The Mariy El authorities have dragged out the case to Strasbourg


04 June 2010

We have learnt from the ECtHR official web-page that the Court has decided to communicate the application of pensioner Boris Rzhavin from Yoshkar-Ola to the Russian Government. Now the Government has to answer several questions asked by the Court in order to determine whether the pensioner’s rights have been violated.

You may remember that late at night on 17 December 2001 the elderly man was forced to go to the police-station in Yoshkar-Ola to give some explanations. He was taken outside barefoot and dressed in skivvies in December. He had to take a taxi to get back home. The pensioner was never indicted.

Mr. Rzhavin applied to the Mariy El representation of the Interregional Committee Against Torture asking for help. Besides, he filed an application to the Prosecutor’s Office.  However the Yoshkar-Ola Prosecutor’s Office appeared incapable of protecting the pensioner’s rights. The investigation authorities issued several unlawful refusals to initiate a criminal case that were cancelled by Mariy El courts. But that did not help. The prosecutorial checks lasted for 6 years and finally the investigation came to a dead-end.

Then Mr. Rzhavin decided to lodge a civil suit to obtain compensation of moral damage with the support of the CAT and Regional NGO Man and Law (republic of Mariy El). During the debate he even gave his consent to the suggestion that the policemen should apologize to him. But the court dismissed his suit referring to the result of the prosecutorial checks.  

Thus, Mr. Rzhavin had nothing else to do but apply to the European Court of Human Rights. In 2007 the ICAT filed an application to the Strasbourg Court. And now the court has started trying it. It has asked the Government to answer the following four questions:

– has the applicant been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment?

– was the investigation in the present instance by the domestic authorities thorough and objective?

– was the applicant deprived of his liberty lawfully?

– did the applicant have at his disposal an effective domestic remedy for his complaint?

In the nearest future the RF is to submit its comments on the case to the ECtHR.

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