Commissioner Hammarberg says, “Flawed enforcement of court decisions undermines the trust in State justice”.
“Court decisions are not fully respected in several European countries. This must be seen as a refusal to accept the rule of law and is a serious human rights problem”, says the Commissioner on his web-page. “Court decisions in these countries are often enforced only partly or with long delays – or sometimes not at all. This is a structural problem which should require the national authorities to take priority action. Cases of non-enforcement of domestic judicial decisions are raised in a great number of complaints to the Strasbourg Court of human rights. Among countries with such cases are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine.”
Highlighting concrete measures defined by the Council of Europe to address the problem of delayed or insufficient implementation on domestic court decisions, the Commissioner calls for more action by key national actors, including parliamentarians and independent national institutions. “The credibility of the justice system is at stake. It is not sufficient to reform legislation, increase the resources of the courts or encourage the public to settle their disputes in court. Members of the public who have placed their trust in the judicial system should obtain satisfaction, not only on paper but also in practice”.
You may remember that on 15 January 2009 the European Court of Human Rights delivered its first “pilot” judgment against Russia – “Burdov vs. Russia – no.2”. Such judgments are issued only if the Court pinpoints structural problems in this or that state. In Russia this problem is significant delays in the execution of court decisions. More than 50 percent of applications coming to the European Court from Russia describe such situations. On 4 May 2009 this judgment entered into force. Now, till November the Russian authorities are to work out “effective domestic remedies that would allow for adequate and sufficient redress at domestic level” and pay out compensations of damage to all victims of non-execution of domestic court judgments within 6 months.
At the same time, today we have sent an application from Vadim Korolyov, citizen of the village of Diveyevo (Nizhny Novgorod region) claiming police abuse to the ECtHR. The Interregional Committee against Torture that the young man had asked for help conducted a public investigation which showed that Vadim’s rights under article 3 of the ECHR had been violated (prohibition of torture and obligation to conduct an effective investigation).
According to Mr. Korolyov, on 24 March 2007 around 11 p.m. he was detained by officer Kryazhin on the allegations of “using obscene language in public” and taken to a police-station. At the police-station he was beaten and locked up in a cell.
The following day Mr. Korolyov went to hospital where his injuries were documented. He had bruises, hemorrhages on his shins and joints,abrasions on his elbows. After that Mr. Korolyov filed a complaint to the Diveyevo Prosecutor’s Office hoping that the state would protect his rights. However, within a year and a half the investigation bodies issued six refusals to open criminal proceedings, five of which were later cancelled as unlawful. This spring Korolyov’s claims were dismissed in courts of two levels – city and regional. Now Vadim can only put his trust in European Justice.