From 3 to 5 June, 2014 in Strasbourg a meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe was held. It was dedicated to monitoring of European Court of Human Rights decisions enforcement (ECHR). Among others the European civil servants heard the group of so called «torture» cases against the Russian Federation (named after Aleksey Mikheyev – one of the first Russian victims of torture who managed to obtain a fair judgment in Strasbourg Court).
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe delivered a decision, according to which its representatives welcomed legislative and practical steps of Russian authorities for eradication of torture, including adopting a law «On police» and creating specialized departments in the system of the Investigative Committee of RF dedicated to investigating criminal cases against policemen charged with torture.
However, the Committee of Ministers pointed out that evaluation of the effect of taken measures on the situation requires statistical data and departmental acts study, as well as looking into policemen training issues and conducting official monitoring of the above mentioned specialized departments of the Investigative Committee. European civil servants also urged Russian authorities to take additional measures which could be manifested in unequivocal message at the highest level on «zero tolerance» to torture and strengthening of judicial control in this field.
In addition the Committee of Ministers urged the Russian Federation to sort out the problem of time limitation for the institution of criminal responsibility of persons charged with torture without undue delay.
In relation to specific «torture» Russian cases in the Committee of Ministers field of vision a lack of progress in investigation of most part of these cases on a national level was pointed out with regret, even after ECHR established facts of torture in these cases.
International law expert of the Interregional NGO «Committee Against Torture» Anton Ryzhov in his comment of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe decision pointed out the following: «It’s gratifying that the European colleagues are not focusing on general issues but really are trying to work with sore spots of the problem of illegal violence in Russian law-enforcement authorities. For example, it was a great idea to establish dedicated specialized departments of the Investigative Committee for sorting out this problem. But in reality it turned out that there are only several investigating officers in the whole federal district, and they obviously cannot improve the situation in principle. Period of limitation for the institution of criminal proceedings is still a hot topic. For example, in the beginning of 2008 ECHR passed a judgment in the case of Olga Maslova, having established that she was raped by authorities’ representatives. But the case was not investigated even then, and in the end of 2009 the period of limitation for the institution of criminal responsibility was over. And it is not an isolated case in the practice of the Committee Against Torture. In the opinion of Strasbourg Court there should be no period of limitation for torture cases».
In March of next year a scheduled meeting of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe is going to take place, where it will be assessed if there is any progress on the part of Russian state in terms of carrying out of the recommendations of the Committee of Ministers.