The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, adopted on 4 November 1950, secures fundamental individual guarantees. The rights and freedoms listed in the Convention are based on the principle of respect for human dignity, as any human rights violation – be it beatings of a tied up person, unlawful arrest, intrusion into privacy… – constitutes an attack on human dignity, in the first place.
Due to the European Court practice, the Convention is a living instrument. When interpreting the Convention, the Strasbourg Court takes into account the needs of the society and adapts the Convention to modern life. That is why this international treaty has not lost its relevance in so many years.
Russia ratified the Convention in 1998. For 12 years already, the Convention has been part of our legal system pursuant to Article 15 of the RF Constitution and must be taken into account in decision-making. There is no doubt that Russia has made considerable progress in applying and observing the European Convention. Russian Courts more and more often refer to Convention principles in their judgments. The state acknowledges human rights violations trying to settle a dispute on the domestic level. For instance, this is what has happened under the case of Mr. Rzhavin, pensioner from Mariy El. In order to prevent another ECtHR judgment staining Russia on the international level, the authorities redress the violated rights by punishing those responsible and awarding a just compensation to the victim (case of Sankin).
Unfortunately, these are only singular cases. Analysis of the ICAT practice shows that the majority of official investigations into the allegations of torture are inadequate. Still, more than 50 applications under ICAT cases are pending trial in the European Court.
The Committee Against Torture hopes that the Russian Government will further strive to implement the Convention, especially in the sphere of effective investigations into tortures and deaths.