Published: 23 Jul 2008
Mutsayeva v Russia
Case No. 24297/05
Judgment date: 23 July 2009
The applicant’s son was apprehended in the centre of Urus-Martan and taken away by Russian servicemen on 27 August 2001. Witnesses saw him being beaten by soldiers prior his detention and calling for help. No one was able to approach and aid, prevented by firing over the heads of the crowd by the soldiers. After learning about the happening, the applicant and her husband immediately began the search for their son. They contacted, both in person and in writing, various official bodies, describing in detail the circumstances of their son’s abduction and asking for help in establishing his whereabouts. An investigation into the disappearance of applicants’ son was instituted only on 25 January 2002, and was suspended and resumed on several occasions. The identity of the perpetrators was not established and no one was held accountable.
The Court established that the applicant’s son must be “presumed dead” following his detention by Russian servicemen and the absence of any news about him for several years, and that his death was attributable to the State. It found a violation of Article 2.
The Court also noted that the investigation was opened almost five months later, being suspended and resumed on numerous occasions, with lengthy periods of inactivity. The authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation, in violation of procedural requirements of Article 2.
The psychological suffering experienced by the applicant as a result of her son’s disappearance amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Article 3.
Given that applicant’s son had been held in unacknowledged detention without any of the safeguards contained in Article 5, this had constituted a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security of a person enshrined in this provision.
Lastly, the Court found a violation of Article 13 in conjunction with Article 2, on the account of the impossibility for the applicant to obtain the identification and punishment of those responsible.
The applicant was awarded EUR 35,000 in respect to non-pecuniary damages.