant and a relative, Mr Sheykhi Usumov, followed the APC and the other vehicles and saw them entering the premises of the 33rd regiment. The applicant also saw other Kurchaloy residents driving towards the regiment. She learnt that seven other men had been arrested that day.

160. Later on the same day the Kurchaloy district military commander and the head of the Kurchaloy FSB, Mr Viktor Ivanovich, agreed to talk to the first applicant and seven other women. The military commander acknowledged that the servicemen of the 33rd regiment had arrested their relatives but denied the involvement of his subordinates in the abduction. The head of the FSB told the first applicant: “It comes as a shock to me to hear that Mr Moul Usumov has been arrested. He is one of us. Don’t worry, he will be released by 4 p.m.” He replied to the other women: “You should have cried earlier, not now. Your sons are up to their necks in blood and they will be held liable.” Mr Moul Usumov was not released on that day.

161. On 1 July 2001 the head of the FSB informed the first applicant that the servicemen of the 33rd regiment could detain Mr Moul Usumov for up to ten days. He asked the applicant to bring some clothes for her husband. However, a day later, the officer told her that he could not help her as superior power structures had taken charge of Mr Moul Usumov. The applicant was no longer allowed to talk to him.

162. Sometime later the deputy military commander informed the applicants that Mr Moul Usumov had been released between 15 and 18 July 2001 along with the seven other detainees. Those individuals later confirmed that they had been detained together with Mr Moul Usumov but that he had not been released with them.

163. The applicants have not seen Mr Moul Usumov since 30 June 2001.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

164. On various dates in July 2001 and 2002 the investigators questioned the applicants, Mr Sheykhi Usumov, the applicants’ relatives and a number of other residents of Kurchaloy whose relatives had been abducted on the same date. The witnesses provided similar detailed accounts of the abduction and consistently stated that their relatives, including Mr Moul Usumov, had been detained by military servicemen during a security operation. They provided detailed descriptions of the abductors’ vehicles and related the details of their conversations with the military commander, who had promised to release their relatives.

165. On 18 and 27 July 2001 the investigators questioned four military officers from military unit no. 3526, all of whom confirmed that as a result of the special operation in Kurchaloy eight men had been detained and taken to military unit no. 3526. From there the detainees had been taken elsewhere by helicopter.

166. Between 5 and 19 December 2001 the investigators questioned seven police officers who had participated in the special operation in Kurchaloy. All of them stated that they had participated in the operation, visited and searched the houses of local residents and taken several local residents to the premises of military unit no. 3526 and left them there.

167. On 27 March 2002 the investigators questioned the deputy commander of military unit no. 12016, officer S.V., who confirmed that on 30 June 2001 a special operation had been carried out in Kurchaloy and that as a result of that operation several men had been detained and taken to the premises of military unit no. 3526.

168. On 28 May 2002 the investigators questioned the deputy head of the headquarters of military unit no. 12016, colonel K.I., who stated that private V.Z. had used physical force against Mr Moul Usumov and the other men detained as a result of the special operation on 30 June 2001; the private had been killed on 8 July 2001.

169. On various dates in 2001 and 2002 and then in 2009 the investigators questioned a number of servicemen, whose statements may be summarised as follows: they confirmed the fact of the special operation and the detention of the local residents, including the applicants’ relative, but they had no information as to their subsequent whereabouts.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

170. On 9 July 2001 the Argun district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 39038. In the documents submitted this case was also referred to under no. 14/00/0020-01D and no. 34/33/0406-01D.

171. On 20 July 2001 the military prosecutor of military unit no. 20102 in Khankala took over the investigation. The applicant was informed thereof on 16 April 2004.

172. On 27 July 2001 the investigators examined the crime scene at the dugout situated on the premises of military unit no. 12016, where eight residents of Kurchaloy had been detained after their apprehension on 30 June 2001.

173. On 17 December 2001 the investigators received information from the military counterintelligence unit of the Russian FSB that Mr Moul Usumov, as well as five other persons detained “during the same special operation of 30 June 2001” in Kurchaloy, had been involved in illegal armed groups.

174. On 7 June 2004 the military prosecutor’s office of military unit no. 20102 denied the involvement of servicemen in the abduction.

175. On 20 June 2004 the military prosecutor’s office of the North Caucasus military command informed the applicants of the following:

“During the investigation of criminal case no. 14/00/0020-01D …, it has been established that Mr Moul Usumov was among the persons arrested by servicemen of the first united squadron (первый сводный отряд) on suspicion of involvement in illegal armed groups. The servicemen took the arrested men in APCs to a heliport, and then they took them by helicopter to the squadron’s premises in the Novogroznenskiy settlement. The servicemen then placed the arrested men in an empty engineering warehouse and kept them there until 15-17 July 2001. Since the arrested men’s involvement in illegal armed groups had not been confirmed, between 15 and 17 July 2001 they were released and driven to the Gudermes district. All the arrested men, except Mr Moul Usumov, returned home. Although it was confirmed that the federal servicemen had released Mr Moul Usumov, it has been impossible to establish his whereabouts. On 8 July 2002 the criminal investigation opened in connection with the abduction of the Kurchaloy residents was terminated on the grounds of the death of the suspect …”

176. From the documents submitted it appears that no investigative steps were taken in the criminal case between July 2004 and December 2008. Meanwhile, on 3 November 2006, 3 March 2008, 20 August 2008 and 1 November 2008 the first applicant wrote to the Kurchaloy district prosecutor’s office and the military prosecutor’s office of military unit no. 20102, asking them to inform her of the progress of the investigation and grant her victim status in the criminal case.

177. On 27 January 2009 the investigation in case no. 14/00/0020‑01D in connection with Mr Moul Usumov’s abduction was resumed. On an unspecified date in 2009 the first applicant was granted victim status.

178. On 2 March 2009 the investigations committee of the Prosecutor General’s office at the Znamenskiy Garrison of the Strategic Missile Troops (Ракетные войска стратегического назначения) suspended the investigation in case no. 34/33/0406‑01D and discontinued the part of the criminal proceedings concerning the involvement of officer Mr Yu.K.. In so far as relevant, the decision stated as follows:

“On 30 June 2001, as a result of a special operation conducted by servicemen of the Kurchaloy military commander’s office under the supervision of Colonel V.I. Pelishchenko, servicemen arrested Mr Moul Usumov [and seven other men] and took them to the premises of the first united squadron stationed at military unit no. 12106 in Novogroznenskiy. Following the orders of Mr Yu.K., the squadron commander, and Mr V.M., the deputy commander of the United Group Alignment (“the UGA”) for special operations, the servicemen placed the arrested men in pits. Mr Yu.K. cannot be held responsible … since he acted on the orders of Mr V.M. and in the context of counter-terrorist operations in the North Caucasus aimed at the identification of members of illegal armed groups which were conducted by power structures legally authorised to carry out investigative search measures in Chechnya, namely the Special Early Response Unit (Специальный отряд быстрого реагирования, СОБР) of the East-Siberian Anti-Organised Crime Department (РУБОП) and the special purpose unit of the Federal Service for the Execution of Sentences (ГУИН) at the Ministry of Justice. Moreover, on 9 July 2002 the criminal proceedings brought against Mr V.M. on suspicion of abuse of authority … were terminated for lack of corpus delicti.”

179. On 2 March and 3 April 2009 the investigator informed the applicants of the decision of 2 March 2009.

180. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

7. Application no. 54728/09, Tamayev v. Russia

181. The applicant is Mr Ovkhad Tamayev, who was born in 1940 and lives in Roshni-Chu, Urus‑Martan District, the Chechen Republic. He is represented before the Court by Mr Suleyman Visengereyev, a lawyer practising in Moscow.

182. The applicant is the father of Mr Akhdan Tamayev, who was born in 1972.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicant’s son

183. At the material time Mr Akhdan Tamayev lived with his family and the applicant in the settlement of Roshni-Chu. The settlement was under curfew. According to the documents he submitted, between 4 and 6 January 2001 Russian servicemen conducted a sweeping-up operation in Roshni‑Chu. The operation’s head office was stationed on the outskirts of the settlement.

184. On 6 January 2001, at around 9 a.m., the applicant went to the local administration, taking Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s passport with him. Meanwhile, a group of servicemen arrived at the applicant’s house and took Mr Akhdan Tamayev with them because he had failed to show his passport. They put him in a GAZ-66 lorry and drove to the outskirts of Roshni Chu.

185. The abduction took place in the presence of Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s wife, who immediately ran to the local administration, where she found the applicant and told him about the events. When the applicant returned home, Akhdan was not there. The house was surrounded by servicemen armed with machine guns, accompanied by the head of the administration, Mr Mamatsuyev. A serviceman took Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s passport and assured the applicant that his son would soon be released. Shortly thereafter, Mr G. Gadzhiyev, the military commander for the Urus-Martan district, and Mr Z. Kuryayev, the head of the Urus-Martan ROVD, arrived at the scene. They informed the applicant that Mr Akhdan Tamayev would be taken to the ROVD for an identity check and then released.

186. On the same day, the servicemen arrested two other residents, the brothers Mr Muslim Movkayev and Mr Alikhan Movkayev. After their release that evening, the brothers informed the applicant that Mr Akhdan Tamayev had been arrested with them. The servicemen had taken the three men to the town’s outskirts in the GAZ-66 lorry, kept them there until 5 p.m. and then taken them to the ROVD. At around 6 p.m. Mr Muslim Movkayev and Mr Alikhan Movhad been released, but Mr Akhdan Tamayev had remained at the police station.

187. On 7 January 2001 Mr Mamatsuyev told the applicant that he had gone to the ROVD, where he had been promised that Mr Akhdan Tamayev would be released at 10 a.m. on that day. However, he was not released.

188. On 5 February 2001 the applicant went to the police station. An officer informed him that Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s detention there had been officially registered and that he had been transferred to a department of the FSB.

189. The applicant has not seen Mr Akhdan Tamayev since 6 January 2001.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

190. Between 27 January and 15 February 2001, in April 2001 and between 23 July and 7 August 2003, the investigators questioned the applicant, Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s wife, Mr Muslim Movkayev and Mr Alikhan Movkayev, five neighbours and relatives, and six officers, namely Mr A.K., a police officer, officers V.N. and N.Su. of the Penza ROVD who were at the material time working at the Urus-Martan ROVD, Mr T., Mr Kuryayev who was the head of the police, and Mr Mamatsuyev. All the witnesses corroborated the applicant’s version of the events.

191. In particular, when questioned, the six officers acknowledged that Russian servicemen had conducted a sweeping-up operation on 6 January 2001. According to Mr Kuryayev, Colonel L. had been in charge of the operation. As a result of the operation three men had been taken to the ROVD but their detention had not been officially registered. After a call from the Urus-Martan FSB at around 5 p.m., four or five FSB officers had come to take Mr Akhdan Tamayev with them. The other two detainees had been released.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

192. On 10, 12, 15, 22, 25 and 26 January 2001 the applicant and his wife complained to various law-enforcement agencies about the abduction.

193. On 27 January 2001 the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 25014.

194. On 5 March 2001 the district prosecutor’s office decided to transfer the investigation to a military prosecutor’s office, given that servicemen had been involved in the abduction. Referring to witness statements, the decision stated that Mr Akhdan Tamayev had been arrested during a sweeping-up operation, and taken to the police station and then to the FSB.

195. On 24 March 2001 the military prosecutor’s office of military unit no. 20102 took over the investigation, assigning number 14/33/0168-01-D to the case file.

196. On 9 April 2001 the FSB military counter-intelligence unit of the North Caucasus Circuit denied having any information about Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s arrest and reported that their forces had not participated in the special operation of 6 January 2001.

197. On 27 April 2001 the investigation was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. The applicant was not informed thereof.

198. On 27 June 2001 the military prosecutor’s office of the North Caucasus military command transferred the investigation back to the district prosecutor’s office, as the involvement of FSB servicemen in the abduction had not been confirmed.

199. On 29 December 2001 the district prosecutor’s office took over and resumed the investigation.

200. On 6 January 2002 the Urus-Martan ROVD reported to the investigators that they had no information as to the identity of the servicemen who had been on duty at the ROVD on 6 January 2001, and that it was impossible to establish their whereabouts.

201. On 29 January 2002 the district prosecutor’s office refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the ROVD officers in connection with Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s abduction, as they had been “acting within the scope of their duties” in handing him over to the FSB officers. On the same date, the investigation was suspended. The applicant was not informed thereof.

202. Since that time the investigation has been resumed and suspended on numerous occasions. On several occasions supervising prosecutors criticised the progress of the proceedings, ordering the investigators to take a number of basic steps, such as questioning the ROVD officers, checking the reasons for the officials’ failure to register Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s detention at the police station, and verifying the theory of the involvement of FSB officers in the abduction. In particular, on 2 August 2004 the district prosecutor wrote to the Chief Military Prosecutor asking him to take disciplinary measures in respect of the military prosecutor of military unit no. 20102, who had failed to comply with his numerous requests to assist the investigation. The applicant was not informed as to the progress of the criminal proceedings.

203. On 9 and 23 August 2005 and 23 December 2006 the Urus-Martan district FSB denied having any knowledge of Mr Akhdan Tamayev’s arrest or his involvement in illegal armed groups, or any information as to the identity of the district FSB officers who had been on duty on 6 January 2001.

204. On 31 August 2006 the applicant’s wife, Ms A.T., requested that the investigators provide her with an update on the criminal proceedings. In reply, on 11 October 2006 the investigators informed the applicant and his wife that a search for their son, as well as a search for the perpetrators, was in progress.

205. On 11 and 26 August 2009 the applicant requested information on the progress of the investigation, asked to be granted victim status and requested permission to familiarise himself with the witness statements in the investigation file. On 26 August 2009 his request was granted and he was allowed to access certain documents from the investigation file.

206. On 12 September 2009 the investigation was suspended again. It is still pending.

8. Application no. 25511/10, Ibragimov and Others v. Russia

207. The applicants are:

(1) Mr Vakhita Ibragimov, who was born in 1960,

(2) Mr Ilyas Ibragimov, who was born in 1984,

(3) Ms Satsita Sakhabova, who was born in 1963,

(4) Ms Toita Sadulayeva, who was born in 1935,

(5) Ms Zara Aduzova, who was born in 1976,

(6) Mr Umar Sadulayev, who was born in 2002, and

(7) Mr Abdul-Vakhid Sadulayev who was born in 1957.

The first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth applicants live in Shali, Shali district, the Chechen Republic. The seventh applicant lives in Grozny, the Chechen Republic. The applicants are represented before the Court by lawyers from SRJI/Astreya.

208. The first and third applicants are the parents of Mr Islam Ibragimov, who was born in 1982; the second applicant is his brother. The fourth applicant is the mother of Mr Apti Sadulayev, who was born in 1976; the fifth applicant is his wife, the sixth applicant is his son and the seventh applicant is his brother.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relatives

209. At the material time Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev resided in two neighbouring houses in Shali with the applicants and their respective families.

210. On 17 January 2003, at 4 a.m., a group of armed and masked servicemen arrived at the applicants’ homes in seven APCs with obscured registration plates. They burst into the two houses, ordered everyone in unaccented Russian to lie down on the floor, and checked the identity documents of Mr Islam Ibragimov, Mr Apti Sadulayev and the first applicant. Then the servicemen took them outside, along with the second applicant and Mr Apti Sadulayev’s cousin, Mr Rashid Sadulayev, forced them into an APC, pulling their T-shirts over their heads, and drove away. Three wooden ammunition boxes dropped off one of the APCs. One of the servicemen told the third applicant to look for their relatives at the ROVD. After the abductors’ departure the applicants found, along with the ammunition boxes, several pieces of fog light glass from one of the APCs.

211. At first, Mr Islam Ibragimov and the first and second applicants were placed in the same APC, together with Mr Apti Sadulayev and Mr Rashid Sadulayev. After about twenty-five minutes the servicemen pulled over, took the arrested men outside, made them lie down on the ground, then put them back in the APC, save for the second applicant, who was put in another APC, which continued to drive. The servicemen drove the second applicant to Tsotsy-Yurt (also spelled as Tsotsan-Yurt) and released him. As to the other four arrested men, their APC pulled over again and the men were put on the ground, asked to say their names and then placed in a wagon. Forty minutes later the servicemen put Mr Rashid Sadulayev and the first applicant in a Ural lorry and drove away. After about thirty minutes the two men arrived at a garage-like building where they were kept until 18 January 2003. According to the applicants, the two men must have been detained in a windmill in Staryie Atagi, which was used as a filtering point by Russian servicemen (see the case of Arzu Akhmadova and Others v. Russia, no. 13670/03, § 195, 8 January 2009 concerning detention in the mill). After that, the men were taken in an APC to the vicinity of the town of Argun and released.

212. In the days following the abduction, the applicants and their relatives and neighbours contacted various authorities. In particular, in Khankala the applicants’ relative Mr Khasin Abkayev met with Generals Said-Selim Tsuyev and Ibragim Suleymanov, both of whom promised their assistance in the release of the abducted men, and Generals Abrashin and Pospelov, who said that the matter was not within their competence. Further, another of the applicants’ relatives, Mr Bachal Baysuyev, talked to the Chechen President Akhmed-Khadzhi Kadyrov and to General Makarov, both of whom promised to help solve the matter within a week but failed to do so. According to officials, a criminal investigation had been opened against Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev and both of them were being questioned by the prosecuting authorities. Mr Fedorov, the Shali military commander, confirmed this on local television, adding that they were safe and sound. The applicants did not manage to obtain a recording of the television programme.

213. The applicants have not seen Mr Islam Ibragimov or Mr Apti Sadulayev since 17 January 2003.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

214. On 30 January 2003 the investigators questioned the second applicant, who provided a detailed description of the abduction. In particular, he stated that he had been abducted along with a number of his relatives, taken away in an APC and then released near to Tsotsi-Yurt.

215. On the same date, the investigators granted the fourth applicant victim status and questioned her. She described in detail the circumstances of her son’s abduction. In particular, she stated that the abductors had taken her son away in an APC and that a number of other local residents had been abducted by the same group on the same night.

216. On 31 January 2003 the investigators granted victim status to the first applicant and questioned him. He provided a detailed description of the abduction. In particular, he stated that he had been placed in the same APC as his two sons, Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Ilyas Ibragimov, and that he had been taken to a building where he had spent about twenty-four hours, with his t-shirt pulled over his head and next to Mr Rashid Sadulayev, whom he had been able to identify by his voice. Both of them had been released somewhere near to Argun.

217. On 21 October 2006 the investigators again questioned the first applicant, who described in detail the circumstances surrounding the abduction. In particular, he stated that at first he had been taken by the abductors to the premises of checkpoint no. 112 manned by a Special Police Task Force from the Primorskiy region, and then to a garage for more than one day, where he had been handcuffed and questioned about members of illegal armed groups.

218. On various dates in October 2006 the investigators questioned five of the applicants’ relatives, who gave statements similar to the ones given by the applicants in 2003.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

219. On an unspecified date the head of the Shali district administration stated that Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev had been “driven away in the direction of Khankala by unidentified servicemen in seven APCs, a UAZ car and other vehicles”.

220. On 17 January 2003 investigators from the Shali district prosecutor’s office (“the district prosecutor’s office”) examined the crime scene, questioned the eyewitnesses and collected the three wooden ammunition boxes and the pieces of fog light glass left behind by the perpetrators. The applicants believed that an expert evaluation would enable the identification of the power structure to which the servicemen and their vehicles belonged. No such evaluation was ordered or carried out.

221. On 27 January 2003 the district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 22017 in connection with the abduction of Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev “by federal forces servicemen who were armed with machine guns”. On 30 and 31 January 2003 respectively the fourth and the first applicants were granted victim status.

222. On 22 April 2004 the military prosecutor’s office of military unit no. 20116 informed the applicants that no servicemen under their supervision had either conducted special operations or arrested or taken anyone to a law-enforcement agency.

223. On 4 September 2003 the first and fourth applicants wrote to the investigation team stating that they had been informed by the Shali military commander, who had himself been informed by General Pospelov, that after the abduction their sons had been taken to the headquarters of the Russian federal forces in Khankala, Chechnya. At some later point General Pospelov denied having provided that information to the Shali military commander and told the applicants that the information “was not verified”. The investigators took no further steps to verify that information.

224. On 2 November 2006 the Shali ROVD informed the applicants that they were taking a number of investigative steps, including forwarding information requests to power structures in Chechnya, examining unidentified bodies against the ROVD’s databases and checking the details of admissions to hospitals in the Shali district.

225. The investigation was suspended and resumed on several occasions, without producing any tangible results. The last suspension took place on 22 October 2006. The applicants were not informed thereof.

226. On 9 October 2008 the first and the fourth applicants requested permission to access the investigation file. On 18 October and 21 November 2008 respectively the request was granted in part and they were allowed to make copies of the decisions opening and suspending the criminal investigation and granting victim status.

227. On an unspecified date in September 2009 the first applicant again requested permission to access the investigation file, but to no avail.

228. On 26 January 2010 the applicants’ representatives wrote to the investigator, asking him to inform them of the progress of the investigation. No reply was given.

229. On 20 March 2010 the applicants were informed that the Chechnya Investigations Committee had taken over the investigation of the criminal case.

230. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

9. Application no. 32791/10, Anayeva and Elmurzayeva v. Russia

231. The applicants are Ms Malkan Anayeva, who was born in 1959, and Ms Rayana Elmurzayeva, who was born in 2002. They live in Stariye Atagi, Grozny district, the Chechen Republic. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from SRJI/Astreya.

232. The first applicant is the mother of Mr Ziyavdi (also referred to as Ziyavdin) Elmurzayev, who was born in 1979; the second applicant is his daughter.

(a) Events surrounding the abduction of the applicants’ relative

233. At the material time the applicants resided in Stariye Atagi with their family, including Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev and Mr Zayndi Elmurzayev, the first applicant’s husband.

234. On 21 April 2002, at around 7.30 a.m., a group of about fifty or sixty armed servicemen in camouflage uniforms arrived at the applicants’ house in APC no. 422 BB and two armoured infantry combat vehicles nos. 344 and 346. They were of Slavic appearance and spoke unaccented Russian. The servicemen broke into the house, arrested Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev and Mr Zayndi Elmurzayev, dragged them outside, put them in the APC and departed towards the outskirts of Stariye Atagi. After about a hundred metres they had to let Mr Zayndi Elmurzayev go as he was having a stroke. Then the servicemen continued driving until they arrived at a windmill on the outskirts of Stariye Atagi where a Russian military unit was stationed.

235. The applicants and their relatives and neighbours followed the servicemen. When they approached the windmill, they saw the three abductors’ vehicles parked on the premises of the military unit. When the servicemen’s noticed the visitors they obscured the registration plates with mud. The deputy head of the Stariye Atagi administration was refused permission to enter the premises.

236. At around 3 p.m. on the same day servicemen left the military unit in two APCs, one of which had registration number 422 BB, a white VAZ‑2106 car and a khaki UAZ “tabletka” minivan with blackened windows. They drove in the direction of Grozny. The applicants have not seen Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev since his abduction on 21 April 2002.

(b) Official investigation into the abduction

(i) Main witness statements taken by the investigation

237. On 30 April 2002 the investigators questioned the first applicant and her husband Mr Zayndi Elmurzayev, both of whom provided a detailed description of the abduction similar to the one furnished to the Court. In particular, they stated that the abductors had ordered the head of the village administration to come to the local police station to pick up Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev, and that the abductors had taken their son away in an APC registration number 422 BB and two armoured infantry combat vehicles nos. 344 and 346.

238. On 2 May 2002 the investigators questioned the applicant’s relative Mr A.E., whose statement concerning the abduction was similar to the one given by the first applicant and her husband. In addition, he stated that when he had arrived at the police station with the relatives and the head of the administration, Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev had not been there. On 26 April 2002 he had spoken with the local journalist Mr R.T., who had given him a copy of a report by the regional headquarters of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus covering 21 and 22 April 2002. The witness furnished the investigators with the document; its text included the following:

“An active member of illegal armed groups, Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev (call name “Bayram”) was eliminated resisting [arrest]. According to the available information, he was a member of the illegal armed unit of Mr M. Sadayev, which belonged to the illegal armed group of Khattab”.

239. On 15 January 2007 the investigators questioned the applicants’ neighbours, Ms L.B. and Mr M.B., both of whom stated that they had learnt in 2002 of Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev’s abduction by federal servicemen from fellow villagers, and that prior to the abduction Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev had been suspected of illegal activities.

(ii) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities

240. On 29 April 2002 the Grozny district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 56060.

241. On 30 April 2002 the investigation requested that the military authorities inform them of any special operations conducted on 21 April 2002 in Stariye Atagi. According to the replies, no such operations were carried out.

242. On 22 June 2002 the FSB denied the involvement of Chechnya FSB officers in the abduction.

243. On 29 June 2002 the investigation of the criminal case was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. The applicants were not informed thereof.

244. By a letter of 13 July 2002 the head of the criminal investigations department at the Chechnya Prosecutor’s Office informed the applicants that Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev was alive and was serving a sentence. However, at some later point an officer from the prosecutor’s office told the applicants that the letter had been sent to them by mistake. The applicants did not keep a copy of the letter.

245. On 23 July 2002 the district prosecutor’s office stated that “… Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev was abducted by federal servicemen, who put him in APC no. 422 BB, and, accompanied by two infantry combat vehicles, nos. 344 and 346, took him to the windmill near to Stariye Atagi. After that, the same servicemen departed in the direction of Grozny in two APCs, one of which was APC no. 442, a white VAZ-2106 and a khaki UAZ “tabletka”.

246. On 30 April 2003 the investigation of the criminal case was resumed. The applicants were informed thereof on 25 May 2003.

247. On 20 June 2003 the investigation was again suspended. The applicants were informed that the investigation had been suspended but the police were taking operational search measures to identify the perpetrators. It appears that no investigative steps were taken until 18 December 2006, when the investigation was resumed and the applicants were informed thereof.

248. On 12 January 2007 the first applicant’s husband was granted victim status in the criminal case.

249. On 18 January 2007 the investigation of the criminal case was again suspended and the applicants were informed thereof.

250. In the autumn of 2007 the Grozny Investigations Department took over the investigation. The applicants were informed thereof on 17 March 2010.

251. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE AND INTERNATIONAL MATERIALS

252. For a summary of the relevant domestic law and practice and for international and domestic reports on disappearances in Chechnya and Ingushetia, see Aslakhanova and Others v. Russia, (nos. 2944/06, 8300/07, 50184/07, 332/08 and 42509/10, §§ 43‑59 and §§ 69-84, 18 December 2012).

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

253. In accordance with Rule 42 § 1 of the Rules of Court, the Court decides to join the applications, given their similar factual and legal background.

II. THE GOVERNMENT’S PRELIMINARY OBJECTION

A. The parties’ submissions

1. The Government

254. In their observations in respect of all the applications, referring to Varnava and Others v. Turkey [GC], nos. 16064/90, 16065/90, 16066/90, 16068/90, 16069/90, 16070/90, 16071/90, 16072/90 and 16073/90, § 165, ECHR 2009, the Government contended that they had been lodged belatedly, with unjustified and excessive delays. They referred to the fact that in some of the applications, such as Eldarov (no. 36354/09) and Tamayev (no. 54728/09), the investigations had been pending for almost nine years when the applicants applied to Strasbourg.

255. Further, the Government submitted that compliance with the six‑month rule should be assessed on the basis of the date of the latest documents furnished by the applicants to the Court. Therefore, in the applications Sultanova and Others (no. 21133/09), Ibragimov and Others (no. 25511/10) and Anayeva and Elmursayeva (no. 32791/10) the applicants had failed to comply with the time-limit.

256. The Government further noted that the ongoing criminal investigations into the disappearances complied with the Convention requirements as the applicants’ belated applications showed that they must have perceived the investigations as effective if they had waited a number of years before complaining to the Court.

2. The applicants

257. The applicants in all the cases argued that they had complied with the six-month time-limit. Referring to the Varnava case, they stated that there had not been excessive or unjustified delays in applying to the Court: the investigations were still in progress and they had hoped for several years that they would produce results as the key circumstances of the abductions had not been elucidated. For instance, in the application Eldarov (no. 36354/09), the applicant, referring to the case of Musayeva and Others v. Russia, cited above, pointed out that the circumstances of the officially acknowledged special operation had not been elucidated in spite of the fact that the authorities were aware who had been in charge of it. Further, the armed conflict in Chechnya had led the applicants to believe that delays in the investigations were inevitable. In addition their poor command of Russian and their lack of legal knowledge concerning domestic and Convention standards of investigation, along with the absence of financial means to hire a lawyer, had precluded them from assessing the effectiveness of the investigation at its earlier stages. They also referred to the absence of domestic provision of free legal assistance to victims of enforced disappearances. In sum, the applicants had lodged their applications with the Court only after they had realised that the investigations were ineffective.

258. Further referring to the Varnava case, the applicants stated that the violations alleged by them were of a continuing nature, so the six-month rule did not apply. For instance, in the case of Dzhabrailov (no. 8620/09) the applicant stated, with reference to, inter alia, Tashukhadzhiyev v. Russia (no. 33251/04, 25 October 2011), that the procedural obligation continued until the fate of the disappeared had been established. The applicants submitted that they had done their best to maintain contact with the authorities prior to complaining to the Court and invited it to assess their compliance with the time-limit in the context of the particular circumstances of disappearances in Chechnya, which had already been addressed by the Court in its case-law.

259. As to the alleged failure to exhaust domestic remedies, all the applicants, referring to the Court’s case-law, submitted that the only remedy in their cases – a criminal investigation into the abduction of their relatives – had proved to be ineffective.

B. The Court’s assessment

1. Compliance with the six-month rule

(a) General principles

260. The Court reiterates that the purpose of the six-month rule is to promote legal certainty, to ensure that cases are dealt with within a reasonable time and to protect the parties from uncertainty for a prolonged period of time. The rule also provides the opportunity to ascertain the facts of the case before memory of them fades away with time (see Abuyeva and Others v. Russia, no. 27065/05, § 175, 2 December 2010).

261. Normally, the six-month period runs from the final decision in the process of exhaustion of domestic remedies. In the absence of a final decision, the period runs from the date of the acts or measures complained of. Where an applicant avails himself of an existing remedy and only subsequently becomes aware of circumstances which render the remedy ineffective, the six-month time-limit is calculated from the date when the applicant first became, or ought to have become, aware of those circumstances (see, among others, Zenin v. Russia (dec.), no. 15413/03, 24 September 2009).

262. Further, as to the calculation of the time-limit from the date when the applicants became, or should have become, aware of the circumstances rendering the domestic remedy ineffective, the Court notes the following.

In cases concerning disappearances the Court has held that, taking into account the uncertainty and confusion typical of such situations, the nature of the ensuing investigations implies that the relatives of a disappeared person may be justified in waiting lengthy periods of time for the national authorities to conclude their proceedings, even if the latter are sporadic and plagued by problems. However, where more than ten years have elapsed since the incident, the applicants must justify the delay in lodging their application with the Court (see Varnava, cited above, §§ 162‑63).

263. Applying the Varnava principles, the Court recently found in the case of Er and Others v. Turkey (no. 23016/04, §§ 55-58, 31 July 2012) that the applicants, who had waited for a period of almost ten years after the disappearance of their relative before lodging their application, had complied with the six-month rule because an investigation was being conducted at the national level. The Court reached a similar conclusion in another case, where the domestic investigation into the events had been pending for more than eight years and where the applicants were doing all that could be expected of them to assist the authorities (see BozkĹr and Others v. Turkey, no. 24589/04, § 49, 26 February 2013).

264. By contrast, the Court has declared inadmissible applications where the applicants waited more than ten years to lodge their applications with the Court, and where there had for a long time been no elements enabling them to believe that the investigation would be effective. For instance, in the case of Yetişen and Others v. Turkey ((dec.), no. 21099/06, 10 July 2012) the applicants waited four years after the disappearance before lodging an official complaint with the competent investigating authorities and eleven and a half years before bringing their application to Strasbourg; in the case of Findik and Omer v. Turkey ((decs.), nos. 33898/11 and 35798/11, 9 October 2012), the applications were brought to Strasbourg more than fifteen years after the events; and in the case of Taşçi and Duman v. Turkey ((dec.), no. 40787/10, 9 October 2012), the applicants applied to Strasbourg twenty-three years after the disapperance. In those cases, as in the case of Açış v. Turkey (no. 7050/05, §§ 41-42, 1 February 2011), where the applicants complained to Strasbourg more than twelve years after the disappearance, the Court rejected their complaints under Article 2 of the Convention as out of time for failure to demonstrate any concrete advance in the domestic investigation to justify their delay for more than ten years.

(b) Application of the principles to the present case

265. As to the Government’s argument that the applicants’ compliance with the six-month rule should be assessed on the basis of the date of the latest documents furnished by them to the Court (see paragraph 255 above), the Court notes that none of the applications at hand contained a final domestic decision. Moreover, the Government stated that the investigation of each disappearance was still in progress. In such circumstances, the Court does not find it acceptable to calculate the time-limit on the basis of the date of the latest document furnished in each application.

266. As to the Government’s argument concerning the alleged delays in submitting the applications, the Court notes that the criminal investigation in each case was pending when the applicants lodged their complaints with the Court and that in each case the application was lodged within ten years of the abduction. Further, the Court notes that in five of the applications –Dzhabrailov and Others (no. 8620/09), Suleymanova and Others (no. 11674/09), Chankayevy (no. 16488/09), Sultanova and Others (no. 21133/09) and Ibragimov (no. 25511/10) – the applicants complained to the authorities shortly after the abductions and introduced their applications with the Court within periods ranging from about four to approximately seven years after the events. From the documents submitted it appears that they maintained contact with the authorities by providing the investigators with eyewitness evidence, requesting information and asking for permission to access the investigation files.

267. As to the other four applications, in which the applicants applied to Strasbourg after a longer period of time, ranging from the beginning of the domestic investigation to eight and almost nine years after the events, the Court notes the following (see Kaykharova and Others v. Russia, nos. 11554/07, 7862/08, 56745/08 and 61274/09, §§ 128-33, 1 August 2013). In the case of Eldarov (no. 36354/09), the abduction took place in August 2000; the applicant lodged his complaint shortly after the events and in December 2000 he was granted victim status in the criminal case. According to the applicant, he was informed by the authorities of the initial procedural decisions taken by the investigation and had faith in the proceedings; in particular, he hoped that the complaint lodged with the Court in 2001 in the case of Musayeva and Others, cited above, which concerned the same criminal investigation, would spur the proceedings and lead to a tangible outcome. After giving another statement to the authorities in 2005, it was not until January and April 2009, when he requested information on the progress of the criminal case, that he realised that the proceedings were ineffective and, consequently, lodged his application with the Court in June 2009. The Court considers in the circumstances of this particular case that the applicant’s expectations concerning the domestic investigation in view of the outcome of the examination of the case of Musayeva and Others by the Court suffice to explain the nine-year delay.

268. Turning to the application of Usumovy (no. 47770/09), the Court notes that the abduction took place in June 2001 and the applicants informed the authorities about it immediately. From the documents submitted it appears that they maintained reasonable contact with the investigation, inquiring about the main steps being taken and hoping to obtain information on the progress of the proceedings (see, for example, paragraphs 175 and 176 above). It was only in September 2009, upon learning that the investigation had been discontinued in respect of the prime suspect, that they lodged their application with the Court.

269. As to the application of Tamayev (no. 54728/09), the Court notes that the applicant informed the authorities shortly after his son’s abduction in January 2001 and that subsequently, between 2001 and 2003, he provided the investigation with witness statements. Between 2003 and 2006 he was not informed of any progress in the proceedings, and then in October 2006, at his request, the authorities informed him that a search for his son and the perpetrators of the abduction was in progress (see paragraph 204 above). In August 2009, after having obtained information from the investigation file on the progress of the proceedings, the applicant lodged his complaint with the Court in September 2009.

270. Turning to the application of Anayeva and Elmurzayeva (no. 32791/10), the Court notes that the investigation was opened shortly after the abduction in April 2002 and that the applicants and their relatives gave statements to the authorities. Between 2002 and 2003 the applicants maintained contact with the authorities and then for almost three and half years the investigation was dormant (see paragraph 247 above); the applicants did not contact the authorities during this period. Then in January 2007 and March 2010 they were informed of the progress of the criminal proceedings (see paragraphs 249 and 250 above). In June 2010 they lodged their application with the Court.

271. Having examined all the applications, the Court finds that the conduct of each of the applicants in respect of the investigation was determined not by a perception that there was no effective remedy, but rather by their expectation that the authorities would, of their own motion, provide them with an adequate response in the face of their serious complaints. For their part, they furnished the investigating authorities with timely and sufficiently detailed accounts of their relatives’ abductions, assisted them with finding witnesses and other evidence, and fully cooperated in other ways. It was thus reasonable for them to expect further substantive developments from the investigations. It cannot be said that they failed to show the requisite diligence in waiting for the pending investigations to yield results (see, by contrast, Açış, cited above, §§ 41-42).

272. To sum up, all the applicants demonstrated that there were no unexplained delays in bringing their applications to the Court. They maintained reasonable contact with the authorities, cooperated with the investigation and, where appropriate, took steps to inform themselves of the progress of the proceedings and to speed them up, in the hope of a more effective outcome.

273. The Court considers that investigations were actually being conducted, albeit sporadically, during the periods in question and that the applicants did all that could be expected of them to assist the authorities (see Varnava and Others, cited above, § 166, and Er and Others, cited above, § 60). In the light of the foregoing, the Court dismisses the Government’s objection as to the admissibility of these complaints based on the six-month time-limit.

2. Exhaustion of domestic remedies

274. As regards criminal-law remedies, the Court observes that in a recent judgment it concluded that the ineffective investigation of disappearances that had occurred in Chechnya between 2000 and 2006 constituted a systemic problem and that criminal investigations were not an effective remedy in this regard (see Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, § 217).

275. In such circumstances, and noting the absence over the years of tangible progress in any of the criminal investigations into the abductions of the applicants’ relatives, the Court concludes that this objection must be dismissed, since the remedy relied on by the Government was not effective in the circumstances.

III. THE COURT’S ASSESSMENT OF THE EVIDENCE AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE FACTS

A. The parties’ submissions

1. The Government

276. The Government did not contest the essential facts underlying each application. At the same time, they claimed that the applicants’ allegations were based on assumptions as there was no evidence proving beyond reasonable doubt that State agents had been involved in the alleged abductions, or that the applicants’ relatives were dead.

2. The applicants

277. The applicants submitted that it had been established “beyond reasonable doubt” that the men who had taken away their relatives had been State agents. In support of that assertion they referred to the ample evidence contained in their submissions and the criminal investigation files, in so far as the latter had been disclosed by the Government. They also submitted that they had each made a prima facie case that their relatives had been abducted by State agents and that the essential facts underlying their complaints had not been challenged by the Government. In view of the absence of any news of their relatives for a long time and the life-threatening nature of unacknowledged detention in Chechnya at the relevant time, they asked the Court to consider their relatives dead.

B. The Court’s assessment

1. General principles

278. The Court will examine the applications at hand in the light of the general principles applicable in cases where the factual circumstances are in dispute between the parties (see El Masri v. “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” [GC], no. 39630/09, §§ 151-53, ECHR 2012).

279. The Court has addressed a whole series of cases concerning allegations of disappearances in the Chechen Republic. Applying the above‑mentioned principles, it has concluded that it is sufficient for the applicants to make a prima facie case of abduction by servicemen, showing that their relatives fell within the control of the authorities, and it is then for the Government to discharge their burden of proof either by disclosing the documents in their exclusive possession or by providing a satisfactory and convincing explanation of how the events in question occurred (see, among many examples, Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, § 99). If the Government fail to rebut that presumption, this will entail a violation of Article 2 of the Convention in its substantive part. Conversely, where applicants fail to make a prima facie case, the burden of proof cannot be reversed (see, for example, Tovsultanova v. Russia, no. 26974/06, §§ 77-81, 17 June 2010; Movsayevy v. Russia, no. 20303/07, § 76, 14 June 2011; and Shafiyeva v. Russia, no. 49379/09, § 71, 3 May 2012).

280. The Court has also found in many cases concerning disappearances in Chechnya that a missing person may be presumed dead. Having regard to the numerous cases of disappearance in the region which have come before it, the Court has found that in the particular context of the conflict in Chechnya, when a person has been detained by unidentified State agents without any subsequent acknowledgment of the detention, the situation can be regarded as life‑threatening (see, among many others, Bazorkina v. Russia, no. 69481/01, 27 July 2006; Luluyev and Others v. Russia, no. 69480/01, ECHR 2006‑VIII (extracts); Baysayeva v. Russia, no. 74237/01, 5 April 2007; Akhmadova and Sadulayeva v. Russia, no. 40464/02, 10 May 2007; Alikhadzhiyeva v. Russia, no. 68007/01, 5 July 2007; and Dubayev and Bersnukayeva v. Russia, nos. 30613/05 and 30615/05, 11 February 2010).

281. The Court has made findings of presumption of death in the absence of any reliable news about the disappeared persons for periods ranging from four years (see Askhabova v. Russia, no. 54765/09, § 137, 18 April 2013) to more than ten years.

2. Application of the above principles to the present case

(a) Application no. 8620/09, Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

282. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that their relative Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov was abducted from his home in Argun on 15 December 2001 by a group of servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 20, 28, 33 and 41 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relative was abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

283. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

284. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov was taken into custody by State agents on 15 December 2001. In view of the absence of any news of him since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov may be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention.

(b) Application no. 11674/09, Suleymanova and Others v. Russia

285. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that their three relatives Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov and Mr Anderbek Suleymanov were abducted from their homes in Gudermes on 29 October 2002 by a group servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 53-56 and 64 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relatives were abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

286. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

287. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov and Mr Anderbek Suleymanov were taken into custody by State agents on 29 October 2002. In view of the absence of any news of them since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov and Mr Anderbek Suleymanov may be presumed dead following their unacknowledged detention.

(c) Application no. 16488/09, Chankayevy v. Russia

288. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, demonstrate that their relatives Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev were abducted from their home in Urus-Martan on 19 September 2001 by a group of armed servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 81, 83 and 88 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relatives were abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

289. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

290. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev were taken into custody by State agents on 19 September 2001. In view of the absence of any news of them since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Ramzan Chankayev and Mr Aslan Chankayev may be presumed dead following their unacknowledged detention.

(d) Application no. 21133/09, Sultanova and Others v. Russia

291. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that their relative Mr Dzhamali Sultanov was abducted from his home in Samashki on 5 November 2004 by a group of servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 105 and 109 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relative was abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

292. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

293. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Dzhamali Sultanov was taken into custody by State agents on 5 November 2004. In view of the absence of any news of him since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Dzhamali Sultanov may be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention.

(e) Application no. 36354/09, Eldarov v. Russia

294. The witness statements collected by the applicant, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that his brother Mr Aldan Eldarov was abducted from his home in Gekhi on 8 or 9 August 2000 by a group servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 132-35 and 150 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicant has presented a prima facie case that his brother was abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by him.

295. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

296. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Aldan Eldarov was taken into custody by State agents on 8 or 9 August 2000. In view of the absence of any news of him since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Aldan Eldarov may be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention.

(f) Application no. 47770/09, Usumovy v. Russia

297. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that their relative Mr Moul Usumov was abducted from his home in Kurchaloy on 30 June 2001 by a group servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 164, 165, 167, 175 and 178 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relative was abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

298. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

299. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Moul Usumov was taken into custody by State agents on 30 June 2001. In view of the absence of any news of him since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Moul Usumov may be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention.

(g) Application no. 54728/09, Tamayev v. Russia

300. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicant, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that his son Mr Akhdan Tamayev was abducted from home on 6 January 2001 in Roshni-Chu by a group servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 190, 191, 194 and 201 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicant has presented a prima facie case that his son was abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by him.

301. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

302. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Akhdan Tamayev was taken into custody by State agents on 6 January 2001. In view of the absence of any news of him since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Akhdan Tamayev may be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention.

(h) Application no. 25511/09, Ibragimov and Others v. Russia

303. Numerous witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, demonstrate that their relatives Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev were abducted from their home in Shali on 17 January 2003 by a group of armed servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 214-17, 221 and 223 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relatives were abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

304. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

305. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev were taken into custody by State agents on 17 January 2003. In view of the absence of any news of them since that date and the life‑threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Islam Ibragimov and Mr Apti Sadulayev may be presumed dead following their unacknowledged detention.

(i) Application no. 32791/10, Anayeva and Elmurzayeva v. Russia

306. Several witness statements collected by the applicants, along with the documents from the investigation file furnished by the Government, confirm that their relative Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev was abducted from his home in Stariye Atagi on 21 April 2002 by a group of armed servicemen during a special operation (see, for example, paragraphs 237, 238 and 245 above). In view of all the materials in its possession, the Court finds that the applicants have presented a prima facie case that their relative was abducted by State agents in the circumstances set out by them.

307. The Government did not provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation for the events in question. Therefore, they failed to discharge their burden of proof.

308. Bearing in mind the general principles enumerated above, the Court finds that Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev was taken into custody by State agents on 21 April 2002. In view of the absence of any news of him since that date and the life-threatening nature of such detention (see paragraph 280 above), the Court also finds that Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev may be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention.

3. Conclusions

309. The Court finds that in all the cases presently before it the applicants’ relatives were abducted during security operations acknowleged to various extents by procedural documents in the criminal case files. In addition, the applicants’ allegations are supported by the witness statements collected by them and by the domestic investigations. In their submissions to the authorities the applicants maintained that their relatives had been abducted by State agents. The investigations accepted as fact the primary versions of events presented by the applicants and took steps to check whether State servicemen had been involved in the abductions.

310. In summary, the facts of all the applications contain sufficient evidence to enable the Court to make findings about the carrying out of security operations and thus about the State’s exclusive control over the detainees (see, among many others, Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, § 114). The Government’s arguments are in contradiction to the evidence reviewed by the Court and insufficient to discharge them of the burden of proof which has been shifted to them in such cases.

311. The detention in life-threatening circumstances of Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov, Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov, Mr Anderbek Suleymanov, Mr Ramzan Chankayev, Mr Aslan Chankayev, Mr Dzhamali Sultanov, Mr Aldan Eldarov, Mr Moul Usumov, Mr Akhdan Tamayev, Mr Islam Ibragimov, Mr Apti Sadulayev and Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev, together with the long absence of any news of them, leads the Court to conclude that they may be presumed dead.

IV. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 2 OF THE CONVENTION

312. The applicants complained, under Article 2 of the Convention, that their relatives had disappeared after having been detained by State agents and that the domestic authorities had failed to carry out effective investigations into the matter. Article 2 reads as follows:

“1. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:

(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;

(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;

(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.”

A. The parties’ submissions

313. The Government contended, on the one hand, that Article 2 of the Convention was not applicable to the applicants’ complaints concerning the disappearance of their relatives and that their complaints under this head must be examined under Article 5 of the Convention. To this end they referred to the case of Kurt v. Turkey (25 May 1998, §§ 101‑09, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1998‑III). On the other hand, they submitted that the complaints should be rejected as manifestly ill-founded, as the applicants had failed to substantiate their allegations before the Court. Further, the Government submitted that the domestic investigations had obtained no evidence that the applicants’ relatives had been held under State control, or that they were dead. They further noted that the mere fact that the investigative measures employed had not produced any specific results, or had yielded only limited results, did not mean that there had been any omissions on the part of the investigative authorities. They claimed that all necessary steps were being taken to comply with the obligation to conduct an effective investigation.

314. The applicants maintained their complaints.

B. The Court’s assessment

1. Admissibility

315. The Court considers, in the light of the parties’ submissions, that the complaints raise serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. It also decides to join to the merits the issue of the applicability of Article 2 of the Convention (see Khadayeva and Others v. Russia, no. 5351/04, § 114, 12 March 2009). The complaints under Article 2 of the Convention must therefore be declared admissible.

2. Merits

(a) Alleged violation of the right to life of the applicants’ relatives

316. The Court notes at the outset that it is undisputed by the parties that the whereabouts of the applicants’ relatives were unaccounted for periods ranging from about four to nine years, from the events to the lodging of the applications with the Court. The question arises whether Article 2 of the Convention is applicable to the situation of the applicants in the cases at hand.

317. The Court has previously held that Article 5 imposes an obligation on the State to account for the whereabouts of any person taken into detention and who has thus been placed under the control of the authorities (see Kurt v. Turkey, cited above, § 124). Whether a failure on the part of the authorities to provide a plausible explanation as to a detainee’s fate, in the absence of a body, might also raise issues under Article 2 of the Convention depends on all the circumstances of the case, and in particular on the existence of sufficient circumstantial evidence, based on concrete elements, from which it may be concluded to the requisite standard of proof that the detainee must be presumed to have died in custody (see Çakıcı v. Turkey [GC], no. 23657/94, § 85, ECHR 1999-IV, and Ertak v. Turkey, no. 20764/92, § 131, ECHR 2000-V).

318. In this connection, the Court notes that the Government denied that the applicants’ relatives had been detained by State agents or had been under the control of the authorities after their abduction. Therefore, the Government’s argument concerning the applicability of Article 5 of the Convention instead of Article 2 is inconsistent. However, leaving this aside and assuming that the applicants’ abducted relatives were under the control of State agents after their abduction, then the period of time having elapsed since the person was placed in detention is a relevant factor to be taken into account. It must be accepted that the more time that goes by without any news of the detained person, the greater the likelihood that he or she has died. The passage of time may, along with other elements of circumstantial evidence before the Court, provide grounds to conclude that the person concerned is to be presumed dead. The Court considers that such a situation gives rise to issues which go beyond a mere irregular detention in violation of Article 5. Such an interpretation is in keeping with the effective protection of the right to life afforded by Article 2, which ranks as one of the most fundamental provisions in the Convention (see, among other authorities, Çakıcı cited above, § 86, and Timurtaş v. Turkey, no. 23531/94, § 83, ECHR 2000‑VI). Accordingly, the Court finds that Article 2 of the Convention applies and that the Government’s objection in this regard should be rejected.

319. On the basis of the above, and noting that it has been already found in all the applications under examination that the applicants’ relatives may be presumed dead following their unacknowledged detention by State agents, the Court finds, in the absence of any justification put forward by the Government, that their deaths can be attributed to the State and that there has been a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention in respect of Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov, Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov, Mr Anderbek Suleymanov, Mr Ramzan Chankayev, Mr Aslan Chankayev, Mr Dzhamali Sultanov, Mr Aldan Eldarov, Mr Moul Usumov, Mr Akhdan Tamayev, Mr Islam Ibragimov, Mr Apti Sadulayev and Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev.

(b) Alleged inadequacy of the investigations into the abductions

320. The Court has already found that a criminal investigation does not constitute an effective remedy in respect of disappearances which occurred in Chechnya between 1999 and 2006, and that such a situation constitutes a systemic problem in Convention terms (see Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, § 217). In the cases at hand, as in many previous similar cases reviewed by the Court, the investigations have been pending for a number of years without bringing about any significant developments as to the identities of the perpetrators or the fate of the applicants’ missing relatives. While the obligation to investigate effectively is one of means and not of result, the Court notes that each set of criminal proceedings has been plagued by a combination of the same defects as those enumerated in the Aslakhanova and Others judgment (cited above, §§ 123‑25).

321. In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that the authorities failed to carry out effective criminal investigations into the circumstances of the disappearances and deaths of Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov, Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov, Mr Anderbek Suleymanov, Mr Ramzan Chankayev, Mr Aslan Chankayev, Mr Dzhamali Sultanov, Mr Aldan Eldarov, Mr Moul Usumov, Mr Akhdan Tamayev, Mr Islam Ibragimov, Mr Apti Sadulayev and Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev. Accordingly, there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention in its procedural aspect.

V. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF ARTICLES 3, 5 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION

322. The applicants complained of a violation of Articles 3 and 5 of the Convention on account of the mental suffering caused to them by the disappearance of their relatives and the unlawfulness of their relatives’ detention. They also argued that, contrary to Article 13 of the Convention, there had been no domestic remedies available in respect of the alleged violations, in particular those under Articles 2 and 3. These Articles read, in so far as relevant:

Article 3

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Article 5

“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;

2. Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him.

3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.

4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.

5. Everyone who has been the victim of arrest or detention in contravention of the provisions of this Article shall have an enforceable right to compensation.”

Article 13

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

A. The parties’ submissions

323. The Government contested the applicants’ claims. In particular, they submitted that in the applications Suleymanova and Others (no. 11674/09), Ibragimov and Others (no. 25511/10) and Anayeva and Elmurzayeva (no. 32791/10) some of the applicants were too young (between several months and two years old at the material time) to have witnessed the abduction or been affected by the attitude, actions and decisions of the investigating authorities.

324. The applicants reiterated their complaints.

B. The Court’s assessment

1. Admissibility

325. The Court notes that these complaints are not manifestly ill‑founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that they are not inadmissible on any other grounds. They must therefore be declared admissible.

2. Merits

326. The Court has found on many occasions that a situation of enforced disappearance gives rise to a violation of Article 3 in respect of the close relatives of the victim. The essence of such a violation does not lie mainly in the fact of the “disappearance” of the family member, but rather concerns the authorities’ reactions and attitudes to the situation when it is brought to their attention (see Orhan v. Turkey, no. 25656/94, § 358, 18 June 2002, and Imakayeva, cited above, § 164). Where news of the missing person’s death is preceded by a sufficiently long period in which he or she may be deemed disappeared, there exists a distinct period during which an applicant suffers the uncertainty, anguish and distress characteristic of the specific phenomenon of disappearances (see Luluyev and Others, cited above, § 115).

327. In the applications at hand the investigation has been ongoing for a number of years, keeping the family members, irrespective of their age, in a state of uncertainty and on account of the absence of news from their close relatives. Taking such circumstances into account and keeping in mind its findings under the procedural aspect of Article 2 of the Convention, the Court notes that it has already found a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in a number of cases on account of the applicants’ moral suffering, irrespective of their age (see, among many other authorities, Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, § 133, and Sangariyeva and Others v. Russia, no. 1839/04, § 92, 29 May 2008, where some of the applicants were between one and three years old at the time of the abductions, Abayeva and Others v. Russia, no. 37542/05, § 114, 8 April 2010, and Khakiyeva, Temergeriyeva and Others v. Russia, nos. 45081/06 and 7820/07, § 232, 17 February 2011, where some of the applicants were about one year old at the material time).

328. The Court reiterates its findings regarding the State’s responsibility for the abductions and the failure to carry out meaningful investigations into the fates of the disappeared persons. It finds that the applicants, who are close relatives of the disappeared, must be considered victims of a violation of Article 3 of the Convention on account of the distress and anguish which they suffered, and continue to suffer, as a result of their inability to ascertain the fate of their family members and of the manner in which their complaints have been dealt with.

329. The Court furthermore confirms that since it has been established that the applicants’ relatives were detained by State agents, apparently without any legal grounds or acknowledgement of such detention, this constitutes a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security of persons enshrined in Article 5 of the Convention.

330. The Court reiterates its findings regarding the general ineffectiveness of criminal investigations in cases such as those under examination here. In the absence of results from a criminal investigation, any other possible remedy becomes inaccessible in practice.

331. The Court thus finds that the applicants in these cases did not have an effective domestic remedy at their disposal for their grievances under Articles 2 and 3, in breach of Article 13 of the Convention (see, for example, Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, §157).

VI. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION

332. The Court has examined the other complaints submitted by the applicants in the cases of Dzhabrailov and Others (no. 8620/09) and Tamayev (no. 54728/09) under Article 3 of the Convention concerning alleged torture of their abducted relatives on the premises of the law‑enforcement agencies where they had been taken after the arrest. However, having regard to all the material in its possession, and in so far as these complaints fall within the Court’s competence, it finds that they do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.

VII. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

333. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

A. Damages

(a) Application no. 8620/09, Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

334. The applicants jointly claimed 500,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

335. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(b) Application no. 11674/09, Suleymanova and Others v. Russia

336. In respect of pecuniary damage, the applicants claimed a total of 4,322,677 Russian roubles (RUB) (approximately EUR 98,750) on account of the loss of the financial support which their three abducted relatives would have provided for them. The first and second applicants, as the parents of the three abducted men, claimed: RUB 1,176,134 (EUR 26,870) and RUB 1,399,088 (EUR 31,960) respectively. The third applicant, as the wife of Mr Salambek Suleymanov, claimed RUB 1,523,950 (EUR 34,815) and the fourth applicant, as his son, claimed RUB 223,505 (EUR 5,105).

337. The applicants also jointly claimed EUR 300,000 in respect of non‑pecuniary damage.

338. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim for pecuniary damage should be rejected as unsubstantiated. They further stated that the basis for its calculation, the UK Ogden tables, did not apply in the Russian Federation and that there was domestic machinery for such calculations.

339. As to the claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Government stated that it should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(c) Application no. 16488/09, Chankayevy v. Russia

340. In respect of pecuniary damage, the applicants, as the parents of Mr Ramzan Chinkayev, claimed RUB 891,278 (EUR 20,355) and RUB 1,180,546 (EUR 26,960) respectively.

341. The applicants also jointly claimed EUR 200,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

342. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim for pecuniary damage should be rejected as unsubstantiated. They further stated that the basis for its calculation, the UK Ogden tables, did not apply in the Russian Federation and that there was domestic machinery for such calculations.

343. As to the claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Government stated that it should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(d) Application no. 21133/09, Sultanova and Others v. Russia

344. In respect of pecuniary damage, the first applicant, as the mother of Mr Dzhamali Sultanov, claimed RUB 1,087,718 (EUR 24,850) for the loss of the financial support which her abducted son would have provided for her.

345. The applicants also jointly claimed EUR 100,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

346. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim for pecuniary damage should be rejected as unsubstantiated. They further stated that the basis for its calculation, the UK Ogden tables, did not apply in the Russian Federation and that there was domestic machinery for such calculations.

347. As to the claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Government stated that it should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(e) Application no. 36354/09, Eldarov v. Russia

348. The applicant claimed EUR 100,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

349. The Government submitted that the applicant’s claim should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(f) Application no. 47770/09, Usumovy v. Russia

350. The applicants jointly claimed EUR 500,000 in respect of non‑pecuniary damage.

351. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(g) Application no. 54728/09, Tamayev v. Russia

352. In respect of pecuniary damage, the applicant, as the father of Mr Akhdan Tamayev, claimed EUR 30,000 for the loss of the financial support which his abducted son would have provided for him.

353. The applicant also claimed EUR 70,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

354. The Government submitted that the claim for pecuniary damage should be rejected as unsubstantiated.

355. As to the claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Government stated that it should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(h) Application no. 25511/10, Ibragimov and Others v. Russia

356. As to pecuniary damage, the first and third applicants, as the parents of Mr Islam Ibragimov, claimed RUB 1,186,590 (EUR 27,240) each; the fourth applicant, as the mother of Mr Apti Sadulayev, claimed RUB 573,202 (EUR 13,160); the fifth applicant, as his wife, claimed RUB 981,662 (EUR 22,530); and the sixth applicant, as his son, claimed RUB 433,272 (EUR 9,950).

357. The applicants also jointly claimed EUR 200,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

358. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim for pecuniary damage should be rejected as unsubstantiated. They further stated that the basis for its calculation, the UK Ogden tables, did not apply in the Russian Federation and that there was domestic machinery for such calculations.

359. As to the claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Government stated that it should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

(i) Application no. 32791/10, Anayeva and Elmurzayeva v. Russia

360. The first applicant, as the mother of Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev, claimed RUB 522,731 (EUR 11,950) in respect of pecuniary damage, and the second applicant, as his daughter, claimed RUB 351,673 (EUR 8,050).

361. The applicants jointly claimed EUR 100,000 in respect of non‑pecuniary damage.

362. The Government submitted that the applicants’ claim for pecuniary damage should be rejected as unsubstantiated. They further stated that the basis for its calculation, the UK Ogden tables, did not apply in the Russian Federation and that there was domestic machinery for such calculations.

363. As to the claim for non-pecuniary damage, the Government stated that it should be awarded on the basis of the awards made by the Court in similar cases.

B. Costs and expenses

364. The applicants in the cases of Dzhabrailov and Others (no. 8620/09) and Usumovy (no. 47770/09) were represented by the Memorial Human Rights Centre. The aggregate claim in respect of costs and expenses relating to their legal representation amounted to 3,262 British pounds sterling (GBP) and GBP 2,452 respectively, which included the drafting of legal documents submitted to the Court, and administrative and translation costs. They submitted copies of invoices with a breakdown of the costs incurred.

365. The applicants in the cases of Suleymanova and Others (no. 11674/09), Chankayevy (no. 16488/09), Sultanova and Others (no. 21133/09), Eldarov (no. 36354/09), Ibragimov and Others (no. 25511/10), and Anayeva and Elmurzayeva (no. 32791/10) were represented by SRJI/Astreya. The aggregate claim in respect of costs and expenses relating to the applicants’ legal representation amounted to EUR 4,098, EUR 4,642, EUR 4,248, EUR 3,751, EUR 3,830 and EUR 4,539 respectively. Each claim included the drafting of legal documents submitted to the Court, and administrative and postal expenses. The applicants submitted copies of their legal representation contracts and invoices with a breakdown of the costs incurred.

366. The applicant in the case of Tamayev (no. 54728/09) who was represented by Mr S. Visengereyev, did not make claims under this head.

367. The Government argued that the applicants had given their authority forms to the lawyers of SRJI, which organisation had ceased to operate in Moscow in March 2011, and not to Astreya. Therefore, no payments in respect of costs and expenses should be made to either organisation.

368. The Government further stated in respect of each application that the applicants’ claims for costs and expenses were unsubstantiated, as it had not been shown that the expenses claimed had actually been incurred. They also noted that the application forms and observations submitted by the applicants’ representatives were very similar to each other and therefore the time and effort spent on the preparation of the documents did not correspond to the amounts claimed.

C. The Court’s assessment

369. The Court reiterates that there must be a clear causal connection between the damages claimed by the applicants and the violation of the Convention, and that this may, where appropriate, include compensation in respect of loss of earnings. The Court has further found that a loss of earnings may be claimed by close relatives of a disappeared person, including spouses, elderly parents and minor children (see, among other authorities, Imakayeva, cited above, § 213).

370. Whenever the Court finds a violation of the Convention, it may accept that the applicants have suffered non-pecuniary damage which cannot be compensated solely by the finding of the violation, and make a financial award.

371. As for the Government’s submission on the payments in respect of costs and expenses for the applicants represented by SRJI in partnership with Astreya, the Court notes that in 2011 both organisations furnished the necessary documents, reflecting their joint representation of applicants before the Court (see, for example, Aslakhanova and Others, cited above, §§ 2 and 260, and Kaykharova and Others v. Russia, cited above, §§ 2 and 167, 1 August 2013).

372. Further, the Court has first to establish whether the costs and expenses indicated by the applicants’ representatives were actually incurred and, second, whether they were necessary and reasonable as to quantum (see McCann and Others v. the United Kingdom, 27 September 1995, § 220, Series A no. 324, and Fadeyeva v. Russia, no. 55723/00, § 147, ECHR 2005‑IV).

373. Having regard to the foregoing conclusions, the principles enumerated above and the parties’ submissions, the Court awards the applicants the amounts detailed in Appendix II, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants on those amounts. The awards in respect of costs and expenses are to be paid into the representatives’ bank accounts, as identified by the applicants.

D. Default interest

374. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the complaints under Articles 2 and 3, concerning the applicants’ mental suffering, and Articles 5 and 13 admissible, and the remainder of the applications inadmissible;

3. Decides to join to the merits the Government’s objection as to the applicability of Article 2 of the Convention and rejects it;

4. Holds that there has been a substantive violation of Article 2 of the Convention in respect of the applicants’ relatives Mr Yakub Dzhabrailov, Mr Salambek Suleymanov, Mr Khasanbek Suleymanov, Mr Anderbek Suleymanov, Mr Ramzan Chankayev, Mr Aslan Chankayev, Mr Dzhamali Sultanov, Mr Aldan Eldarov, Mr Moul Usumov, Mr Akhdan Tamayev, Mr Islam Ibragimov, Mr Apti Sadulayev and Mr Ziyavdi Elmurzayev;

5. Holds that there has been a procedural violation of Article 2 of the Convention in respect of the failure to investigate the disappearance of the applicants’ relatives;

6. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of the applicants on account of their relatives’ disappearance and the authorities’ response to their suffering;

7. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 of the Convention in respect of the applicants’ relatives on account of their unlawful detention;

8. Holds there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in conjunction with Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention;

9. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months of the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the amounts indicated in Appendix II, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants. The amounts are to be converted into Russian roubles, at the rate applicable at the date of settlement. As to the payments in respect of costs and expenses to the applicants’ representatives, they are to be made to the representatives’ bank accounts as indicated by the applicants; the payments are to be made in euros to the applicants represented by SRJI/Astreya, and to be made in British pounds to the applicants represented by the Memorial Human Rights Centre;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;

10. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 27 February 2014, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Søren Nielsen – Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre
Registrar – President

APPENDIX I

No. Application no., date of introduction Applicants:

Date of birth, relationship, place of residence

 

Represented by Persons disappeared, date and place of abduction Investigation
1. 8620/09

Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

 

09/01/2009

(1)    Mr Khamzat

DZHABRAILOV (1941), father, Argun, Shali district, the Chechen Republic

 

(2)    Ms Tamara

TAYSUMOVA (also referred to as

DZHABRAILOVA) (1955), mother, idem

 

(3)    Ms Zarema

DZHABRAILOVA (1978), sister, idem

 

(4)    Ms Larisa

DZHABRAILOVA (1985), sister, idem

MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE (1)     Mr Yakub

DZHABRAILOV (1981), abducted on

15 December 2001, Argun

On 9 January 2002 the Argun district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 78010. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

 

2. 11674/09

Suleymanova and Others v. Russia

 

19/02/2009

(1)    Ms Mata

SULEYMANOVA (1956), mother, Gudermes, the Chechen Republic

 

(2)    Mr Ostambek

SULEYMANOV (1950), father, idem

 

(3)    Ms Marem

MAGAMALIYEVA (1981), Mr Salambek Suleymanov’s wife, idem

 

(4)    Mr Abdul-Malik

SULEYMANOV (2002), Mr Salambek Suleymanov’s son, idem

STICHTING RUSSIAN JUSTICE INITIATIVE (SRJI)/

ASTREYA

Three brothers abducted on 29 October 2002, Gudermes:

 

(1) Mr Salambek

SULEYMANOV (1974),

 

(2) Mr Khasanbek

SULEYMANOV (1979) and

 

(3) Mr Anderbek

(also referred to as Andarbek)

SULEYMANOV (1981)

On 1 November 2002 the Gudermes district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 57098. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

3. 16488/09

Chankayevy v. Russia

 

13/03/2009

(1)    Mr Viktor

CHANKAYEV (1948), Mr Ramzan Chankayev’s father and Aslan Chankayev’s uncle, Urus-Martan, the Chechen Republic

 

 

 

(2)    Ms Zaynap

CHANKAYEVA (1954), Mr Ramzan Chankayev’s mother, and Aslan Chankayev’ aunt, idem

 

SRJI/

ASTREYA

Two cousins abducted on 19 September 2001, Urus-Martan:

 

(1) Mr Ramzan CHANKAYEV (1985) and

 

(2) Mr Aslan CHANKAYEV (1985)

On 27 October 2001 the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 25137. The criminal proceedings are still pending.
4. 21133/09

Sultanova and Others v. Russia

 

30/03/2009

(1)    Ms Maret

SULTANOVA (1958), mother, Samashki, Achkhoy-Martan district, the Chechen Republic

 

(2)    Ms Madina

SULTANOVA (1993), sister, idem

 

(3)    Mr Khusain

SULTANOV (1984), brother, idem

 

(4)    Ms Razet

SULTANOVA (1988), sister, idem

 

(5)    Ms Zalina

SULTANOVA (1989), sister, idem

 

(6)    Mr Ibragim

RAZHIPOV (1982), brother, idem

SRJI/

ASTREYA

(1) Mr Dzhamali (also referred to as Khasan) SULTANOV (1986), abducted on 5 November 2004, Samashki    On 15 November 2004 the Achkhoy-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 38053. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

5. 36354/09

Eldarov v. Russia

 

29/06/2009

(1)    Mr Elsi ELDAROV (1956), brother, Gekhi, Urus-Martan district, the Chechen Republic

 

SRJI/

ASTREYA

(1) Mr Aldan

ELDAROV, (1964),

abducted from

the applicant’s house on 8

or 9 August 2000, Gekhi

On 18 October 2000 the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 24047. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

6. 47770/09

Usumovy v. Russia

 

02/09/2009

(1)    Ms Malika

USUMOVA (1960), wife, Kurchaloy, the Chechen Republic

 

(2)    Ms Aminat

USUMOVA (1985), daughter, idem

 

(3)    Mr Zaur USUMOV

(1988), son, idem

 

(4)    Mr Zurab

USUMOV (1994), son, idem

 

(5)    Ms Laura

USUMOVA (1993), daughter, idem

MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE (1)    Mr Moul USUMOV

(1960), abducted from home on 30 June 2001, Kurchaloy

On 9 July 2001 the Argun district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 39038. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

 

7. 54728/09

Tamayev v. Russia

 

11/09/2009

(1)    Mr Ovkhad

TAMAYEV (1940), father, Roshni-Chu, Urus‑Martan district, the Chechen Republic

 

Mr Suleyman VISENGEREYEV (1)    Mr Akhdan

TAMAYEV (1972), abducted from home on 6 January 2001, Roshni-Chu

On 27 January 2001 the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 25014. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

 

8. 25511/10

Ibragimov and Others v. Russia

 

28/04/2010

(1)    Mr Vakhita

IBRAGIMOV (1960), Mr Islam Ibragimov’s father, Shali, Shali district, Chechnya

 

(2)    Mr Ilyas

IBRAGIMOV (1984), Mr Islam Ibragimov’s brother, idem

 

 

(3)    Ms Satsita

SAKHABOVA (1963),
Mr Islam Ibragimov’s mother, idem

 

(4)    Ms Toita

SADULAYEVA (1935),
Mr Apti Sadulayev’s mother, idem

 

(5)    Ms Zara

ADUZOVA (1976), Mr Apti Sadulayev’s wife, idem

 

(6)    Mr Umar

SADULAYEV (2002), Mr Apti Sadulayev’s son, idem

 

(7) Mr Abdul-Vakhid SADULAYEV (1957), Mr Apti Sadulayev’s brother, Grozny

SRJI/

ASTREYA

Two men abducted on 17 January 2003, Shali:

 

(1)    Mr Islam

IBRAGIMOV (1982) and

 

(2)    Mr Apti

SADULAYEV (1976)

On 27 January 2003 the Shali district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 22017. The criminal proceedings are still pending.
9. 32791/10

Anayeva and Elmurzayeva v. Russia

 

02/06/2010

(1)    Ms Malkan

ANAYEVA (1959), mother, Stariye Atagi, Grozny district, the Chechen Republic

 

(2)    Ms Rayana

ELMURZAYEVA (2002), daughter, idem

SRJI/

ASTREYA

(1)      Mr Ziyavdi (also

referred to as Ziyavdin) ELMURZAYEV (1979), abducted from home on 21 April 2002, Stariye Atagi.

On 29 April 2002 the Grozny district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case no. 56060. The criminal proceedings are still pending.

 

APPENDIX II

Awards made by the Court under Article 41 of the Convention

  Application number and name Represented by Pecuniary damage Non-pecuniary damage Costs and expenses
1. No. 8620/09

Dzhabrailov and Others v. Russia

 

MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros) EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)
2. No. 11674/09

Suleymanova and Others v. Russia

 

SRJI/ASTREYA EUR 15,000 (fifteen thousand euros) each to the first and second applicants;

EUR 12,000 (twelve thousand euros) to the third applicant;

EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros) to the fourth applicant

EUR 180,000 (one hundred eighty thousand euros) to the applicants jointly EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)
3. No. 16488/09

Chankayevy v. Russia

 

SRJI/ASTREYA EUR 12,000 (twelve thousand euros) each to the first and second applicants; EUR 120,000 (one hundred twenty thousand euros) to the applicants jointly EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)
4. No. 21133/09

Sultanova and Others v. Russia

 

SRJI/ASTREYA EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros) to the first applicant EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros) to the applicants jointly EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)
5. No. 36354/09

Eldarov v. Russia

 

SRJI/ASTREYA EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros) EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)
6. No. 47770/09

Usumovy v. Russia

 

MEMORIAL HUMAN RIGHTS CENTRE

 

EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros) EUR 2,400 (two thousand four hundred euros)
7. No. 54728/09

Tamayev v. Russia

 

Mr Suleyman VISENGEREYEV EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros) EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros)
8. No. 25511/10

Ibragimov and Others v. Russia

 

SRJI/ASTREYA EUR 5,000 (five thousand euros) each to the first and third applicants;

EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros) each to the fourth and fifth applicants;

EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros) to the sixth applicant

EUR 120,000 (one hundred twenty thousand euros) to the applicants jointly EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)
9. No. 32791/10

Anayeva and Elmurzayeva v. Russia

 

SRJI/ASTREYA EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros) to the first applicant

EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros) to the second applicant

EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros) to the applicants jointly EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros)

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