Today the European Court for Human Rights passed a ruling with regard to a complaint of Lubov Shevtsova. The Strasbourg judges established that the Russian police officers illegally applied physical force against the applicant and the investigation of the incident was inefficient. In relation to this she was awarded a compensation of 19500 euro as a compensation for moral damage.
As we have already reported, on 6 June 2002 Lubov Shevtsova applied to the Committee against Torture for legal assistance due to the fact that she had been beaten up by the police on 6 November 2001.
According to the applicant on that day she was at her sister’s, Tatyana Larina, when two men knocked on the door. They identified themselves as policemen, showed their IDs and said that they were looking for the elder son of the hostess. Lubov told them that her nephew was at work, but received an inadequate reaction and threats from one of the policemen who told her that they would «pull the place to pieces».
As a result Shevtsova proposed a compromise solution: she would take the summon notice for his nephew and promises to deliver it to him and the policemen, in their turn, would leave the territory of the house. However, this request, according to Lubov, resulted in anger of the policemen – they started to insult and threaten her. A row started, in the course of which one of the policemen started to twist her arm and she fell on the ground where she was hit several times more. After hearing noise the sister’s companion run out and tried to intervene on behalf of Shevtsova, but was also beaten by the policemen. Taking the advantage of the situation when the attention of law-enforcement officers was shifted on the man, Lubov ran to her neighbor to call for the police squad so that they calm down their colleagues. However, the squad never arrived, and the man who tried to intervene was taken by the policemen to the police department.
The same day Shevtsova applied to the first aid station of the hospital where she received a document with registration of her bodily injuries. Later in the course of forensic medical examination experts diagnosed the following injuries: bruises on the face, bruising on the right arm and left half of the chest, bruise of the soft tissues of the chest on the left side. Also, due to contusion of the head Lubov had to pass treatment in hospital medical unit of the GAZ car plant.
Two days after the incident Shevtsova applied a detailed complaint with the prosecutor’s office of Nizhny Novgorod Avtozavodsky district against the actions of the policemen. However, having failed to receive appropriate attention to her application from the officers of the supervisory authority and realizing that the case is being winded down, in half a year she applied to lawyers of the Committee Against Torture.
The human rights defenders conducted their own public investigation and tried to implement all the legal ways to improve the poor quality performance of the prosecutor’s office investigators: for the period of six years the officers of this supervisory authority issued nine unlawful refusals to initiate criminal proceedings, subsequently quashed based on our complaints by the court or superior prosecutor’s office bodies.
In July 2007 a complaint was filed with the European Court of the Human Rights on behalf of Lubov Shevtsova, and yesterday information of its communication appeared on the official website of the Court. Strasbourg judges posed questions to the Russian authorities whether Shevtsova was subjected to violence in contravention of Article 3 of the Convention. Moreover, the ECHR inquired whether the investigation carried out by the investigative bodies was efficient, including whether it was thorough, independent and prompt.
In today’s ruling the Strasbourg judges pointed out that the Russian authorities failed to convincingly justify the origin of a number of traumas of the applicant and that the theory of the Government stating that the physical force was applied against Shevtsova legally and proportionally to the resistance to the police officers which she was offering, does not seem convincing to the judges, either, since in this case she would have had to be brought to responsibility, which was not the case.
“Despite the fact that Lubov Shevtsova provided credible statements that she was beaten up by the police officers, the Prosecutor’s Office refused to initiate criminal proceedings based on her complaint, limiting to the pre-investigative check. With regard to this the necessary investigative activities, which would allow identifying the police officers who applied brutal treatment to Shevstova, were not conducted, – lawyer with the Committee for the Prevention of Torture Sergey Babinets comments. – Despite the fact that the European Court declared the Russian Federation guilty of violating the right of Shevtsova to freedom from torture and brutal and degrading treatment, the culprits will not be punished due to the expiry of the period of limitations for bringing to criminal responsibility”.