Akhmadova and Others v. Russia
Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute | Reparations | Deprivation of Liberty | Systemic Practice | Refusal to Disclose Fate | Relatives as Victims | Right to Know the Truth | Effective Remedy
Recalling that, in the context of the conflict in the Chechen Republic, unacknowledged detention by unidentified servicemen can be regarded as life-threatening, the Court was satisfied that the victim must be presumed dead following his detention by State servicemen, and that the death could be attributed to the State. It further found a procedural violation of the right to life, holding that the absence of a proper investigation into the abduction contributed to the victim's disappearance. The Court also made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim's relatives, due to the manner in which their complaints have been dealt with by the authorities and to the fact that they suffered distress and anguish as a result of the victim's disappearance and their inability to find out what happened to him. Finally, the Court found a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security as the victim was held in unacknowledged detention without charges and in the absence of any safeguard against the risk of disappearance.
June 5, 2009
Article 2 (procedural) [ECHR], Article 2 (substantive) [ECHR], Article 3 [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR], Article 13 [ECHR], Article 38 [ECHR]
Facts of the Case
In March 2002, Mr. Musa Mausurovich Akhmadov was stopped at a checkpoint of the Russian military for a passport check. After the check, he was ordered to get out of the car and taken into the checkpoint building. The military serviceman told Mr. Akhmadov's cousin, who was travelling with him, that Mr. Akhmadov had been detained because he was on the list of wanted persons. Later that day, an officer of the checkpoint told Mr. Akhmadov’s relatives that he had been taken to a military base for an identity check. Mr. Akhmadov’s family has had no news of him since then, despite their efforts in applying to a number of official bodies. A criminal file into the kidnapping was opened in May 2002, and then suspended and resumed several times until 2007. In June 2003, Mr. Akhmadov was officially declared a missing person. In February 2004, Mr. Akhmadov’s family was informed that he had been detained by servicemen of the Ministry of Justice on the basis of his involvement in illegal armed groups, and later transferred to a special field subdivision of the Federal Security Service.