Today, on 6 October 2020, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling with regard to Mikhail Vladovsky from the Chechen Republic, who complained of having been tortured in the Leninsky District Police Department of Grozny in 2004. The European Court established that Mikhail was subjected to tortures by the state representatives and no effective investigation was conducted with this regard. Due to that the applicant was awarded a compensation of 33800 Euro. The police officers guilty of Vladovsky’s tortures won’t take any punishment due to expiry of the limitation for bringing to criminal responsibility.
In June 2004, Lubov’ Vladovskaya applied to the Committee Against Torture for legal assistance. According to her, on 7 May 2003, her son Mikhail was taken from home by unknown people in civilian clothes. They did not introduce themselves to her or provided any documents. Several days after that she learned that her son was kept in Special Investigative Bureau No.2 for North Caucasus Department of the Interior for the Southern Federal District. According to Vladovskaya, for several days the Bureau officers were beating up and torturing her son with electricity, as a result he incriminated himself in the crime that he did not committed.
On 9 February 2004, the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic sentenced Mikhail Vladovsky to two years of prison term under part 1 of Article 222 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“illegal purchase, sales, storage, transportation or bearing of weapons or its main components, as well as ammunition”).
On 8 June 2004, Mikhail was taken from the penal colony when he was serving the sentence, to the Leninsky District Police Department of Grozny. As Vladovsky told later to his lawyer, at the department the police officers were putting a plastic bag on his head, choked him, beat him up with arms and feet, truncheons and plastic bottles filled with water. According to Mikhail, they were forcing him to confess of committing murder, terrorist acts and robbery with violence.
On the next day, the police officers took him to City Hospital No.9 of Grozny where the doctors diagnosed him with a broken leg, damaged vessels on the right leg, contusions of ankle-joints of both legs and partial destruction of the right leg ligaments. Human rights defenders explained these injuries by Vladovsky’s fall from the stairs. After the medical assistance was rendered, Mikhail was returned to the same police department, and on 16 June he was taken back to the Bureau. There, according to Mikhail, we was beaten up again, tortured with electricity, being forced to confess of the same crimes.
On 26 June 2004, Mikhail’s lawyer applied to the Prosecutor’s Office with an application on illegal use of violence with regard to Vladovsky, however, the claim to open a criminal case was dismissed. Lawyers with the Committee Against Torture applied against the dismissal, and on 26 April 2006 Deputy Head Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic initiated a criminal case under paragraph “a”, Part 3, Article 286 of the Criminal Code of the RF (“Abuse of office using violence”). However, subsequently, the case was suspended, and attempts to insist that Mikhail Vladovsky is declared a victim did not lead to the desired result.
Due to the fact that at the national level there was no effective investigation of Mikhail Vladovsky’s torture complaint, on 18 October 2007, lawyers with the Committee Against Torture submitted an application on his behalf to the European Court of Human Rights.
Today, the European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling on this application. The court established that the applicant was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3 of The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“prohibition of torture”). The ECHR also established that the Russian authorities failed to perform an effective investigation with regard to brutal treatment of the applicant. Due to this, he was awarded a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 33800 euro.
“The European Court established that the applicant was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment at the Leninsky District Police Department of Grozny in 2004 and that the power authorities did not perform an efficient investigation of his application, – The Committee Against Torture’s expert on international law Mariya Zadorozhnaya comments. – However, the court did not examine the applicant’s complaint of brutal treatment in the period from 7 to 10 May 2003 at the Bureau, as it did not detect any violations of the applicant’s rights in the materials for this episode. The court did not examine the applicant’s complaint against brutal treatment on 16 June 2004 at the Bureau, because, in the Court’s opinion, this complaint was not substantiated by medical evidence that would prove the brutal treatment of the applicant”.
As lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Magomed Alamov points out, the law-enforcement officers who applied tortures against Vladovsky, will no longer be brought to criminal responsibility, as the period of limitations for such cases has already expired.