Mr. Rzhavin applied to Regional NGO “Man and Law” (Mariy El) and later – to the Mariy El representation of the Interregional Committee Against Torture asking for help. Besides, he filed an application to the Prosecutor’s Office. However the Yoshkar-Ola Prosecutor’s Office appeared incapable of protecting the pensioner’s rights. The investigation authorities issued several unlawful refusals to initiate a criminal case that were cancelled by Mariy El courts. But that did not help. The prosecutorial checks lasted for 6 years and finally the investigation came to a dead-end.
In 2007 the ICAT filed an application to the Strasbourg Court. In spring the court started examining the merits of the application and asked the Russian Government a series of questions. Having learnt the position of the Government, the Committee was agreeably surprised by the fact that Russia had acknowledged breaches of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention and proposed a friendly settlement to the applicant for the sum of 12 000 euro. This information was contained in the Memorandum of Russian Human Rights Commissioner in the European Court of Human Rights, deputy Russian Minister of Justice G.O. Matyuhkin. It should be noted that Russia has on the international level acknowledged that Mr. Rzhavin was subject to inhuman treatment, unlawfully deprived of liberty, and the investigation authorities under the prosecutor’s office did not carry out an adequate investigation.
On November 25, 2010 Boris Rzhavin agreed to waive any further claims against Russia and concluded a friendly settlement agreement with the state.
We would like to remind you that at the beginning of this year the European Court of Human Rights asked the Russian Government questions under the case of Senura citizen Elvira Kislitsina (Mariy El Republic). The RF acknowledged breaches of Articles 2, 3, 13 of the ECHR in its Memorandum and proposed a friendly settlement. The Court suggested that Kislitsina should receive 50 000 euro as compensation of moral damage.
It is worth mentioning that despite the acknowledgement of violations, in neither of the cases the Mariy El Ministry of the Interior found it necessary to apologize, and even openly refused to do so claiming that it was not obliged to apologize for human rights violations under law. Unlike the Yoshkar-Ola prosecutor who publicly apologized to Rzhavin.
In such context we hope that the situation with tortures in Mariy El will change to the better triggered by the development of “Rzhavin v. Russia” and “Kislitsina v. Russia”, and the investigative authorities will investigate into similar allegations more thoroughly and objectively.