Medova v. Russia
Duty to Investigate | Obligation to Prevent | Deprivation of Liberty | State/Non-State Agents | Effective Remedy
The Court was satisfied that the victim was abducted by armed men who identified themselves as State agents, but was not able to prove whether the latter were indeed State authorities due to the lack of sufficient evidence. Drawing on its previous findings that the disappearance of a person may in itself be considered as life-threatening even when it is not possible to establish the State's involvement in it, the Court held that the victim must be presumed dead following his abduction by a group of armed men. Nevertheless, the Court was of the opinion that a finding of State involvement in the disappearance of a person is not a condition sine qua non for the purposes of establishing whether that person can be presumed dead; in certain circumstances the disappearance of a person may in itself be considered as life-threatening. It found that the State failed to comply with its positive obligation to safeguard the life of individuals within its jurisdiction, finding that the authorities’ decision to release the armed victim's captors, which resulted in his disappearance, constituted a breach of the positive obligation to take preventive measures to protect those whose life is at risk from the criminal acts of other individuals. The Court further concluded that the authorities’ failure to put an end to the victim's arbitrary deprivation of liberty while they had the means of doing so constituted a breach of his right to liberty and security.
June 5, 2009
Article 2 (procedural) [ECHR], Article 2 (substantive) [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR], Article 13 [ECHR], Article 38 [ECHR]
Articles not violated / not dealt with
Article 3 [ECHR], Article 34 [ECHR]
Facts of the Case
Mr. Adam Medov left his home in Ingushetia in his car on 15 June 2004. In the night of 16 to 17 June, he called his brother and said that his car had broken down. He tried to say where he was, but the phone was cut off. On 17 June 2004 Mr. Medov's relatives were informed that their son was being detained at the District Department of the Interior. The policemen told them that the traffic police had stopped two vehicles for an inspection, found two men tied up inside the cars and arrested everyone who was in the cars. According to the police, one of the men tied up was Mr. Medov, who was crying for help and told the police that he had been apprehended by a group of men and had been taken to the Federal Security Service headquarters in Ingushetia, where he had been beaten, tortured, and forced to call his family to convince them not to start searching for him. At the police station, the armed persons who were driving the cars presented their documents as Federal Security Service officers as well as documents authorising the detention of Mr. Medov and the other man. The policemen initially allowed two of Mr. Medov's brothers to visit him. However, while they were waiting, they heard someone shouting “No visits! They should leave!”, and were then escorted to the exit of the building. Later that day the policemen told Mr. Medov's relatives that he and another detainee had been released and driven to Chechnya along with the armed men who had initially apprehended them. Mr. Medov's relatives were later informed that since he had been detained by the Federal Security Service all complaints had been forwarded to the military prosecutor. Between January and March 2005 persons who claimed to belong to the Federal Security Service threatened Mr. Medov's wife and offered her money for the withdrawal of her complaints. On 15 June 2005, the District Court of Ingushetia declared Mr. Adam Medov a missing person.