ICCPR Case Digest




Submission: 2014.05.19

View Adopted: 2020.03.13

M.I. v. Russian Federation

Long lapse of time (8 years) before submitting the case to the Committee constitutes an abuse of submission in a case against Russian Federation

Substantive Issues
  • Death penalty
  • Equality of arms and fair hearing
  • Retroactivity of the law
  • Right to appeal
  • Right to legal assistance
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.1
  • Article 14.3 (b)
  • Article 14.5
  • Article 15.1
  • Article 26
Full Text


The author is a national of the Russian Federation who claims that the State Party has violated his rights under articles 14, 15, and 26 of the Covenant. 

In June 1995, the author was found guilty of robbery and three premeditated murders accompanied by aggravating factors, committed under the influence of alcohol, and he was sentenced to death. Since he had been previously convicted of premeditated murder, the Court declared the author to be a serious repeat offender. In May 1999, the author’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by a presidential decree of pardon. A following appeal by the author excluded the reference to the author as a serious repeat offender while retaining his sentence of life imprisonment. In following unsuccessful appeals, he argued that his sentence should be commuted to 15 years imprisonment in line with the new criminal law given that the decision to sentence him to death was based on his declaration as a serious repeat offender. 

The author submits that these acts against him amount to discrimination on the ground of social origin - that is a person sentenced to death and pardoned to life imprisonment. He also claims that his rights to a fair trial were violated as his sentence has not been brought fully into compliance with the new criminal law, that the equality of parties was not ensured, and that he was not properly informed about the cassation appeals and hearings in front of the Judicial Panel of the Supreme Court. 


The Committee noted that the author had exhausted all effective remedies available to him, and ascertained that the same matter is not being examined under another procedure of international investigation or settlement. 

The Committee recalled that in certain circumstances it expects a reasonable explanation justifying a delay in submission of the communication. In the present case, the Committee noted that the communication was submitted to the Committee with a delay of 18 years since the author’s sentence became executable, and 8 years after the review of that sentence ultimately providing for a lighter penalty. It observed that the author does not prove any explanation to the circumstances of this delay, and noted that there is nothing in the submission to suggest that the author was limited in contacting the outside world from prison. In the absence of such a convincing explanation, it found the communication inadmissible.


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