Week-ending 25 September 2020
This week there were five judgments of the European Court of Human Rights concerning Russia. The rulings found the following violations: excessive length of criminal proceedings (Article 6 § 1); using a confession in court obtained in absense of a lawyer Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention; torture (Article 3); lack of investigation of torture (Article 3); unrecorded detention (Article 5); failure to permit appropriate examination of witnesses in a trial (Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d)); lack of due reparation under domestic law (Article 41).
Balbashev v. Russia, 22 September 2020, found a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention on account of the excessive length of the criminal proceedings; and a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (c) of the Convention on account of the use in evidence of the applicant’s statement of surrender and confession, which was obtained in the absence of access to a lawyer. The Court awarded EUR 2,600 in respect of non-pecuniary damage to the applicant.
Chudalovy v. Russia, 22 September 2020, found a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its substantive and procedural limbs on account of the first applicant’s ill-treatment in the Leninskiy ROVD in January 2005 and later in IK-4, as well as on account of the lack of effective investigation into those matters; and a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. The Court awarded the respondent EUR 67,600 to the first applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,000 in respect of costs and expenses.
Vasilyev and Others v. Russia, 22 September 2020, found a violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 3 (d) of the Convention in respect of Mr Andreyev, Mr Salimzyanov and Mr Valiullov. The Court held that the finding of a violation constitutes in itself sufficient just satisfaction for the non-pecuniary damage sustained by the applicants and ruled that Mr Andreyev, Mr Salimzyanov and Mr Valiullov be paid EUR 1,000 jointly in respect of costs and expenses.
Lvin v. Russia, 22 September 2020, in which the Court decided to revise its judgment of 4 December 2018 in so far as it concerns the claims made by the applicant under Article 41 of the Convention and ordered the respondent State to secure without delay and by appropriate means the enforcement of the domestic judgment of 9 April 2007 or, in the alternative, if the enforcement is no longer possible, grant the applicant’s heir Ms Yelena Vadimovna Lvina reasonable compensation, or a combination of these and other measures. The Court ruled that Ms Yelena Vadimovna Lvina, the applicant’s heir, must be paid EUR 6,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
X and Y v. Russia, 22 September 2020, a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its substantive limb, in that the first applicant has been subjected to torture; a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its procedural limb, on account of the lack of an effective investigation into the first applicant’s allegation of ill-treatment; a violation of Article 5 of the Convention on account of the first applicant’s unrecorded detention. The Court ruled the first applicant must be paid EUR 50,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 2,000 in respect of costs and expenses.
On 23 September 2020, Caucasian Knot on its English-language website reported the following:
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has obliged Russian authorities to pay 50,500 euros to Musa Lomaev, who emigrated after being detained and tortured in Grozny. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that Lomaev left Chechnya for Finland, fearing persecution. Before that, in May 2004, law enforcers kidnapped and tortured him in Grozny, demanding to self-slander. In 2005, the Supreme Court (SC) of Chechnya found Lomaev not guilty. The ECtHR has found that Musa Lomaev, a Grozny resident, whose case had been dealt with by the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, was tortured. The applicant was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. He could not sleep at night and found it difficult to navigate in space, says the website of the human rights organization “Legal Initiative”.
On 24 September 2020 Caucasian Knot reported the following:
The Chechen blogger, Musa Lomaev, who was awarded compensation of 50,500 euros by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), treats this amount as insignificant. His aim of applying to the ECtHR was to restore justice, he has added. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported that the ECtHR obliged the Russian authorities to pay 50,500 euros to Lomaev, who emigrated after being detained and tortured in Grozny. On air of the “Dozhd” (Rain) TV Channel, Lomaev commented on the ECtHR’s decision on the compensation. According to his version, this money means “absolutely nothing.” “I’ve lost my hearing; I have a contusion; my ribs are broken; and my backbone is damaged. I am limping in one leg’ and all my internal organs are beaten off … Therefore, 50,000 is nothing,” he said. “Unfortunately, today, a lot of people like me are kept in Russian prisons; and most of them had been awarded huge prison terms undeservedly,” Mr Lomaev has noted, adding that “the Russian justice system works negatively against Chechens.”
Caucasian Knot also reported on 24 September 2020 the following:
Blogger Musa Lomaev, who left for Finland after subjected to torture, does not care about his relatives who live in Chechnya and has no moral right to criticize the republic’s authorities, his former wife says in a video appeal. It is unacceptable for a woman to criticize her former husband, Instagram users emphasize. The “Caucasian Knot” has reported Musa Lomaev announced that a man suspected of an attempt on his life was detained on September 10. Musa Lomaev was provided with bodyguards. Meanwhile, for the course of the investigation, law enforcers limited his activity on a YouTube channel, in which the blogger criticized the authorities of Chechnya.
Halya Coynash, writing in Human Rights in Ukraine on 7 October 2020 pointed out the importance of the ECtHR’s ruling in Vasilyev and Others v. Russia on the matter of secret witnesses:
The European Court of Human Rights has found that Russia violated the right to a fair trial of three men because of the unwarranted use of ‘secret witnesses’ to convict them. The judgement is of critical importance as Russia’s FSB have developed a whole conveyor belt of repression in occupied Crimea, with Ukrainian Muslims receiving sentences of up to 20 years’ imprisonment almost entirely on the testimony of such anonymous ‘witnesses’. The Case of Vasilyev and Others v. Russia and the judgement passed on 22 September 2020 are important for other reasons as well, not least due to huge differences in the charges laid on the basis of the same secretive Supreme Court ruling from 2003 and in the sentences passed. Judging by the Court in Strasbourg’s assessment, there seems to have been only one charge where the sole ‘evidence’ was provided by secret witnesses, which is in stark contrast to their pivotal role in virtually all the cases in occupied Crimea.