“Is it the first time that you hear criticism about the quality of the investigators’ work?”


27 December 2018
Sergey Babinets

Lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets read the interview of Presiding Judge of the Moscow City Court Olga Egorova, in which he complained that investigators “forgot how to collect and analyze evidence”, as well as immediate feedback from Chairman of the Investigative Committee Aleksandr Bastrykin. And that is what he thinks about it:

“Yesterday, at 8.30 Interfax published interview of Presiding Judge of the Moscow City Court Olga Egorova, who provided an uncomplimentary feedback about the quality of work of the Investigative Committee investigators. Among other statements, there was a phrase: “alas, the investigators forgot how to collect and analyze evidence”.

The Investigative Committee responded very promptly – after 12 hours. I’m not exaggerating when I’m saying it was very prompt; believe me, for the Investigative Committee it is virtually at lightning speed! At 20.24, the Investigative Committee website published a report: “With regard to assessment of the investigation, expressed by the community of judges, the Chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia ordered to corresponding subdivisions of the central office of the authority to request all the criminal cases which were returned by Moscow courts, as well as audit proceedings for criminal cases in which acquitting judgement were passed, including by jury trial.

The Investigative Committee Central Office will perform large-scale analytical work. Its objective is to thoroughly examine the materials of these criminal cases, objectively evaluate the quality of the preliminary investigation, justification of the taken procedural rulings and, based on that, provide evaluation of the investigators’ professionalism, who were in charge of these criminal cases, as well as of the officers of the competing departments of the authority.

In case it is revealed that public officers committed violations or failed to perform exhaustive measures to collect and register high-quality evidence basis, disciplinary measures will be performed if there is evidence thereof”.

Bewilderment, and in my case – indignation, is caused by the fact Bastrykin’s reacted specifically to comments from the Presiding Judge of the Moscow City Court.
Aleksandr Ivanovich, is Egorova the only person who is not satisfied with the Investigative Committee’s work? Is it the first time that you hear criticism about the quality of the investigators’ work?

Only a couple of weeks before, on 11 December, in the Kremlin a meeting of Council for development of civic institutions and human rights under the chairmanship of Vladimir Putin was held. During this meeting, Chairman of the Committee Against Torture Igor Kalyapin raised a problem that he has been busy with for many years – plainly unprofessional work of the Investigative Committee’s investigators, who systematically issue illegal rulings and engage in red-tape in checks of complaints against battery in police and the Federal Penitentiary Service.

However, either in 12 hours or later, there was no public reaction from Aleksandr Bastrykin’s organization to this report of human rights defender to the President of the country.

But nevermind the Presidential Council…

Every day, dozens (if not hundreds) of applications, complaints, statements from lawyers, solicitors, human rights defenders against poor quality of investigation is submitted to Bastrykin, his deputies and heads of regional departments of the Investigative Committee. In our Committee Against Torture we are trying to achieve progress in several dozens of cases, for which the Investigative Committee issues standard refusals to initiate criminal cases, year after year. For years it has been impossible to have effective investigation even for the cases which received allegedly promising comment – “the case is followed up by the Central Office of the Investigative Committee”.

Sometimes, the sabotage of the investigation continues up to the expiry of the period of limitations when it is no longer possible to bring the culprits to criminal responsibility. At the same time, the investigators, who illegally and repeatedly refused to open the criminal case, later on successfully climb the career ladder.

We are complaining. And complaining. And complaining…Not only us, but all over the country.

But, for some reason, Aleksandr Ivanovich prefers to react to a short interview of the Presiding Judge of the Moscow City, publicly responding to criticism from the above while ignoring the criticism from below.

And now I’d like to address Presiding Judge of the Moscow City Ms Egorova.

Olga Aleksandrovna, why don’t you have any claims against the Prosecutor’s Office? Surely, no criminal case will ever be sent to court without the sanction of the Prosecutor.

Every time the investigator comes to a conclusion that enough evidence is collected, which proves that the defendant committed a crime, he develops an indictment and submits it together with the criminal case to the Prosecutor. The Prosecutor examines the case and the indictment and, if he agrees with the investigator’s conclusions and the collected evidence, he approves the indictment and sends it to court.

Don’t you think that the supervising authority represented by the Prosecutor’s Office should explain how (without evidence) they approved these cases and then supported them in court?

I will repeat Igor Kalyapin’s question, which you also could ask yourself and your colleagues from the community of judges: “Why then professional judges don’t pass verdicts of not guilty? Have the judges forgotten to evaluate the evidence that the investigators forgot how to collect? Or professional judges don’t need evidence at all?”

But, it seems, many of these questions are rhetorical ones…

Let us hope that the result of all these checks in the Investigative Committee will not be a deep deduction that it’s all the court jurymen fault, because they don’t understand judicial proceedings, and that’s why they pass the verdicts of not guilty”.

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