Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3


The medical worker of the detention centre V., who had examined the detainees arriving from Vladikavkaz on 20 February 2000, explained that a medical report had been drawn up for each detainee. No physical Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 coercion or special measures were used by the staff of IZ 21/2.

A copy of the medical record of Medov S.A. dated 20 February 2000 was attached to the results of the examination. The medical examination Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 took place on 20 February 2000 at 21 hours 30 minutes. No bodily injuries were noted. Medov S.A. remained in the Pyatigorsk pre-trial detention centre for two days. On 22 February 2000 he was sent on to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the pre-trial detention centre in Stavropol. No complaints from Medov S.A. about the actions of the staff at the detention centre have been submitted so far to the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 Pyatigorsk prosecutor's office.

Thus, no evidence has been obtained to support the allegations of beatings of Medov S.A. by the staff at the pre-trial detention centre in Pyatigorsk."

72. The Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 information about the decision was sent to the Chechnya Prosecutor's Office. On 21 February 2001 the Pyatigorsk Town Prosecutor's Office informed the applicant about the decision and about the possibility to appeal against Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 it to the Town Court.


4. Documents related to the applicant's

detention in Stavropol


73. On 22 February 2000 the applicant was examined on arrival at SIZO No. 1. It was noted in the medical record that he Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 did not have any injuries or complaints, that his blood pressure and body temperature were normal and that a psychiatric examination had found him healthy. A number of examinations, including blood tests, showed Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 an absence of skin diseases, TB, AIDS and syphilis. In February 2001 the staff at SIZO No. 1 forwarded the applicant's medical record to the Town Prosecutor's Office.

74. On 18 April 2001 the head Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of the medical unit of SIZO No. 2 in Stavropol issued a document to confirm that during his stay there the applicant had not sought medical assistance.

75. In February 2001 deputy head Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of SIZO No. 1 informed the Stavropol Town Prosecutor's Office that that the applicant had been detained there between 22 February and 3 May 2000. At the initial check-up no complaints or injuries were noted Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 and the applicant was found healthy. During his stay he did not seek medical assistance, did not submit any complaints about ill-treatment and was not subjected to punishment or to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 physical coercion. The letter further stated that it was impossible to identify the applicant's former cell-mates, because no such lists had been kept, in accordance with the relevant legislation. It further listed Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the officers of the SIZO who had at the relevant time supervised cell No. 79, where the applicant had been kept.

76. In March 2001 three officers of the detention centre testified to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the Town Prosecutor that they had received no complaints or questions from the applicant between February and May 2000, while he had been kept in cell No. 79, over which they had responsibility Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3.

77. On 20 March 2001 the Stavropol Town Prosecutor's Office issued a decision not to open criminal proceedings into the applicant's complaints concerning ill-treatment, in response to a letter from HRW. The decision stated:

"Between Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 22 February and 3 May 2000 Medov S.A. was detained in SIZO No. 1 of the Department of the Execution of Sentences of the Ministry of Justice of the Stavropol Region. On 3 May 2000 he was Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 released pursuant to the decision of the Department of the Prosecutor General's Office in the Northern Caucasus on application of the Amnesty Act of 13 December 1999. On arrival at SIZO No Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3. 1 no passport was contained in Medov's personal file.

During his stay in SIZO No. 1 he did not complain about being beaten by the staff at the SIZO, and was not subjected Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 to any punishment, physical coercion or special measures. According to the notes in the medical record, upon admittance to the SIZO no bodily injuries or illnesses were noted. During his detention he Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 did not submit any medical complaints or seek medical assistance.

In SIZO No. 1 Medov was detained in cell number 79. According to the explanations of the staff who had supervised the cell, Medov had Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 not broken any internal rules or submitted any complaints or requests. As no records of cell population are kept, it is deemed impossible to question his former cellmates.

Thus Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3, as a result of the investigation, no grounds were found to support the allegations of use of physical force on Medov by the staff at SIZO No. 1 and there is no evidence Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of any criminal act on the part of the staff"

78. The information about the decision was forwarded to the "interested parties" and the Stavropol Regional Prosecutor's Office.


C. Relevant Council of Europe reports


79. The Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 Chernokozovo SIZO, where the applicant had been detained, has received extensive attention from various human rights institutions, including the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), on account of allegations of severe Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 ill-treatment of detainees. On 4 March 2000 the Head of the CPT delegation Mr Hajek issued a statement to Russian officials at the end of the visit of the CPT to the North Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 Caucasian region of the Russian Federation. The statement read, inter alia, in relation to the visit to Chernokozovo:

"The delegation is satisfied that, at present, persons detained in this establishment Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 are not being physically ill-treated. Further, although conditions of detention in the SIZO leave much to be desired, the delegation has noted that genuine efforts have been мейд in recent Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 times - and continue to be мейд - to improve those conditions.

However, the information gathered by the delegation strongly indicates that many persons detained at Chernokozovo were physically ill-treated in the establishment Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 during the period December 1999 to early February 2000. In different locations, the delegation has interviewed individually and in private a considerable number of persons who were held at Chernokozovo during that period. A Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 clear pattern of physical ill-treatment of prisoners by custodial staff emerged. The ill-treatment alleged consisted essentially of kicks, punches and truncheon blows to various parts of the body (excluding the face). The ill Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3-treatment was said to have been inflicted principally in the central corridor of the detention facility, usually when prisoners were taken to an investigator's room for questioning or when they were Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 returned to their cells after such questioning; apparently, prisoners were also on occasion physically ill-treated in the investigators' rooms. Investigators were said to have been fully aware of the ill Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 treatment being inflicted, and some prisoners affirmed that it was inflicted at their instigation. In certain cases, the delegation has gathered medical evidence which is consistent with the allegations of ill-treatment мейд Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 by the prisoners concerned.

It is also noteworthy that practically all the prisoners interviewed who had been held at the establishment in Chernokozovo during the period January to February Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 2000 stressed that there had been a distinct change for the better in early February, at the same time as a changeover of staff began to occur. The beatings stopped; further, other improvements had been мейд Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3, in particular as regards food. Moreover, no allegations of physical ill-treatment were мейд by prisoners interviewed who had arrived in the establishment after the first week of February 2000."

80. On 10 July 2001 the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 CPT issued a public statement concerning the Chechen Republic, under Article 10 § 2 of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. This step was Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 prompted by the Russian authorities' failure to cooperate with the CPT in relation to two issues: i) the carrying out of a thorough and independent inquiry into the events in the detention Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 facility at Chernokozovo during the period December 1999 to early February 2000; ii) action taken to uncover and prosecute cases of ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in the Chechen Republic in the course Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of the current conflict. The statement said, in particular:

"...the information gathered by the CPT's delegation in the course of its February/March and April 2000 visits indicated that a Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 considerable number of persons deprived of their liberty in the Chechen Republic since the outset of the conflict had been physically ill-treated by members of the Russian armed forces or law Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 enforcement agencies. In the report on those two visits, the CPT recommended that the Russian authorities redouble their efforts to uncover and prosecute all cases of ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 in the Chechen Republic in the course of the conflict. The Committee мейд a number of remarks of a practical nature intended to clarify the precise form those efforts Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 might take. More generally, the CPT stressed that it was essential for the Russian authorities to adopt a proactive approach in this area.

The response of the Russian authorities to this key recommendation Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 was very unsatisfactory...

As was stressed in a letter sent to the Russian authorities on 10 May 2001, the CPT's concerns in this regard are all the greater given that in the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 course of the Committee's most recent visit to the Chechen Republic, in March 2001, numerous credible and consistent allegations were once again received of severe ill-treatment by Federal forces; in a number of cases Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3, those allegations were supported by medical evidence. The CPT's delegation found a palpable climate of fear; many people who had been ill-treated and others who knew about such Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 offences were reluctant to file complaints to the authorities. There was the fear of reprisals at local level and a general sentiment that, in any event, justice would not be done. It Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 was emphasised to the Russian authorities that they must spare no effort to overcome this deeply disturbing state of affairs."


II. Relevant domestic law


81. The Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) of 1960, which was in Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 force until July 2002, contained the following provisions relating to the opening of a criminal investigation.

82. Article 108 provided that criminal proceedings could be instituted on the basis of letters and complaints from Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 citizens, public or private bodies, articles in the press or the discovery by an investigating body, prosecutor or court of evidence that a crime had been committed.

83. Article 109 provided that the investigating body Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 had to take one of the following decisions within a maximum period of ten days after being notified of a crime: to open or refuse to open a criminal investigation, or Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 transmit the information to an appropriate body. Those making the allegations were to be informed about any decision мейд.

84. Under Article 113, if the investigating body refused to open a criminal investigation, a reasoned decision Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 had to be given. The informant was to be notified of the decision and was entitled to appeal against it to a superior prosecutor or to a court.


THE LAW


I. Compliance with Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the six-month rule


85. The Court reiterates at the outset that, pursuant to Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, it may only deal with a matter within a period of six months from Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the final decision in the process of exhaustion. If no remedies are available or if they are judged to be ineffective, the six-month period in principle runs from the date of the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 act complained of (see Hazar and Others v. Turkey (dec.), Nos. 62566/00 et seq., 10 January 2002). Special considerations may apply in exceptional cases where an applicant first avails himself of a domestic Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 remedy and only at a later stage becomes aware, or should have become aware, of the circumstances which make that remedy ineffective. In such a situation, the six-month period may be calculated from the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 time when the applicant becomes aware, or should have become aware, of those circumstances (see Bulut and Yavuz v. Turkey (dec.), No. 73065/01, 28 May 2002).

86. The Court further points out that it is not Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 open to it to set aside the application of the six-month rule solely because a respondent Government have not мейд a preliminary objection based on that rule, since the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 said criterion, reflecting as it does the wish of the Contracting Parties to prevent past events being called into question after an indefinite lapse of time, serves the interests not only of respondent Governments Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 but also of legal certainty as a value in itself. It marks out the temporal limits of the supervision carried out by the organs of the Convention and signals to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 both individuals and State authorities the period beyond which such supervision is no longer possible (see Walker v. the United Kingdom (dec.), No. 34979/97, ECHR 2000-I).

87. Turning to the present case, in so Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 far as the conditions of the applicant's detention are concerned, the Court notes that from the materials in its possession it does not appear that he attempted to raise this Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 issue before the domestic authorities either in his complaint of 7 December 2000, which was confined to his allegations of ill-treatment, or on any other occasion. The Court further finds it unnecessary to determine whether the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 applicant had effective remedies in respect of the violation alleged, as even assuming that in the circumstances of the present case no such remedies were available to him, he was released Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 from custody on 3 May 2000, whereas his application to this Court was lodged more than six months later on 20 December 2001.

88. It follows that the applicant's complaint concerning the conditions of detention was lodged Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 out of time, and therefore the Court is unable to take cognisance of its merits.


II. The government's preliminary objection

as to exhaustion of domestic remedies


A. Arguments of the parties


89. The Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 Government requested that the Court declare the complaint inadmissible as the applicant had failed to exhaust domestic remedies. The Government outlined several possible available legal remedies.

90. They submitted that the applicant Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 could have complained to a military prosecutor concerning the actions of the servicemen who had guarded him prior to his arrival at the pre-trial detention centre. He could have complained of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the conditions of detention to a prosecutor, but he did not submit any complaints while in detention. It was also open to the applicant to appeal to a court against the decisions Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of the Pyatigorsk Town Prosecutor's Office of 21 February 2001 and of the Stavropol Town Prosecutor's Office of 20 March 2001, which he failed to do. Finally, it was open to the applicant to pursue civil proceedings Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 once he was released, either in Chechnya or in the neighbouring regions.

91. The applicant disagreed with the Government's objection. Firstly, he argued that there was an administrative practice of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 non-compliance with the requirement to investigate effectively abuses committed by Russian servicemen and members of the police in Chechnya. He referred to complaints submitted to the Court by other persons claiming to be Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 victims of such abuses, who also complained about lack of effective investigation. The applicant cited reports by human rights groups, international organisations and the media on violations of civilians' rights committed Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 by federal forces and the subsequent lack of effective domestic investigation.

92. Secondly, he invoked the existence of special circumstances as a result of detention incommunicado. He explained that he had felt vulnerable, powerless Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 and apprehensive of the State representatives and therefore had been unable to submit any complaints while in detention.

93. He maintained that in any event he had exhausted domestic remedies, because upon Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 release he had applied to the prosecutor with a request to conduct an investigation into the allegations of ill-treatment. In his opinion, a criminal investigation should have been regarded Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 as a proper remedy in view of the nature of his complaints and the relevant case-law of the Court. Despite his efforts, no proper investigation took place. His complaints were rejected without proper Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 examination, and his appeal to a higher ranking prosecutor remained unanswered.

94. Application to the courts with a request for compensation could not, in his opinion, be a proper remedy for Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the type of violations alleged, and in any event would be futile in the absence of conclusions from the criminal investigation.


B. The Court's assessment


95. In the present case the Court took no decision Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 about the exhaustion of domestic remedies at the admissibility stage, having found that this question was too closely linked to the merits. It will now proceed to examine the arguments of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the parties in the light of the provisions of the Convention and its relevant practice. The Court reiterates that the rule of exhaustion of domestic remedies referred to in Article 35 § 1 of the Convention Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 obliges applicants to use first the remedies that are normally available and sufficient in the domestic legal system to enable them to obtain redress for the breaches alleged. Article 35 § 1 also requires that the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 complaints intended to be brought subsequently before the Court should have been мейд to the appropriate domestic body, at least in substance, and in compliance with the formal requirements laid down in Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 domestic law, but not that recourse should be had to remedies which are inadequate or ineffective (see Aksoy v. Turkey, judgment of 18 December 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-VI, pp Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3. 2275 - 76, §§ 51 - 52, and {Akdivar} and Others v. Turkey, judgment of 16 September 1996, Reports 1996-IV, p. 1210, §§ 65 - 67).

96. In the present case the applicant complained of several episodes of ill-treatment, which were the subjects of separate domestic investigations Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3.


1. As regards the applicant's arrest and detention

between 23 January and 18 February 2000


97. The applicant complained of ill-treatment upon arrest on 23 January 2000 and detention in Chernokozovo between 25 January and 18 February 2000. His Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 complaint of 7 December 2000 to the Grozny Town Prosecutor's Office primarily referred to that period. However, it appears that no separate investigation has been carried out by the prosecutor's office and no Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 procedural decision has been rendered. The letter of 20 April 2001 sent to HRW by the Chechnya Prosecutor's Office referred only to the investigation into the complaints in relation to the applicant Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3's detention in the pre-trial detention centres in Pyatigorsk and in Stavropol. The Government in their observations confirmed that there was no information about a separate investigation into the applicant's complaints of ill Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3-treatment in Chechnya (see paragraph 57 above).

98. In such circumstances, the Court finds that the applicant could not effectively challenge the outcome of proceedings in relation to his complaints of ill-treatment upon Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 arrest and during his detention in Chernokozovo. The Government's argument that the applicant could have appealed to a court or to a senior prosecutor is not applicable to the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 present situation, where there was no investigation, no procedural decisions and where the applicant was not мейд aware of any results of any inquiries мейд.

99. In the light of the foregoing, the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 remedy advanced by the Government cannot be considered as effective and having reasonable prospects of success. The Court accordingly dismisses the preliminary objection in so far as it relates to that Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 part of the applicant's detention.


2. As regards the applicant's detention between

18 February and 3 May 2000


100. As regards the applicant's complaints about ill-treatment in the pre-trial detention centres in Pyatigorsk and Stavropol Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3, they were examined by the local prosecutors. Following an investigation, on 21 February 2001 the Pyatigorsk Town Prosecutor decided not to institute criminal proceedings. On 20 March 2001, also following an investigation, the Stavropol Town Prosecutor Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 took a similar decision. Under Article 113 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which was in force at the material time, that decision was amenable to an appeal to a higher prosecutor or Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 a court of general jurisdiction (see paragraph 84 above). While HRW on at least two occasions wrote to the Prosecutor General (see paragraphs 46 and 50 above), the Government pointed out that the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 applicant had not used the second avenue of appeal.

101. As regards appeal to a higher prosecutor, the Court has already held on several occasions that an appeal to a higher prosecutor does not give Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the person employing it a personal right to the exercise by the State of its supervisory powers, and that such an appeal does not therefore constitute an effective remedy within the meaning of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 Article 35 of the Convention (see Slyusarev v. Russia (dec.), No. 60333/00, 9 November 2006).

102. The position is, however, different with regard to the possibility of challenging before a court of general jurisdiction a prosecutor Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3's decision not to investigate complaints of ill-treatment. In such cases contentious proceedings are instituted, to which the applicant and the prosecutor are parties. In public and adversarial proceedings an independent tribunal Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 is called upon to assess whether the applicant has a prima facie case of ill-treatment and, if he has, to reverse the prosecutor's decision and order a Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 criminal investigation. The Court has already found that in the Russian legal system, the power of a court to reverse a decision not to institute criminal proceedings is a substantial safeguard against Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the arbitrary exercise of powers by the investigating authorities (see Trubnikov v. Russia (dec.), No. 49790/99, 14 October 2003).

103. In the present case the applicant did not make use of the judicial appeal option. He invoked Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 in this respect the existence of an administrative practice of non-investigation of complaints against the actions of the "power structures" in Chechnya and special circumstances resulting from his detention incommunicado. The Court notes Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 in this respect that the detention and the ill-treatment in question occurred outside of Chechnya, and the applicant did not allege that this administrative practice extended to other regions. As Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 regards the second argument, the Court notes that the applicant was informed of the decisions of the relevant prosecutors' offices more than a year after his release from detention.

104. The Court also notes Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 that the applicant was assisted by a number of human rights organisations, who intervened on his behalf before the prosecutor's offices. No explanation has been offered for their failure Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 to lodge, or to advise the first applicant to lodge, a judicial appeal against the prosecutors' decision not to investigate his allegations of ill-treatment.

105. In the light of the above considerations, the Court Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 finds that the applicant's complaints concerning his alleged ill-treatment in detention between 18 February and 3 May 2000 must be dismissed for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies pursuant to Article Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 35 § 1 of the Convention.


III. Alleged violation of Article 3 of the Convention


106. The applicant alleged a violation of Article 3, which reads:

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


A Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3. Alleged ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities


1. Arguments of the parties


107. The applicant maintained that he had been subjected to torture while in detention. He referred to his detailed submissions about the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 ill-treatment, to the medical documents produced after his release and to the witness statements which corroborated his account. He alleged that the documents submitted by the Government could Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 not be regarded as conclusive evidence of the contrary, because some had been issued in 2004 and the records kept in 2000 were not accurate. Even these documents acknowledged that he had had a bruise Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 on his shoulder (his medical record мейд upon admission to Chernokozovo, see paragraph 66 above). He also referred to reports by NGOs, Council of Europe documents and other complaints brought to the Court that Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 denounced the widespread ill-treatment of detainees in Chechnya, and particularly at the Chernokozovo detention centre.

108. The Government denied that the applicant had been subjected to unlawful violence while in detention. They stated Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 that he had been examined by medical staff upon admission to the pre-trial detention centres in Chernokozovo, Pyatigorsk and Stavropol and that no injuries had been recorded apart from Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 a bruise on his shoulder on 25 January 2000. They stressed that the records showed that other detainees had had more serious injuries recorded, which proved their accuracy (see paragraph 66 above). The applicant had Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 not sought medical assistance while in detention and had not submitted any complaints of ill-treatment. As to the examinations carried out after his release, the Government remarked that the applicant Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 had only obtained a medical opinion in March 2001, which was over ten months after his release from custody. They pointed out that even that document was not a proper medical expert's report Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 but an anonymous "consultative opinion". The document drawn up on 22 May 2001 by a doctor from {Medecins} Sans {Frontieres} was in French only and in any case that medical examination could not be considered official Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3.


2. The Court's assessment


109. The Court reiterates that the authorities have an obligation to protect the physical integrity of persons in detention. Where an individual, when taken into police custody, is in Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 good health, but is found to be injured at the time of release, it is incumbent on the State to provide a plausible explanation of how those injuries were caused. Otherwise, torture Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 or ill-treatment may be presumed in favour of the claimant and an issue may arise under Article 3 of the Convention (see Tomasi v. France, judgment of 27 August 1992, Series A No Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3. 241-A, pp. 40 - 41, §§ 108 - 111, and Selmouni v. France [GC], No. 25803/94, § 87, ECHR 1999-V).

110. In assessing evidence, the Court has generally applied the standard of proof "beyond reasonable doubt" (see Ireland v. the United Kingdom, judgment of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 18 January 1978, Series A No. 25, pp. 64 - 65, § 161). However, proof may follow from the coexistence of sufficiently strong, clear and concordant inferences or of similar unrebutted presumptions of fact. Where the events in issue lie wholly Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3, or in large part, within the exclusive knowledge of the authorities, as in the case of persons within their control in custody, strong presumptions of fact will arise in respect of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 injuries occurring during such detention. Indeed, the burden of proof may be regarded as lying with the authorities to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation (see Ribitsch v. Austria, judgment of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 4 December 1995, Series A No. 336, § 34, and Salman v. Turkey [GC], No. 21986/93, § 100, ECHR 2000-VII).

111. In the present case the applicant alleged that as a result of ill-treatment in Chernokozovo he had suffered Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 a broken nose, a head trauma, broken ribs and mental distress. In support of his allegations the applicant referred to his own submissions, to the witness statements of his relatives and to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 two unofficial medical documents obtained ten and twelve months after his release. He also referred to the publicly available information about the situation in Chernokozovo at the relevant time, which spoke of the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 wide-spread physical abuse of detainees and the absence of investigation into credible allegations of ill-treatment. The Government questioned the validity and relevance of the medical documents. They also referred to the results Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of prosecutorial inquiries which revealed an absence of recorded complaints or injuries in the three separate detention facilities during the applicant's admission and detention.

112. The Court notes that the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 applicant did not seek medical assistance while in detention, nor immediately upon release in Ingushetia, where he resided at that time. This is at variance with the alleged seriousness of his condition. The absence Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of a passport which, as he claimed, had prevented him from having access to a doctor, could not be an obstacle to seeking urgent medical assistance for such a Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 protracted period of time. In any event, the medical documents obtained by him in March and May 2001 do not refer to the time or circumstances when the noted scars and traumas could have been caused Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3. To the contrary, three medical reports drawn up while the applicant was in detention, in the pre-trial detention centres in Chernokozovo, Pyatigorsk and Stavropol, did not refer to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 any injuries or complaints (see, a contrario, Chitayev and Chitayev v. Russia, No. 59334/00, §§ 150 - 151, 18 January 2007).

113. As to the applicant's reference to public reports about the situation in Chernokozovo at the relevant time, it Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 is true that the Court can, in certain circumstances, take into account reliable reports about the situation in a particular prison when evaluating the conditions of detention (see, for an example of the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 Court's taking into account of the reports of the CPT, Kehayov v. Bulgaria, No. 41035/98, § 66, 18 January 2005). However, it would be to seriously over-stretch such practice to apply it to allegations of ill Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3-treatment, in particular those as serious as in the present case. The findings of the CPT or of any other relevant body do not in themselves, and in the absence Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of evidence of individual suffering of the intensity required for a finding of a breach of Article 3, provide a basis for a conclusion that there has been a breach of Article 3 of the Convention Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 in the applicant's case.

114. In such circumstances, the principle evidence in support of the applicant's allegations of ill-treatment remains his own statements and the statements of Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 his wife and sister-in-law. While they cannot be considered entirely objective, the Court notes that the applicant first complained to the prosecutors in December 2000, by which time his former cell-mates Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 could no longer be identified. The staff of the detention centres in Pyatigorsk and Stavropol, including medical workers, submitted to the prosecutors that they did not recall any injuries to or complaints from Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the applicant, while the records for other detainees contained more detailed entries.

115. The Court finds that on the basis of the evidence submitted by the parties it cannot establish to the Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 required standard of proof that the applicant's injuries were sustained while he was in detention, in the situation as described by him. It is also unable to conclude that the applicant was subjected Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 to ill-treatment at the hands of the authorities while in detention between 23 January and 18 February 2000.

116. Accordingly, there has been no violation of Article 3 in this connection.


B. Alleged inadequacy Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 of the investigation


117. The applicant argued that the investigation into his complaints of ill-treatment did not attain the level of effectiveness required by the Convention standards and the domestic legal provisions Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3.

118. The Government retorted that the applicant's allegations of ill-treatment were dismissed by the prosecutor's office as unfounded after a proper verification.

119. Where an individual raises an arguable claim that Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 he or she has been seriously ill-treated by the police in breach of Article 3, that provision, read in conjunction with the State's general duty under Article 1 of the Convention to "secure to Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in... [the] Convention", requires by implication that there should be an effective official investigation. This investigation should be capable of leading Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 to the identification and punishment of those responsible (see Assenov and Others, judgment of 28 October 1998, Reports 1998-VIII, p. 3290, § 102, and Labita v. Italy [GC], No. 26772/95, § 131, ECHR 2000-IV). The minimum standards as to effectiveness defined by Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 the Court's case-law also include the requirements that the investigation must be independent, impartial and subject to public scrutiny, and that the competent authorities must act with exemplary Европейский суд по правам человека первая секция дело "медов (medov) против российской федерации" - страница 3 diligence and promptness (see, for example, Isayeva and Others v. Russia, Nos. 57947/00, 57948/00 and 57949/00, §§ 208 - 213, 24 February 2005).


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