The European Court refused the defendants under the case of Elena Lisina to take part in the proceedings


02 August 2007

The European Court of Human Rights informed the INGO Committee Against Torture that individuals that had been earlier accused of the use of torture in respect of Elena Lisina had requested the Court to let them take part in the proceedings as a third party. You may remember that on 25 November 2005 Elena Lisina had been summoned for an interrogation as a witness to the Nizhegorodsky District Prosecutor’s Office where she had been violently raped and beaten.

    According to Article 36 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms “the President of the Court may, in the interest of the proper administration of justice, invite any High Contracting Party which is not a party to the proceedings or any person concerned who is not the applicant to submit written comments or take part in hearings”. The above individuals requested the Court to invite them to take part in the hearings because “they possessed information which could influence the Court’ decision, and the information submitted by the applicant was one-sided and biased”. In support of their position the authors of the request stated a number of arguments which, in their opinion, give another understanding of the incident that had taken place in the Nizhegorodsky District Prosecutor’s Office of Nizhny Novgorod City on 25 November 1999. In particular, as arguments they referred to two decisions of the European Court according to which “whenever establishing a violation of Article 3 of the Convention the bodily injuries inflicted on the victim should be always confirmed by a medical report”. Indeed, there are decisions when the Court refers to medical reports as evidence of the fact of torture; however, there are other decisions in which the existence of bodily injuries is evidenced by witnesses, photos and other evidence different from medical reports.

    Besides, they claim that “there are no grounds to consider Ms. Lisina’s evidence as consistent, because it is not such”. They don’t also perceive any protraction in the proceedings through the fault of law enforcement agencies and they stated before the Court that legal remedies granted to Ms. Lisina had been effective as far as possible. Unfortunately, the authors of the request forgot to mention the fact that the investigation had been going on for eight years, and the prosecution service was unable to establish the facts of the incident during this time. At the same time, after the offenders were indicted, the applicant was repeatedly recommended to refrain from lodging a complaint with the European Court. In this connection the applicant had leave Nizhny Novgorod in February 2007 being afraid of persecution.

    In conclusion, the authors asked the Court to take the arguments of Ms. Lisina critically and claimed that there were not enough grounds for upholding the complaint. It seems that at the end of the letter the authors forgot for what purpose they had begun to write it and simply asked the Court to dismiss the complaint.

    The court considered the letter and, as one might expect, rejected it making it impossible for the authors to take part in the proceedings.

    As you may know, experts of the department of international protection of the INGO Committee Against Torture represent the applicant before the European Court.

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