On 22 November, the Russian authorities presented a plan of individual measures with regard to group of criminal cases on torture “Buntov vs Russia” to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The Government obliges to take these measures with regard to the three persons who reported tortures: Buntov, Kalashnikov, Zatynayko. The crucial case is about Vitaly Buntov who was subjected to tortures and a poisoning attempt. The RF Government insists that Vitaly is healthy and is kept in good conditions. His representatives claim that the man almost lost his eyesight, and his life is in danger.
Group of criminal cases “Buntov vs Russia” includes three different torture cases. The case of Vitaly Buntov became the most high-profile one. The man was subjected to unprecedented degree of violence: there was an attempt to poison him for his refusal to cooperate with the administration. The penal colony officers and convicts who were torturing Vitaly, pulled out his nails on hands and feet.
In 2012, the European Court of Human Rights said that the degree of violence described in the case is “beyond comprehension”. However, the persons guilty of Buntov’s torture remained unpunished. Vitaly’s representatives applied to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to oblige the Russian authorities to conduct an investigation and stop the convict’s tortures.
According to the document submitted from Russia in response to the Committee of Minister’s request, the Government considers Vitaly Buntov’s confinement conditions to be appropriate, and his health – satisfactory. The RF authorities insist that all necessary medical support is rendered to him. They consider the dismissals of claims to open a criminal case with regard to torture complaints to be grounded.
However, Vitaly’s representatives report that his tortures continue. The man almost lost his eyesight, he is kept in a one-man cell without outdoor clothing in conditions of “eternal cold”. In addition, the representatives said that no medical assistance is rendered to Buntov. He is forced to withdraw the applications from the European Court of Human Rights.
The RF authorities replied on the other two cases from the group: Kalashnikov case and Zatynaiko case. In both cases, the Government considers the dismissals of claims to open a criminal case with regard to torture complaints to be grounded. This indicates that the victims of torture will hardly be able to bring the culprits to responsibility at the national level.
“The existence of the Buntov group of cases shows that Russia is not ready to fight tortures in closed institutions either through taking measures on these cases, nor as a whole for Russia, even despite the ruling of the European Court, — lawyer with the Committee Against Torture Mariya Zadorozhnaya.
It is interesting to point out that the authorities consider dismissals of claims to open a criminal case grounded upon the expiry of the period of limitations. This position in the Buntov group of cases contradicts to the position of the authorities on the Mikheyev group of cases (note by CAT: Aleksey Mikheyev — applicant of the Committee Against Torture, subjected to tortures at Nizhny Novgorod police department and disabled due to that). Then it was claimed that despite the expiry of the period of limitations, the investigation could be conducted until the culprits are established.