Zaurbekova and Zaurbekova v. Russia
Burden of Proof | Deprivation of Liberty | Evidence | Relatives as Victims | State/Non-State Agents | Effective Remedy | Duty to Investigate | Duty to Prosecute | Reparations
The Court was satisfied that the victim was apprehended by State agents and recalled that in the context of the conflict in the Chechen Republic unacknowledged detention by unidentified servicemen without any subsequent acknowledgement of the detention can be regarded as life-threatening. The Court thus held that the victim must be presumed dead, especially in light of the considerable amount of time passed since his disappearance, and found the State responsible for his death. The Court was not able to conclude that the victim was subjected to ill-treatment while in detention, but made a finding of inhuman treatment with respect to his family in light of the fact that they did not receive any plausible explanation as to his whereabouts or updates on the investigation, and because of the manner in which their complaints have been dealt with by the authorities. 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 safeguards.
June 5, 2009
Article 2 (procedural) [ECHR], Article 2 (substantive) [ECHR], Article 5 [ECHR], Article 8 [ECHR], Article 13 [ECHR], Article 38(1)(a) [ECHR], Article 1 [P1ECHR]
Articles not violated / not dealt with
Article 3 [ECHR]
Facts of the Case
In February 2003, unidentified persons in camouflage uniforms armed with automatic firearms (allegedly Russian federal troops) entered Mr. Isa Zaurbekov's house without any documents, and apprehended him. One of the servicemen stated that they would take Mr. Zaurbekov away and find out whether he was the one they were searching for. Mr. Zaurbekov's relatives saw armoured personnel carriers and military vehicles leaving in the direction of a federal military base. Mr. Zaurbekov's relatives had no news of him since his abduction, although they repeatedly applied to various public bodies. An investigation into the abduction was opened in June 2003, and then suspended and resumed several times until 2007.