Today the Committee against Torture was notified by the European Court of Human Rights that on April 22, 2008 the RF government had asked the Court to refer the case “Maslova, Nalbandov vs.the Russian Federation” to the Grand Chamber. The Grand Chamber of the European Court has the right to reconsider the initial judgment and its verdict is final and is not subject to any further reconsideration.
In accordance with the Court rules the request will be examined by a panel of five judges of the Grand Chamber who will find either admissible or inadmissible.
In connection with this the Committee against Torture is seriously concerned with professional qualification of lawyers from the RF Plenipotentiary Office at the European Court of Human rights. In accordance with article 43 (p.2) of the European Convention, the case can be referred to the Grand Chamber only if it raises a serious question affecting the interpretation or application of the Convention and the protocols thereto, or a serious issue of general importance. By a serious issue of general importance the Court usually means retrial of a solved case. The case “Maslova, Nalbandov vs. the Russian Federation” is rather standard for the European Court practice, although it deals with a major violation. If you look at the official English or unofficial Russian version of the judgment under this case, you will see that the case law the Court refers to proves this fact.
Moreover, the request to refer the case to the Grand Chamber seems even stranger if we pay attention to the fact that the verdict was unanimous. This shows that the fact of violation was completely and unconditionally proved and admitted in court.
As a result, at present the European Court judgment is not yet final and enforceable. Besides, the judgment in its present state is a newly revealed circumstance according to the RF Criminal Procedure Code, which prevents the investigation from being resumed and the does not allow to prosecute the perpetrators who applied tortures and inhuman treatment in respect of the applicant.