Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 22.04.2010 «Дело Мутаева (mutayeva) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

(Application No. 43418/06)
(Strasbourg, 22.IV.2010)
*This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Mutayeva v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Christos Rozakis, President,

Anatoly Kovler,

Elisabeth Steiner,

Dean Spielmann,

Sverre Erik Jebens,

Giorgio Malinverni,

George Nicolaou, judges,

and {Soren}*Nielsen, Section Registrar,

*Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.

Having deliberated in private on 25 March 2010,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

1. The case originated in an application (No. 43418/06) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by Ms Savdat Mutayeva, a Russian national, ("the applicant"), on 18 October 2006.

2. The applicant was represented by lawyers of the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative ("SRJI"), an NGO based in the Netherlands with a representative office in Russia. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. On 19 June 2008 the Court decided to apply Rule 41 of the Rules of Court and to grant priority treatment to the application and to give notice of the application to the Government. Under the provisions of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention, it decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility. The President of the Chamber acceded to the Government's request not to make publicly accessible the documents from the criminal investigation file deposited with the Registry in connection with the application (Rule 33 of the Rules of Court).

4. The Government objected to the joint examination of the admissibility and merits of the application and to the application of Rule 41 of the Rules of Court. Having considered the Government's objection, the Court dismissed it.

I. The circumstances of the case
5. The applicant was born in 1948. She lives in the village of Assinovskaya, in the Chechen Republic. The applicant is the mother of Luiza Mutayeva, born in 1984.

A. Disappearance of Luiza Mutayeva
1. The applicant's account
6. The applicant, with her husband and two daughters, Luiza and Madina, lived at 60 Bershchanskaya Street in the village of Assinovskaya, in the Achkhoy-Martanovskiy district (in the submitted documents the district is also referred to as Sunzhenskiy district), in the Chechen Republic. Their house was located near a local hospital. At the material time the village was under the firm control of the federal forces, which maintained manned checkpoints at the entry and exit points to and from the village.

7. In the night of 19 January 2004 (in the submitted documents the date is also referred to as 9 January 2004) the family was sleeping in their house at the above address.

8. At about 2.30 a.m. on 19 January 2004 the applicant and her family members were woken up by someone knocking at the entrance door. The applicant approached the door and asked in Chechen: "Who is it?" The answer was given in Russian: "Passport check". When the applicant wondered why the passport check was being conducted so late at night, she was told: "You better open the door; we have an order!" The applicant opened the door and fifteen to twenty armed men in camouflage uniforms without insignia entered the house. All but five or six of the intruders were wearing masks. The applicant and her relatives noticed that the men without masks were of Slavic appearance. The intruders spoke unaccented Russian. The applicant inferred that they were Russian servicemen.

9. The servicemen asked the applicant whether there were any men in the house. The only man in the household was the applicant's husband, a disabled person with one leg. The servicemen checked the family's passports and returned them to the applicant. Then the unmasked servicemen said to their colleagues that they should leave the applicant's house as no men were to be found there. However, one of the masked servicemen told them that they should search the house. The servicemen searched the house, turning everything upside down. It appears that they did not find anything of interest to them other than a few video cassettes which they took away.

10. Having searched the house, the servicemen ordered the applicant's daughters, Luiza and Madina, to put on warm clothing as they were being taken to the vehicles for questioning. The applicant's younger daughter, fifteen-year old Madina, started crying. One of the masked servicemen told her: "Do not be afraid; we will just question you and will let you go. I promise that nothing will happen to you." Before leaving the house, Luiza Mutayeva insisted that she should be the only one to go for questioning. The servicemen let Madina stay in the house; they took Luiza outside to the vehicles.

11. The applicant managed to run outside and saw that Luiza Mutayeva was handcuffed and was standing next to a white GAZ minivan. Beside the minivan the applicant saw a white VAZ-2107, two grey UAZ vehicles, two military all-terrain UAZ vehicles ("таблетка") and a grey VAZ-2109 vehicle, which were all parked around the applicant's house. The vehicles did not have number plates. According to the applicant, further vehicles belonging to the intruders were parked near her house but she was unable to recall their models or their colour. The applicant shouted at the servicemen and asked them to take her for questioning with her daughter. In response they pushed her away. Luiza Mutayeva was put into the GAZ minivan and the intruders drove away.

12. A number of people witnessed the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva. In particular, M.K., who was a patient in the hospital across the street, was woken up by shouting coming from the applicant's courtyard and rushed outside. She saw that the applicant's house was surrounded by armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms. The men did not allow her to approach and pushed her back into the hospital. While they were doing so, she saw them take Luiza Mutayeva away.

13. At about 3 a.m. on 19 January 2004 the applicant's neighbours, B.M. and S.B., were woken up by the noise of armoured vehicles and the applicant's shouting and saw armoured and other vehicles stationed at the street. B.M. and S.B. were afraid to approach the persons in camouflage uniforms and masks because they were armed. Another neighbour, Yu.D., who was woken up by a woman's shouting at about 3 a.m. on 19 January 2004, got outside and saw armoured and other vehicles parked on the street at the applicant's house; women at the entry gate to the applicant's house were shouting at several men wearing camouflage uniforms and masks. Afraid of the camouflaged men because of their weapons, Yu.D. returned home. When it was quiet he went to see the applicant and learnt from her that Luiza Mutayeva had been kidnapped.

14. The applicant has had no news of Luiza Mutayeva since 19 January 2004.

15. The description of the events above is based on the applicant's application form and written statements by M.K., B.M., S.B. and Yu.D., made on 19 October 2005.

2. Information submitted by the Government
16. The Government submitted that on 19 January 2004 Luiza Mutayeva had been abducted by unidentified persons.

B. The search for Luiza Mutayeva and the investigation
1. The applicant's account
(a) The applicant's search for Luiza Mutayeva
17. On the morning of 19 January 2004 the applicant complained about her daughter's abduction to a number of law-enforcement agencies in Achkhoy-Martan. In particular, she complained to the Achkhoy-Martan District Department of the Interior (the ROVD), to a local department of the Federal Security Service (the FSB) and the security service of the Chechen President. The authorities denied having any information about the whereabouts of the applicant's daughter. However, unspecified officers from the security service of the Chechen President suggested to the applicant that her daughter had most likely been abducted by officers of the FSB Special Forces from Khankala, Chechnya.

18. The applicant also complained about the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva to T., head of the local administration. The latter also suggested that her daughter had been probably taken to Khankala.

19. Every day between 19 and 26 January 2004 the applicant went in person to a number of State authorities in Achkhoy-Martan, trying to obtain information concerning her daughter's whereabouts. It appears that her attempts produced no results.

20. The applicant also contacted, both in person and in writing, various official bodies, such as the Chechen administration, military commanders' offices and prosecutors' offices at different levels, describing in detail the circumstances of Luiza Mutayeva's abduction and asking for help in establishing her whereabouts. The applicant retained copies of a number of those letters and submitted them to the Court. An official investigation was opened by the local prosecutor's office. The relevant information is summarised below.

(b) The official investigation into the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva
21. On 27 April 2004 the prosecutor's office of the Achkhoy-Martanovskiy district ("the district prosecutor's office") instituted an investigation into the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva under Article 126 § 2 of the Criminal Code (aggravated kidnapping). The case file was given number 49516. It does not appear that the applicant was informed about the decision.

22. By a decision of 28 April 2004 the district prosecutor's office granted the applicant victim status in connection with criminal case No. 49516. The decision stated, among other things, that at about 2.30 a.m. on 19 January 2004 about fifteen unidentified armed men in camouflage uniforms and masks had arrived at the applicant's home at 60 Bershchanskaya Street in a GAZ minivan, a UAZ vehicle, two military all-terrain UAZ vehicles ("таблетка"), a VAZ-2109 and a VAZ-2107 and had taken Luiza Mutayeva to an unknown destination. The applicant was accordingly provided with a copy of the decision.

23. On 27 August 2004 the district prosecutor's office informed the applicant that on that date the investigation in criminal case No. 49516 had been suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators; the operational and search measures aimed at solving the crime were under way.

24. On 14 May 2005 the applicant's representatives from SRJI wrote to the district prosecutor's office, complaining about the lack of information concerning the investigation. They requested to be informed about its progress; the specific actions taken to solve the crime since the opening of the criminal case and during the eight months after the decision to suspend the investigation; the reasons for the suspension of the investigation, and the reasons for Luiza Mutayeva's arrest. They further requested to be informed whether the investigating authority had interviewed the witnesses of the abduction and had requested information from various remand centres on Luiza Mutayeva's eventual detention. Lastly, they submitted that the applicant had not been provided with the decision to open the investigation and requested that she be provided with a copy.

25. On 21 June 2005 the prosecutor's office of the Chechen Republic ("the republican prosecutor's office") replied to the applicant's representatives that the district prosecutor's office had instituted an investigation into the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva and the applicant had been granted victim status in the criminal proceedings; the operational and search measures aimed at solving the crime were under way. The letter also stated that pursuant to Article 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure any information about the investigation was confidential and was not to be disclosed.

26. On 20 July 2005 the applicant's representatives wrote to the republican prosecutor's office and to the Prosecutor General's office. Referring to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, they pointed out that the authorities' letter of 21 June 2005 had failed to provide the requested information or any plausible explanations for the authorities' failure to provide the applicant with copies of basic investigative decisions. The applicant's representatives repeated their request for information about the progress of the investigation and copies of those decisions.

27. On 17 August 2005 the Prosecutor General's office informed the applicant's representatives that their request of 20 July 2005 had been forwarded to the republican prosecutor's office for examination.

28. On 27 October 2005 the applicant wrote to the district prosecutor's office. In her letter she described the circumstances of her daughter's abduction by armed persons in camouflage uniforms and masks, who had arrived in "ordinary" and armoured vehicles and complained that she had had no information concerning the investigation. She pointed out that her numerous requests to various State authorities had failed to produce any results and requested, among other things, to be provided with the following information: the number of the criminal case opened in connection with the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva; the prosecutor's office and the name of the person in charge of the investigation; the investigative measures taken by the authorities; whether witnesses to the abduction had been questioned by the investigation; whether the investigation had been suspended; whether the investigation had established how a convoy of military and civil vehicles with the abducted Luiza Mutayeva had managed to drive through the numerous Russian federal forces checkpoints located in the Achkhoy-Martanovskiy district and, in particular, on the road to and from the village of Assinovskaya; whether the investigation had examined the theory of possible implication of Russian servicemen or representatives of Russian special forces in the abduction of Luiza Mutayeva and whether the authorities had obtained information from various detention centres in Chechnya concerning her eventual detention. Lastly, she requested to be provided with the decision to suspend the investigation, which the authorities