Baysayeva v. Russia

Legal Relevance

Keywords: Deprivation of Liberty | Systemic Practice | Relatives as Victims | Right to Know the Truth | State/Non-State Agents | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute

Themes: Characteristics of the Crime | Related Crimes

Taking into account the context of the conflict in Chechnya, the Court held that when a person was detained by unidentified State agents without any subsequent acknowledgment of such detention, this could be regarded as life-threatening. It concluded that the victim should be presumed dead following unacknowledged detention by State servicemen, and found the State responsible for his death. The Court also found that the authorities failed to carry out an effective criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the victim's disappearance and presumed death. The Court was not able to conclude that the victim was subjected to ill-treatment, but made a finding of inhuman treatment in respect of his wife in light of the fact that she had never received any plausible explanation as to what became of her husband for several years, and because of the manner in which her complaints have been dealt with by the authorities. The Court also found that the victim was held in unacknowledged detention in the complete absence of the safeguards related to the right to liberty and security.

Judgment Date

September 24, 2007



Judicial Body

European Court of Human Rights

Articles violated

Article 2 (procedural) [ECHR], Article 2 (substantive) [ECHR], Article 3 [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR], Article 13 [ECHR], Article 38 [ECHR]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 3 [ECHR], Article 6 [ECHR], Article 34 [ECHR]

Facts of the Case

"Mr. Shakhid Baysayev left for work passing through a Russian military checkpoint on 2 March 2000, and had not been seen since. In the following days, Mr. Baysayev's wife learned that on the day of the disappearance a “sweeping” operation aimed at identifying members of illegal armed groups was conducted in the village, resulting in a number of persons being detained by the Russian military. A number of witnesses told her that they had seen her husband being taken away by the Russian servicemen, and that he appeared as if he had been beaten. In August 2000, Mr. Baysayev's wife was stopped by a car near the checkpoint where her husband disappeared. The man in the car, wearing military uniform and a mask, threatened her and asked her for money to know who was behind her husband's disappearance. On the next day, Mr. Baysayev's wife brought the money to a man who showed her extracts from a videotape, in which she recognised her husband lying on the ground, being kicked by a soldier and then escorted by the military. The screen showed the date of 2 March 2000. The unknown man also gave her a sketch map of burial places, including that of her husband. Mr. Baysayev's wife was told that the tape was known to the prosecutor's office, as an investigator confirmed the next day.

An investigation into the disappearance was initiated and then suspended and adjourned in numerous occasions. In June 2001, Mr. Baysayev was declared a missing person. In December 2001, Mr. Baysayev's wife and an investigator from the prosecutor's office travelled to the burial site indicated on the map, where they discovered several pieces of clothing and a human bone. Later that day, the car in which the investigator was travelling was blown up. Mr. Baysayev's wife was accused by the prosecutor's office to be involved in the incident, and threatened not to insist on investigations and searches for her husband's body. In 2003 the criminal investigation established that, on 2 March 2000, Mr. Baysayev had been caught in shooting near the village, wounded and driven away by unknown persons, but failed to identify those responsible. In 2004, a prosecutor visited Mr. Baysayev's wife at her home and threatened her to sign a statement saying that she had not been subjected to any threats after her application to the European Court of Human Rights."

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