Today, on 12 December 2017, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling concerning the complaint of Vadim Korolev from Diveyevo settlement of the Nizhny Novgorod region. The Strasbourg judges established that the police officer illegally applied physical force against the applicant, and the investigation of this case turned out to be inefficient. With regard to this, Korolev was awarded ten thousand euros as a compensation for moral damage.
As we have previously reported, in 2008 Vadim Korolev, a Nizhny Novgorod resident, applied to the INGO «Committee Against Torture». According to the man, on 24 March 2007, at about 11 pm, he was at the entrance of Diveevskiy Culture Center together with some friends of his, when a man dressed in civilian clothing came over. Mr Korolev knew him to be police officer Kryazhev. The policeman was unwilling to share the culture center’s front porch with anyone else, and asked the company to look for another place to stay. Having noticed that the policeman was drunk, the friends decided to leave to avoid any possible conflict.
However, the conflict appeared to be inevitable. The intoxicated law enforcement agent started accosting a girl, and Vadim’s attempt to protect her ended up badly. Threatening to use force the officer made Mr Korolev get into a car, and took him to Diveevo District Department of the Interior. There, the policeman began to beat Vadim, kicking his legs with heavy military boots, so that Vadim kept feeling strong pain not only during, but also long after the beating.
According to Vadim, there was one officer, Kryazhev’s colleague, watching the scene who didn’t seem to find it necessary to interfere with the action. After the battery, the policeman took his victim’s belonging away, and placed him into a cell, where the young man was kept under detention till the morning of March 26. Mr Korolev immediately went to hospital, where doctors observed bruises, abrasions and contusions on his lower legs and joints, and abrasions of on his elbows.
Mr Korolev filed his ill-treatment complaint with the District Prosecutor’s Office. In the course of the pre-investigation inquiry investigators issued four unlawful refusals to open criminal proceedings, each of them subsequently appealed against by human rights defenders. Nevertheless, the fifth refusal to investigate was declared lawful by the Nizhny Novgorod Regional Court.
Having exhausted all domestic remedies available for Mr Vadim Korolev, lawyers working with the Committee Against Torture lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights on his behalf. On 12 December 2012, the complaint was communicated to the Government.
Concurrently, the human rights defenders filed a claim for compensation for moral damage which was partially satisfied on 10 December 2013 – the Nizhny Novgorod City Court awarded ten thousand roubles (thirty thousand roubles were requested).
Today, the European Court of Human Rights passed a ruling concerning this complaint. The Strasbourg judges established a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights in the part of prohibition of brutal treatment, as well as in part of the obligation to conduct efficient investigation. Regarding this, Vadim Korolev was awarded ten thousand euro as a compensation for moral damage.
“The European Court has confirmed today the theory about the battery, which Vadim Korolev was trying to prove (in vain) first to the investigation, and then to the court. Unfortunately, the culprits of this crime will not be held responsible, since the period of limitation for criminal responsibility expired in March of this year”, – lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Sergey Babinets comments.
“It is not the first case in our practice when the Court passes a ruling which is positive for the applicant, thus establishing inability of the Russian authorities to efficiently investigative complaints of tortures using pre-investigation check. In this case, specifically, the investigators never eliminated a list of controversies, and the conclusions were based predominantly on the evidence of the persons, whom the applicant identified as those who applied violence against him, – lawyer of the international-legal department of the Committee Against Torture Ekaterina Vanslova comments. – No reasonable explanations were provided concerning how Korolev got his bodily injuries. As a result, in today’s ruling the Court accepted the human rights defenders’ arguments stating that the investigation had serious drawbacks, was far from thorough, independent, objective and timely, and reminded Russia of the obligations taken on adequate investigation of any grounded complaints of brutal treatment”.