The Official Statement of the NGO NN Committee Against Torture


12 January 2007

 On 10 January 2007 the Committee Against Torture spread information that the European Court of Human Rights had declared the complaint “Lisina v. Russia” admissible.

    The information was widely spread in the media and in the Net and has become a topic for discussion under the heading “torture in the police”. In this regard the Committee considers it necessary to express its attitude to the issue, which is different from that of the majority of mass-media agencies.

    We have always claimed that the widespread unlawful coercion by law-enforcement officials originates from impunity. In practice such crimes are almost never investigated. Moreover, they do their utmost that torture cases were never referred to court.

    We are convinced that principal responsibility for the existing situation does not rest with police officers; most of them honestly and legitimately fulfill their duties, protecting rights of citizens and the Country from criminals. The prosecution agencies are entirely responsible for impunity for torture.  Our organization keep on facing sabotage of prosecution officers who officially investigate torture claims of citizens. We assert that investigation of torture cases is never fruitful not in the least because of their complexity. But because of violations of the Criminal Procedure Code, statute “On the Prosecution System of the RF”, orders of the General Prosecutor, which prosecution officials systematically make. The sabotage is never aimed at investigation into a case, but on the contrary, to dissolve it in order to create a “favorable” picture in a region.

    The Committee’s work with torture cases has shown that in most cases when we managed to prove the use of torture by police officials, these officials were either punished or dismissed. Yet we do not know a single case when a prosecution official was punished or dismissed for multiple breaches of law, which he had committed while investigating complaints against use of torture.

    You must have heard that this year the European Court of Human Rights will have considered another notorious case of torture from Nizhny Novgorod. In this regard it is important that, unlike the “famous” case of Mikheev, Ms. Lisina was not raped in a police station, not by policemen (as unfortunately some mass-media agencies have erroneously reported). Ms. Lisina was tortured and raped in room 3 of the Nizhegorodsky District Prosecutor’s Office and the offenders were three officials from this prosecutor’s office.      The same Prosecutor’s Office investigated the matter! Seven years have passed and the offenders are not still called to account because the case was dismissed on the ground of “the lack of corpus delicti”.

    So, in the case of Lisina her rights as provided by article 3 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights has been violated exactly by prosecution officials – i.e. by those, whose duty is to safeguard the law and supervise of the work of law-enforcement agencies.

    Taking all the above said into consideration, the Committee Against Torture underlines that views of the media on the offenders in the case of Lisina are different from those of our organization and do not agree with facts of the case.

    Furthermore, we again state that any matter which is considered by theEuropean Courtis an illustration of flaws in the work of Russian prosecution agencies, actual connivance towards torture problems in these bodies.

Impunity for torture results in its repetition.

 Committee Against Torture

12 January 2007 

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