Luluyev and Others v. Russia

Key Judgment


Legal Relevance

Keywords: Duty to Investigate | Obligation to Prevent | Women and Girls | Deprivation of Liberty | Relatives as Victims | State/Non-State Agents

Themes: Characteristics of the Crime | Prevention | Related Crimes

The Court made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to the victim's relatives despite the fact that the victim was later found dead, due to the long time during which they sustained uncertainty, anguish and distress caused by the victim's disappearance before her body was found. It added that their suffering was aggravated by the manner in which their complaints have been dealt with by the authorities and by their exclusion from monitoring the progress of the investigation. The Court also found that the victim was held in unacknowledged detention in complete absence of the safeguards contained in Article 5, since the State submitted no explanation for her detention and provided no documents about her arrest. It further held that the authorities failed to take prompt and effective measures to safeguard the victim against the risk of disappearance, thus subjecting her to a particularly grave violation of her right to liberty and security as a result of her unacknowledged detention.

Judgment Date

February 9, 2007

Country

Russia

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]

Articles not violated / not dealt with

Article 6 [ECHR], Article 8 [ECHR], Article 14 [ECHR]

Facts of the Case

On 3 June 2000, while she was at the market in Grozny, Mrs. Nura Luluyeva was apprehended along with other women by a group servicemen who were wearing camouflage uniforms and masks, and who were armed with machine guns. The servicemen put sacks over the women's heads and loaded them into an armoured personnel carrier. The police were called, but the military started shooting in the air and drove away, claiming that they were “lawfully carrying out a special operation”. Mrs. Luluyeva's relatives applied to various authorities requesting information about her whereabouts, they petitioned the media and other public figures, and they also personally visited detention centres and prisons. None of these attempts were successful. In June 2000 criminal proceedings were instituted, but later adjourned several times. In February 2001 Mrs. Luluyeva's body was found in a mass grave near the headquarters of the Russian military forces in Chechnya. In March 2001 the Prosecutor's Office informed Mrs. Luluyeva's relatives that further investigations would be conducted to identify the culprits. In April 2001 a death certificate was issued for Mrs. Luluyeva, with the date and place of death noted as 3 June 2000 at the place where she was found, indicating death for homicide caused by a gunshot wound during a “period of hostilities”. Between 2001 and 2005, investigations were adjourned and reopened on various occasions, but failed to identified those responsible. Information concerning the progress of the investigation was provided only occasionally and partially to Mrs. Luluyeva's family.

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