Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Dmitry Kazakov comments the news that new departments will be established for special investigations at the Investigative Committee of Russia:
“In 2012 special departments were created already at the Investigative Committee – to investigate the crimes committed by law-enforcement executives.
3 officers were assigned for each federal district, for Moscow and Saint-Petersburg – 10 for each, and 6 more people for the Chief Investigative Directorate of the Investigative Committee.
Were these special departments any good at all? Taking into account this miniscule amount of cases which they could take because of their limited headcount – undoubtedly, they were.
Has the setting up of such special departments in this formant resolved the issue of effective investigation of torture complaints? Certainly, not. Three persons are not capable of investigating all torture complaints, coming from all the regions of any federal districts, and even from one region. Let alone to provide the effective investigation.
Is it necessary to establish new special departments – in particular, for investigation of crimes against minors or drug-induced crimes? Probably, yes.
Is creation of special departments (in the format which is described in the article) capable of significantly influence the effectiveness of investigating certain categories of crimes? Highly unlikely, if we take into account the experience of special departments’ work on investigating crimes of law-enforcement officers.
If the state has a task to create an efficient system of investigation of some crime categories, then the approaches to special departments’ creation should be totally different. It is necessary to resolve the whole range of issues, such as staffing (with which the Investigative Committee has problems now), financial support, development and implementation of methods for investigating particular categories of crimes, resolving issue on prompt support of investigation, and etc.
If the objective is in creating a glamorous image, including for neat reports in various international bodies (as it was, for example, at the UN Committee Against Torture) – then everything is done as it should”.