Published: 19 Apr 2011

Matayeva and Dadayeva v Russia

Case Summary

Case No. 49076/06
Judgment date: 19 April 2011

Facts

The first applicant is the wife and the second applicant is the mother of Khamzat Tushayev who had gone missing since 8 June 2006 when he went to the Prosecutor’s Office in Grozny having been summoned for questioning. According to the first applicant she accompanied her husband to the Prosecutor’s Office in Grozny, guarded by a number of check points. She waited for him at the first check point until the end of the day and was eventually told to leave. The first applicant immediately notified the authorities of her husband’s disappearance. A number of investigative steps were taken, with checking the visitor’s logbook where the first applicant’s husband had signed at the entrance, witness interviews, including various servicemen on duty at various check points. However, no entries with Mr Tushayev’s signature were found, and the officer on duty on the day claimed he did not remember him going in. In addition, the investigator in charge of the criminal case for which Mr Tushayev was summoned for questioning, stated that the case had been closed just before he had disappeared, thus there was no instruction to call him to the Prosecutor’s office.

An investigation into the disappearance was launched on 26 June 2006, however suspended and reopened on numerous occasions with no outcome. The applicants did not have access to the case file and were given little information on the progress of the investigation.

Judgment

The Court found Russia responsible for applicants’ relative’s death, in violation of Article 2. It considered the Government’s claim that applicants’ relative must have been abducted by unknown kidnappers, from guarded territory with limited access in which only law-enforcement offices were located, was not convincing.

The Court also found a violation of procedural aspect of Article 2 in that the investigation was plagued by delays and shortcomings, being suspended and reopened several times. In the Court’s view, such omissions demonstrated that the investigating authorities lacked genuine determination in solving the crime and holding those responsible to account, thus the Russian authorities’ failed to carry out an effective criminal investigation.

In relation to the applicants, the Court considered that they suffered distress and anguish as a result of their relative’s disappearance and their inability to find out what had happened to him. This, together with the manner in which the applicants’ complaints had been dealt with by the authorities constituted inhuman treatment, in violation of Article 3.

The Court further held that applicants’ relative had been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5, which constituted a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security of a person.

Lastly, there was a violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2 in that the criminal investigation into the disappearance of applicants’ relative was ineffective and the effectiveness of any other remedy that might have existed had consequently been undermined.

The Court awarded EUR 35,000 to the first applicant and EUR 25,000 to the second applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage.