Idalova and Idalov – Khaydayeva and Others – Khadisov and Tsechoyev v. Russia
The ECHR cases of Idalova and Idalov v. Russia (application no. 41515/04), Khaydayeva and Others v. Russia (application no. 1848/04), Khadisov and Tsechoyev v. Russia (application no. 21519/02).
EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Press release issued by the Registrar
IDALOVA and IDALOV v. RUSSIA
KHAYDAYEVA and OTHERS v. RUSSIA
KHADISOV and TSECHOYEV v. RUSSIA
The applicants in the first two cases alleged that their relatives disappeared after being abducted by Russian servicemen and that the domestic authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into their allegations. They relied in particular on Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The applicants in the third case alleged that they were tortured by officers of the Ministry of the Interior and Russian servicemen in order to make them confess to being involved with paramilitary groups. They relied in particular on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the Convention.
In both cases the Court found in particular as follows:
Violations of Article 2 (right to life and lack of effective investigation)
Violation of Article 3 (inhuman treatment in respect of the applicants)
Violation of Article 5 (unacknowledged detention)
Violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 (lack of an effective remedy)
The applicants in the first case are two Russian nationals who live in Akhkinchu-Borzoy (Chechen Republic). They are the parents of Marvan Idalov, born in 1985, whom they have not seen since the early hours of 22 November 2002 when he was abducted by a group of armed men in camouflage uniform who had arrived at the family home in military vehicles.
The applicants in the second case are eight Russian nationals who live in Duba-Yurt (Chechen Republic). They are the close relatives of Suliman Malikov, Adlan Khatuyev, Aslan Khatuyev, Sayd-Salu Akhmatov and Mansur Ismailov, born in 1975, 1977, 1983, 1975 and 1984, respectively. The five men have not been seen since 9 June 2002 when they were apprehended at a checkpoint by Russian servicemen who were carrying out a security operation in Duba-Yurt.
In the case of Idalova and Idalov the Court considered that it had been unlikely, as suggested by the Government, that insurgents in stolen military vehicles could have moved freely at the relevant time through Russian military checkpoints and abducted the applicants’ son from the family home. The fact that a large group of armed men in uniform had arrived in the early hours of the morning at the applicant’s village strongly supported the allegation that their son had been abducted by Russian servicemen. The Court therefore held that the evidence available to it established beyond reasonable doubt that Marvan Idalov had to be presumed dead following his unacknowledged detention by Russian servicemen during a security operation.
In the case of Khaydayeva and Others the Court noted that it was common ground between the parties that the applicants’ relatives had been apprehended on 9 June 2002 by Russian servicemen involved in a security operation in Duba-Yurt. In the absence of any such evidence such as detention facility records to corroborate the Government’s claim that the five men had been released on 10 June 2002, the Court found it established that the men had remained under the control of the authorities after that date. Furthermore, the Government had failed to provide any explanation for the men’s disappearance; indeed, for two years after the men’s apprehension the authorities had even consistently denied ever having detained them. The Court therefore held that the evidence available to it established beyond reasonable doubt that the applicants’ relatives had been apprehended by Russian servicemen and had to be presumed dead following their unacknowledged detention.
Noting in both cases that the Government had not justified the use of lethal force by their agents, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 2 in respect of all of the applicants’ relatives.
The Court further held that there had been violations of Article 2 relating to the authorities’ failure to carry out effective criminal investigations into the circumstances in which the applicants’ relatives had disappeared.
The Court also found that the applicants had suffered and continued to suffer, distress and anguish as a result of the disappearance of their relatives and their inability to find out what had happened to them. The manner in which their complaints had been dealt with by the authorities had to be considered to constitute inhuman treatment, in violation of Article 3.
Lastly, the Court found in both cases that the applicants’ relatives had been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5, which constituted a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security enshrined in that article.
The Court awarded 35,000 euros (EUR) to Marvan Idalov’s parents, jointly, in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 3,650 for costs and expenses.
The Court awarded in respect of pecuniary damage EUR 6,000, jointly, to Adlan Khatuyev’s parents. In respect of non-pecuniary damage it awarded, jointly: EUR 35,000 to Suliman Malikov’s parents; EUR 70,000 to Adlan and Aslan Khatuyev’s parents; EUR 35,000 to Sayd-Salu Akhmatov’s mother and sister; and, EUR 35,000 to Mansur Ismailov’s mother and sister. The applicants were awarded EUR 6,000 for costs and expenses.
The Court found in particular as follows:
Violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and lack of effective investigation)
Violation of Article 5 (unacknowledged detention)
Violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 3 (lack of an effective remedy)
No violation of Article 34 (right to individual petition)
Violation of Article 38 § 1 (a) (refusal to submit documents requested by the Court)
The applicants, Salambek Khadisov and Islam Tsechoyev, are Russian nationals who were born in 1956 and 1977 respectively and live in Ingushetia (Russia).
On 9 September 2001 Mr Khadisov and other villagers of Verkhny Alkun (Russia), near the border with the Chechen Republic, were shot at when cutting grass for hay in local meadows. They alleged that the attack came from Russian troops stationed nearby despite the fact that they had been forewarned that local villagers would be working there that day.
On 23 Septebmer 2001 Mr Khadisov and Mr Tsechoyev were requested to go to Sunzhenskiy District Department of the Interior, the former to give further explanations about the incident of September, the latter on suspicion of having taken part that same day in an alleged attack on the Russian servicemen posted near Verkhny Alkun. The applicants alleged that, then transferred to Khankala military base on 24 September 2001, they were tortured in order to make them confess to being involved with paramilitary groups. In particular, they claimed that, held in a pit, they were kicked and beaten with rifle butts, notably on the soles of their feet, and were burned with cigarettes. The servicemen also put guns to their heads and threatened to execute them. They were then transferred to the Organised Crime Unit of Grozny’s Staropromyslovskiy District, where they were also kicked and threatened with torture.
They were released on 12 October 2001; apparently bloated, covered with bruises and the skin on their feet peeling off, they could hardly walk. Mr Tsechoyev submitted two medical certificates to prove that, following the ill-treatment, he was hospitalised twice with a back injury, concussion, loss of sight, vertigo and convulsions. Mr Khadisov submitted that following his release he was diagnosed with pneumonia, three fractured ribs, cigarette burns and partial paralysis of his left hand. His wife confirmed those injuries as did a subsequent medical examination in July 2005 which noted traces of healing injuries.
The Court was satisfied that the applicants had presented a consistent account, corroborated by appropriate evidence, of the ill-treatment to which they had been subjected. In view of the absence of any other plausible explanation as to the origin of the applicants’ injuries, the Court accepted that they had been subjected to ill-treatment as alleged. The acts complained of had been such as to arouse in the applicants feelings of fear, anguish and inferiority capable of humiliating and debasing them and breaking their physical and moral resistance. They had been kept in that state of pain and anxiety intentionally, with a view to extracting a confession from them. In those circumstances, the Court concluded that, taken as a whole and given its purpose and severity, the applicants’ ill-treatment had amounted to torture, in violation of Article 3.
The Court noted that, even after seven years of investigation and official confirmation of the fact that the applicants had been handed over to Khankala servicemen on 24 September 2001, the investigating authorities had not established the applicants’ exact whereabouts in the subsequent period and had failed to verify the applicants’ allegations of ill-treatment. Accordingly, the Court held that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation into the applicants’ allegations, in further violation of Article 3.
Lastly, the Court noted that there was no official trace of the applicants’ detention from 23 September to 12 October 2001 as it had not been logged in any custody records. The applicants had therefore been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5. There had therefore been a violation of Article 5 in respect of both of the applicants.
The Court awarded EUR 35,000 to each applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 9,008.20, jointly, for costs and expenses.