View Adopted: 2019.07.24
The author is a Russian national who claimed that the state party has violated his rights under articles 7, 9, 14 (1), (2), (3) (b), (d) and (e) and (5), and 15; and 2 (2) and (3) (a), read in conjunction with 14 (5), of the Covenant.
The author alleged that in September 2005, several men broke into an apartment where he staying without identifying themselves, and assaulted the author and his friend. They took the author handcuffed to a nearby rivier where he was subjected to ill-treatment such as drowning and psychological pressure for three hours. Here, he was forced to confess to the killing of four people, however refused.
Afterward he was taken to a local police department where he was beaten and held for 15 hours without clothes, food or water. When he was later brought in front of an investigator the following morning, the staff member ignored his injuries and informed him that he would be held without reason.
In 2007, the author was found guilty of committing multiple murders, extortion, hooliganism, illegal acquisition of firearms and assaul. All subsequent appeals to reopen this finding were denied.
Firstly, the author claimed that the beatings and psychological pressure by police officers on several occasions, including the night of his arrest, violated his rights under article 7 of the Covenant. This included being detained for 15 hours, handcuffed, in inhuman and degrading conditions without access to food or water.
Secondly, owing to procedural deficiencies in his arrest, the author also considers that his rights under article 9 of the Covenant have been violated. The author also claims that the procedural deficiencies in his trial, including the prosecutor unlawfully influencing the jury, led to a violation of various paragraphs in article 14.
The author also claims that his overall prison sentence cannot exceed 25 years in accordance with domestic laws. Therefore, imprisonment for life violates his rights under article 15(1) of the Covenant.
The Committee noted that the author disagrees with the jury’s assessment and findings, but has not managed to show that the domestic court decisions, which were based on physical evidence, expert opinions and witness testimonies, were clearly arbitrary or amounted to a manifest error or denial of justice. On this basis, the Committee found the author had insufficiently substantiated his claim under article 14 (1) for the purposes of admissibility and considered it inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.
On the claim under article 15, the Committee found that as submitted by the state party, the author was sentenced on the basis of multiple convictions, which can carry a life sentence under domestic law. On this basis, the Committee found this portion of the complaint inadmissible.
The Committee noted that nothing on the file provides that the investigation into the allegations of the author’s cruel and inhuman treatment was carried out promptly or effectively by the authorities. Therefore, the Committee concluded that the facts as submitted revealed a violation of the author’s rights under article 7, read in conjunction with article 2 (3), of the Covenant.
The Committee further noted that in absence of other information, the author's allegations pertaining to his arrest, namely being deprived of his liberty without being informed of the reasons for arrest, being taken to a river and drowned, were in violation of the author's rights under article 9.
Further, bearing in mind the seriousness of the charges, the Committee noted that the failure of the state party to provide the author with the opportunity to meet with his lawyer ahead of the hearing, consituted a violation of article 14(3)(b). The lawyers conduct was also found to be in violation of article 14(3)(d).
Pursuant to article 2(3) (a) of the Covenant, the State party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, including making full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. Accordingly, the State party is obligated to:
Individual opinion of Committee member José Manuel Santos Pais (dissenting)
Committee member José Manuel Santos Pais decided not to join the majority on the basis that he could not find a violation.
Member Santos Pais argued that it has been the standing case law of the Committee that it is for the courts of States parties to evaluate the facts and the evidence in each case, or the application of domestic legislation, unless the evaluation is manifestly arbitrary or amounts to a denial of justice, and argued that the majority did not follow this precedent in this case.
Member Santos Pais argued that the author was deprived of his liberty on the grounds of and in accordance with procedures established by domestic law, his detention being neither unlawful nor arbitrary. On this basis, he argued that there had been no violation of article 9 (1) and (2) of the Covenant.
The Committee requested that the state party provide an update outlining measures taken to give effect to the Committee's views within 180 days, or prior to 24 January 2020.