35 000 rubles in compensation for breached trial time limits when examining ill-treatment complaint


19 December 2013

On 18 December 1012 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Bashkortostan partly sustained Veronika Rozkulieva’s claim for compensation for procedural time limits breached by domestic court when examining her ill-treatment complaints. The court awarded 35 000 rubles compensation; the plaintiff initially claimed 50 000 rubles.

(Photo: Veronika Rozkulieva)

As we have previously reported, in the summer of 2010 Veronika Rozkulieva applied to the Bashkortostan regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» seeking legal assistance. She claimed that in February 2010 she was beaten up in the Alshaevskiy Department of the Interior. According to the applicant, police captain Azat Shunkarov attempted to make her responsible for theft of a cell phone belonging to the chief of the cafe she worked for as a waitress. The woman rejected any involvement in the crime. She stated that the policeman inflicted her numerous blows to the head and body with his hands and a truncheon. Medical examinations observed such injuries as acute closed craniocerebral injury, brain concussion, and numerous bruises on different parts of her body.

It must be noted that in a month after the aggressive interrogation the police discovered that the missing cell phone had been taken by another person.

On 29 March 2010 the Belebeevsk Interdistrict Investigating Department of the Investigative Committee for the Bashkortostan Republic instituted criminal proceedings concerning the battery of the young woman on the grounds of evidence of a crime under Article 286 (3) (a) of the Criminal Code of Russia (exceeding official powers with the use of violence).

On 18 May 2011 the case was brought to trial before the Alshaevskiy District Court of the Bashkortostan Republic. The case was pending before the court for almost two years.

On March 21 the Alshaevskiy District Court found Azat Shunkarov guilty under Article 286 (3) (a) CC RF (exceeding official powers with the use of violence) and sentenced the policeman to 1 year of probation with a 3 year and 6 months suspended sentence, prohibited him to hold offices in the civil service for the term of 1 year and 6 months. The accused and his lawyer did not agree with the judgment and appealed against it.

On 18 July 2013 the Higher Court of the Bashkortostan Republic delivered an appellate decision in the case against police captain Azat Shunkarov. The Higher Court upheld the ruling of the court of the first instance that gave the officer three year and six month suspended sentence. In addition, the Higher Court held that the convicted must be prohibited to hold those offices in the civil service that imply representing public authorities.

Lawyers working with the INGO «Committee Against Torture» in Bashkortostan believed that the district court had breached procedural time limits provided by federal laws for examining Veronika Rozkulieva’s ill-treatment complaints, and therefore, the victim should demand just compensation. Thus, human right defenders applied to the Supreme Court of the Republic and served a claim against the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation. The Investigating Directorate of the Investigative Committee for the Republic of Bashkortostan, which had been in charge of the case, was summoned to the court as a third party.

Human right defenders argued that reasonable procedural time limit had been breached by the Alsheevsliy District Court, because multiple forensic examinations granted by the court on the defendant’s motions had caused unnecessary delays. The Committee lawyers objected to those requests, noting that the existing in the case file forensic examinations reports were sufficient, but the district court ordered several more examinations.

In the end, the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan delivered decision partly granting the plaintiff’s request for compensation, and awarded her 35 000 rubles to be paid by the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation.

Lawyer working with Bashkirian regional branch of the INGO «Committee Against Torture» Ayrat Davletshin, who represented Ms Rozkulieva’s interests commented on the decision: «This is the first instance in our practice when a court has awarded compensation for breached trial time limit. We are happy with the fact that the Supreme Court of Bashkortostan has delivered its decision with regard to the European Court of Human Rights case-law, for the sum is comparable to those compensations awarded by the Strasbourg Court».

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