Published: 24 Feb 2005

Khashiyev and Akayeva v Russia

Case Summary

Case Nos. 57942/00 and 57945/00
Judgment date: 24 February 2005 

Facts

The applicants complained about the extra-judicial executions of their relatives by Russian Army personnel in Grozny at the end of January 2000. The bodies of Mr Khashiyev’s brother and sister, two of his sister’s sons and Ms Akayeva’s brother were found with numerous gunshot wounds. A criminal investigation, opened in May 2000, was suspended and reopened several times, but those responsible were never identified. In 2003 a civil court in Ingushetia ordered the Ministry of Defense to pay damages to Mr Khashiyev in relation to the killing of his relatives by unidentified military personnel.

Judgment

The Court found violation of Article 2. It concluded that, on the basis of the material in its possession, it was established that the victims had been killed by the Russian military and their deaths could be attributed to the State. Based on the material before it the Court concluded that there had been no justification relied on in respect of the use of lethal force by the State agents.

The Court recalled its case-law in this area and notably the need, in cases involving State agents or bodies, to ensure their accountability for deaths occurring under their responsibility. The obligations under Article 2 could not be satisfied merely by awarding damages. Considering the flaws and failures in opening and throughout the investigation into the applicants’ relatives’ deaths the Court found that the authorities had failed to carry out an effective criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the applicants’ relatives. There had therefore been a violation of Article 2 also in this respect.

Furthermore, while the Court was unable to find that beyond all reasonable doubt the applicants’ relatives had been subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention, it held that the lack of a thorough and effective investigation into credible allegations of torture in violation of the procedural requirements of Article 3.

The Court also found Russia in breach of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 in that the criminal investigation had been ineffective, lacked sufficient objectivity and thoroughness, and the effectiveness of any other remedy, including the civil remedies, had been consequently undermined.

The Court awarded EUR 15,000 to the first applicant and EUR 20,000 to the second applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damages.