Only two years after the judgment police abuse victim Gennady Denisov receives compensation

Событие | Пресс центр

02 March 2012

On February 28 he was paid 30 thousand rubles. This sum had been awarded to him as compensation of moral damage incurred by ill-treatment by the police.

We would like to remind you the facts of this old case. At night on April 23, 2004 a theft was committed in agricultural cooperative Sechenovsky, Denisov who was working as a watchman there, was detained as a suspect and taken to the Sechenovsky District Department of Internal Affairs. In order to make Denisov confess to the crime, three policemen hit him with their hands and legs, tied him to a chair with a belt, put a gas mask on his head, blew smoke into the hose and shut the air off. Several times the victim fainted. Being unable to stand the tortures and death threats, he agreed to sign the statement about an accidental injury.

After the incident Gennady Denisov applied to INGO “Committee against Torture”. Thanks to its efforts, the case reached the court and in 2007 three police officers in charge of tortures were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment. 

In May 2009 Denisov lodged a suit for compensation of moral damage in the amount of 1 million rubles against the Russian Finance Ministry. In December of the same year the suit was sustained in part and Denisov was awarded 30 000 rubles to be paid by the Russian and Nizhny Novgorod regional Finance Ministries.  

This case is a good illustration of standard proceedings in Russia:

On 02.04.2004 the victim lodged a crime report about abuse by law enforcers. 

On 02.06.2004 criminal proceedings were instigated under p.1 of Article 112 of the Russian Criminal Code (willful infliction of damage to health of medium severity).

On 27.12.2005 the case was referred to court. At first the investigative authorities tried to present the case as a mere quarrel. Thanks to the efforts of the CAT the case was transferred from the Sechenovsky District Prosecutor’s Office to the Krasnooktyabrsky District PO, and later – to the Special Investigation Department of the Nizhny Novgorod Regional PO. Only after that the pre-trial investigation actually became independent

On 22.05.2006, a little less than 5 months after criminal case submission to court, a preliminary hearing was scheduled in breach of p.3 of Art. 227 and p.1 of Art.233 of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code.

On 26.12.2007 the court delivered a verdict of guilty. It must be noted that final adjudication under the case was constantly postponed, and only after INGO “Committee Against Torture” addressed the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court Chairman, the proceedings got moving.

However, that was not the end yet. It turned out very difficult to obtain the compensation award, and due to numerous judicial delays accompanied, among other things, by omissions in law enforcement on behalf of the judicial authorities, the compensation was awarded only two years later.  

Specialists of the Committee Against Torture have many times pointed out that both investigative and judicial authorities actually stonewall pre-trial and judicial investigations under similar cases, as well as adjudication under civil suits for compensation.  In fact, if it were not for ICAT involvement, the majority of cases would have fallen apart and never reached the court.

Such mutual cover-up, when Investigative Committee or Prosecutor’s Office employees are doing their best to ensure that their colleagues, law enforcers, escape responsibility, brings its evident results manifested in torture practice. And though law enforcers in charge of tortures are sometimes held responsible, prosecutorial workers and investigators in charge of omissions and negligence, intentionally delaying and terminating proceedings, generally remain unpunished.

The Committee Against Torture is sure that only independent investigation of such crimes and, consequently, inevitable prosecution of perpetrators can change the situation.