Today the Interregional Committee against Torture has sent the results of the yearly analysis of incompliance with the current law by investigation agents in four Russian regions to the RF Prosecutor General’s Office, Investigation Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s Office and their regional offices.
According to the analytic report, violations of the Criminal Procedure Code, Constitution, federal laws and internal regulations of the Prosecutor General’s Office and Investigation Committee by investigators and their heads occur on a regular basis. One of the most common violations registered in 2008 in all regions mentioned above is issuing unlawful procedural decisions that are later cancelled by the court or higher-standing Investigation Committee officials due to lawyers’ complaints.
Major violations arise from unlawful refusals to open criminal proceedings on the allegations of torture or violent treatment used by law enforcement agents, refusals to provide case materials to victims’ representatives that are not their defense lawyers, and another widespread violation is failure to notify the applicant of the decision taken under his/her application.
It should be mentioned that Mariy El is the only region where the investigation authorities have drawn conclusions from court decisions canceling their unlawful decisions. For example, due to multiple complaints of the Committee against Torture about unlawful prohibitions for non-lawyers to represent the applicant, the Investigation Administration of the Investigation Committee under the RF Prosecutor’s Office for Mariy El issued a written decree obliging investigators to sustain such applicants’ motions.
Unfortunately, so far this is the only improvement. Investigation authorities of Nizhny Novgorod region, Bashkiria and Chechnya are far from feeling the necessity to pinpoint and correct violations on their own with basing on the judicial practice.
Nevertheless, the Committee against Torture is sure that it is in the interests of both citizens and the state itself represented by the Prosecutor’s office to overcome the practice of routine violations when working with citizens’ complaints about tortures or unlawful violent treatment by state agents.
As a result of numerous Criminal Procedure Code violations, individuals either have no chance to use their right to an effective investigation or it becomes rather difficult to use this right.
Violation of this right, in its turn, means that the state breaches its obligation to protect human rights, and the European Court has many times emphasized this in its judgments.
The Interregional Committee against Torture is sure that nowadays it is the Prosecutor’s Office bodies that have the necessary powers and possibilities to solve the problems linked to effective protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The prosecutor’s office as the major supervisory body in Russia is to control how investigation staff implements the law and legal regulations, it is an indispensable part of work targeted at creating a legal space in the country.