Today the Committee against Torture has received the Russian Government’s statement under the case of Mamed Bagalayev shot in 2003 by state agents near his house in presence of his brother and sister.
You may remember that the case is related to the shooting that took place on 1 August 2003 in the city of Shaly during which Mamed Balagayev was fatally wounded while he was playing in the yard with his younger brother. Mamed died several hours later without coming to himself. The evidence collected allows us to claim that the shooting was organized by law enforcement agents. Besides, an independent investigation identified the vehicles the criminals used. However, the official investigation was not effective under this case, criminal proceedings were opened and very soon closed because “it was impossible to identify those in charge of the crime”. Seven years later still no one has been found guilty of the boy’s death.
At the end of 2009 the European Court communicated the application under this case and asked the parties the following questions:
1. The Court asked the Government to explain whether there had been any special raid conducted on 1 August 2003 in Shaly, Chechnya. If yes, has it identified and questioned the organizers and participants of the raid while investigating into Mamed Balagayev’s murder?
2. Was article 2 (right to life) of the ECHR violated in respect of Mamed Balagayev? Taking into account the state’s procedural obligations connected to the protection of the right to life, did the investigation carried out by the authorities under this case comply with the effectiveness standards?
3. Did the applicant (in this case Mamed’s mother – Kameta Khaschuyeva) have effective domestic remedies as stipulated in Article 13 of the Convention?
4. The Court asked the Government to provide all the materials under criminal case no. 22112 opened upon the fact of Mamed Balagayev’s death.
In response to these questions the RF Government claimed that there had been no special raids conducted in that location on that day and the statement that Mamed had been killed by the military was false. Thus, the Government has basically refrained from answering the concrete questions by claiming that the state was not involved in the incident and, therefore, there is nothing to discuss in their opinion. Probably, this explains the non-characteristic reaction of the authorities to the ECtHR’s request to provide the case file. The Government has given the Court the copies of all documents which rather rarely happens with cases under articles 2 and 3 of the Convention.
Right now the Committee is preparing a reply to the Government’s memorandum.