On August 30 the Interregional Committee Against Torture celebrates its 10th anniversary. The CAT was created in 2000 by several well-known Nizhny Novgorod human rights defenders, including its today’s head Igor Kalyapin.
For all these years the organization has aimed at making the authorities respect Russian law by means of effective public control over the situation with tortures and ill-treatment in Russia and by granting professional legal and medical assistance to torture victims. Nowadays, having worked in this sensitive sphere for many years, The Committee Against Torture is the country’s largest human rights NGO specializing in professional analysis of the problem of tortures, investigation of torture complaints and all-round support of torture victims.
Using the public investigation tool the Committee lawyers conduct self-contained independent investigations the results of which are used as admissible evidence in the context of official investigations, and later in court.
During these 10 years CAT specialists have checked more than 1300 allegations of human rights breaches, conducted hundreds of investigations, have many times obliged the state to pay compensations awarded to victims of police abuse. The total sum of compensations paid by the state amounts to 19 million rubles. Thanks to the efforts of the organization, more than 70 perpetrators have been convicted under torture cases, those are state agents who have smeared the honour of their profession, in the first place, and the state they represent with their actions. Besides, the CAT has several dozens of cases pending in the ECtHR. The Strasbourg Court has already adjudicated on a number of CAT cases in favour of the applicants and awarded substantial compensations to the victims.
The headquarters of the Committee are located in Nizhny Novgorod, it has its branch offices in the Chechen Republic, Republic of Mariy El, Republic of Bashkiria and Orenburg region.
10 years is, of course, an insufficient period to solve the problem the Committee is working with, but we can be proud of some results already, and we can say that in the regions where the CAT is present the authorities pay more attention to human rights protection and observance of regulations.
The Committee Against Torture commits itself to continue forcing the authorities to stick to law when executing their powers and ensure that the right to personal security is protected as an absolute and one of the fundamental human rights.