On 10 December 2013 the Nizhegorodskiy District Court of Nizhny Novgorod city partly sustained Mr Vadim Korolev’s claim for compensation for moral damage inflicted by the ineffective investigation into his being beaten by the police in 2007. The court awarded 10 000 rubles in compensation, the plaintiff demanded 30 000 rubles.
In 2008 Vadim Korolev, a Nizhny Novgorod resident, applied to the INGO «Committee Against Torture». According to the man, on 24 march 2007, at about 11 pm, he was at the entrance of Diveevskiy Culture Center together with some friends of his, when a man dressed in civilian clothing came over. Mr Korolev knew him to be police officer Kryazhev. The policeman was unwilling to share the culture center’s front porch with anyone else, and asked the company to look for another place to stay. Having noticed that the policeman was drunk, the friends decided to leave in order to avoid any possible conflict.
However, the conflict appeared to be inevitable. The intoxicated law enforcement agent started accosting a girl, and Vadim’s attempt to protect her ended up badly. Threatening to use force the officer made Mr Korolev get into a car, and took him to Diveevo District Department of the Interior. There, the policeman began to beat Vadim, kicking his legs with heavy military boots, so that Vadim kept feeling strong pain not only during, but also long after the beating.
According to Vadim, there was one officer Kryazhev’s colleague watching the scene who didn’t seem to find it necessary to interfere with the action. After the battery the policeman took his victim’s belonging away, and placed him into a cell, where the young man was kept under detention till the morning of March 26. Mr Korolev immediately went to hospital, where doctors observed bruises, abrasions and contusions on his lower legs and joints, and abrasions of on his elbows.
Mr Korolev filed his ill-treatment complaint with the District Prosecutor’s Office. In the course of the pre-investigation inquiry investigators issued four unlawful refusals to open criminal proceedings, each of them subsequently appealed against by human rights defenders. Nevertheless, the fifth refusal to investigate was declared lawful by the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court.
Having exhausted all domestic remedies available for Mr Vadim Korolev, lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights on his behalf. On 12 December 2012 the complaint was communicated to the Government.
Concurrently, the human rights defenders filed a claim for compensation for moral damage which was satisfied on 10 December 2013.
«This court decision has confirmed our opinion that the investigation into Mr Vladimir Korolev’s ill-treatment allegations was ineffective», says Anton Ryzhov, international law expert of the Committee Against Torture, «What other arguments might investigative bodies need to decide on initiating criminal proceedings and investigating the complaint diligently? As for the expected judgment by the ECHR, I don’t think our domestic authorities even care. As we know, any compensation awarded by the Strasbourg court, as well as by any domestic one, is payed from tax-payers’ pockets. The investigators who allowed the delay and carried out that formalistic inquiry are going to experience no negative consequences. This situation may be changed for the better if adequate personal responsibility is introduced. For instance, if the obligation to pay compensations awarded by the ECHR (say, one million rubles) lies upon the shoulders of certain officials. However, we have never come across such instances in our practice».