This quotation is taken from the reply of the Russian Federation representatives addressed to the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, published in September on the official site of the department. In their answer the Russian Federation representatives reported to the UN that “necessary investigation and other procedural actions, as well as special investigation measures are taken” related to the attack on the journalists and human rights defenders in March this year on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya. In their turn the human rights defenders from the Committee for the Prevention of Torture believe that for the six months since the day of the crime allegedly taken “necessary investigation and other procedural actions” have been ineffective and have given no result.
The lawyers of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture applied to the Head of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation, Prosecutor General of Russia and Minister of the Interior of Russia on account of unsatisfactory work of the official investigation regarding the attack on the bus with journalists and human rights defenders performed by unknown persons on 9 March on the federal road “Caucasus”, on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya, regarding the attack on the apartment rented by human rights defenders in Karabulak, and the attack on Igor Kalyapin near the hotel in Grozny.
We remind that on 9 March 2016 a group of unidentified persons attacked the bus with journalists and human right defenders on the border between Ingushetia and Chechnya, as a result the bus was burnt, all passengers and the driver were severely beaten; besides, personal belongings and equipment were stolen. A criminal case based on this fact was initiated; and the investigation department of the Russian Federation Investigation Committee in the Republic of Ingushetia is investigating it.
In April this year a special UN reporter on human rights sent a request for information on the progress of the crime investigation to the Russian authorities. A month later representatives of the Russian Federation replied that the preliminary investigation was in progress, measures necessary for the case were taken and the investigation progress was supervised by the central office of the Investigation Committee.
Minister of the Interior Vladimir Kolokoltsev also reported that the crime solving operations are under control of the administration of his Ministry. Yunus-Bek Evkurov, the head of the Republic of Ingushetia, in his turn emphasized that the prompt investigation of this crime is “the matter of honor for the law-enforcement authorities”, and promised that the law-enforcement authorities would take all measures for the search and arrest of the guilty parties. Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation, gave a personal order to study all the details of this attack. Human rights defenders say that the results of this order’s accomplishment are disappointing, they point out that the investigation of the crime is being most ineffective. How can one expect any results if the investigator in charge of this case asked the data from the State Road Traffic Safety Authority cameras at the border of the Republic of Ingushetia (where the victims were heading) only a mother later after the attack on the Caucasus Highway, on 8 April this year. Besides, there is no information on whether this data was submitted in the end. For six months the victims and their representatives have received no information on this or on the results obtained in the course of the investigation, the investigative authorities refuse to submit the investigation materials for familiarization on the ground that it is not over yet.
The progress with the investigation of the attack on the apartment in Karabulak (the Republic of Ingushetia) rented by the Joint Mobile Group of human rights defenders is no better. The attack took place on 9 March 2016. On this day some unidentified persons armed with special weapons broke into the apartment and stole all the equipment that belonged to human rights defenders. In relation to these events a criminal case was initiated, the officers of the Ministry of the Interior investigation department, responsible for investigating organized criminal activity in the Republic of Ingushetia, were in charge of it. In the course of the investigation it was established that the attack had been performed by unidentified armed persons who were wearing masks and used several cars with no registration numbers. It seems that is all that the investigators managed to find out and it the beginning of May of this year the criminal case was suspended due to the fact that “the liable person is not identified”.
Human rights defenders believe that the attitude of the investigation authorities to this case does not stand up to scrutiny either. For example, the investigators failed to interrogate a number of witnesses in this case; they neither eliminated the contradictions in the witnesses’ evidences; nor did they establish the cause for untimely arrival of the investigation group to the crime scene.
The position of the investigator who worked with the criminal case of the theft committed with illegal home invasion (p. “a”, Part 3, Article 159 of the Russian Federation Criminal Code) and acknowledged his inability to identify the suspects looks even stranger after the announcement made by Yunus-Bek Evkurov, the head of Ingushetia, in his interview to TV Channel Rain (Dozhd) where he said that there was no attack on the human rights defenders’ apartment.
Yunus-Bek Evkurov made a statement for the journalists: ”There was no attack. According to the information we have there was a search. I am not going to tell you the initial information and why it was provided. There is a search and inspection of the apartment… Look, they came, checked, and found out that there was nobody there, everyone had run away from it, from this apartment“.
Apparently, unlike the investigating officer, the head of Ingushetia knows who broke into the human defenders’ apartment, where those people were from and why they did it and where the vanished things and documents disappeared…
And no criminal case was initiated based on the fact of the attack on Igor Kalyapin on 16 March near the hotel in Grozny. The investigating department of the Russian Federation Ministry of Interior Department in Grozny performed checking procedures that resulted in numerous refusals to open a criminal case. The last “refusal” was quashed by the Prosecutor’s Office on 16 June 2016. There is no information on the results of the current checking procedures.
Sergey Golubok, the lawyer representing the interests of the victims of the attacks that took place in March this year, points out: ”There are reasons to believe that the investigation of impudent attacks on human right defenders and journalists in Chechnya and Ingushetia in spring this year does not meet the efficiency criteria that follow from the Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. We will keep informing special reporters of the Human Rights Council on the progress and results of the investigation at the domestic level”.