(Application no. 33470/03)
15 October 2009
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Antipenkov v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Christos Rozakis, President,
Sverre Erik Jebens, judges,
and André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 24 September 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. Use of force during the applicant's arrest and a prosecutor's decision of 30 December 2002
B. Alleged ill-treatment in the police station, after the arrest and ensuing investigation into the applicant's complaints
“The decision [of 23 January 2003] was manifestly ill-founded and premature, as the investigation had been incomplete; the circumstances in which the injuries to [the applicant] had been caused were not fully examined; [the applicant] was not questioned and [he] did not undergo an examination by a medical expert; administrative and criminal arrestees detained in [the police station] were not questioned about the events; the traffic police officers who had brought [the applicant] to the [police station] were not questioned; therefore [the decision] should be annulled.”
The deputy prosecutor also drew up a list of measures which should be taken in the course of the new round of the investigation, including a medical examination and questioning of the applicant, and the establishment and questioning of possible eyewitnesses among those persons who had been detained with the applicant.
The investigator concluded that officers S. and P. had acted in full compliance with requirements of Articles 13 and 14 of the Police Act.
“At the same time it is impossible to conclude that the decision of the investigator refusing institution of criminal proceedings was lawful and well-founded, taking into account the following considerations.
As shown by the material from investigation no. 1-13 opened upon the [applicant's] complaint, the investigator's conclusions drawn up in the decision [of 24 October 2003] do not correspond to the circumstances of the case which were established in the course of the investigation. Moreover, the investigation was incomplete.
The fact of [the applicant's] arrest and [his] placement in the detention facility of the Dyatkovskiy District Police Department on 14 December 2002, at 7.20 p.m., was confirmed by an extract from the registration log of persons brought to the police department... According to an extract from the record of medical examinations of persons detained in the detention facility of the Dyatkovskiy District Police Department, on 15 December 2002, at the time of the placement, [the applicant] had injuries on the left and right sides of the body, the left and right buttocks, injuries on the forehead, the bridge of his nose, the left cheek, and numerous injuries on the back.
As is apparent from the statements by [the victim of the robbery], on 14 December 2002, at about 7 p.m., [the applicant] had no visible injuries.
The decision [of 24 October 2003] did not indicate whether it had been established that [the applicant] had been injured by officers of the police department during his arrest.
Therefore, in the course of the investigation the investigator of the prosecutor's office did not establish the time, place, extent, or method and means of infliction of the injuries which [the applicant] had been found to have during his examination on 15 December 2002; the severity [of those injuries] was likewise not established.
Accordingly, [the court] cannot regard as rightful and substantiated the investigator's finding that [the applicant] received injuries as a result of the two blows to his back made by Mr P. and by [the applicant's] knocking on the door and walls and by his being handcuffed.
The investigator did not examine, and thus did not evaluate, the [applicant's] statements concerning the effect of the injuries which had led to his having obtained a leg disease... accordingly, [an investigator] did not check information concerning [the applicant's] stay in hospital; a diagnosis which had been pronounced at the end of the treatment; the severity of the damage caused to [the applicant's] health leading to the diagnosis; the existence of a causal link between the injuries which he had been found to have on 15 December 2002 and his illness.
In the decision the investigator refers to statements by Mr K. and Mr G., from which it transpires that they were arrested and detained in cell no. 7, when on 14 December 2002 after dinner, [the applicant] was placed there, allegedly in a state of intoxication; [he had] injuries and explained that they had been caused by the police officers when he had offered resistance to the arresting officers.
At the same time, as is apparent from the material in investigation file no. 1/13, on 14 December 2002, at 11.50 p.m., [the applicant] was placed in a cell where Mr Sh., Mr T., and Mr D. were being held. On 15 December 2002, at 4 p.m., [the applicant] was placed in cell no. 7 with Mr G. and Mr K.
In these circumstances, the [Regional] Court considers that the conclusions of the [Town] Court about the lawfulness and rightfulness of the investigator's decision of 24 October 2003, concerning the refusal to institute criminal proceedings, do not correspond to the circumstances of the case, and thus the decision of [19 May 2003] should be quashed and the case should be remitted for a new court examination.”
“[The applicant] in his numerous complaints stated that, as a result of being beaten by the police officers, his legs had been paralysed; however, his statement is refuted by the conclusions of a forensic medical examination which had been performed [in compliance with the Town Court's decision of 4 November 2004] on the basis of [the applicant's] medical records from facilities nos. IZ-32/1 [detention facility of the Police Department] and OB-21/2...; on the basis of which it was established that the illnesses with which [the applicant] had been diagnosed in those facilities...do not have a pathogenetic causal link to his injuries and that [the illnesses] are independent diseases of a non-traumatic character. When [the applicant] asked for medical assistance on 15 December 2002, he had an injury on the forehead and the nose bridge, an injury on the left cheek-bone, bruises on the left and right sides of the chest, and bruises on the back and buttocks. Those injuries were caused by numerous applications of firm blunt objects to those parts [of the body], which could have been carried out by blows with those objects or by his being hurled against those objects. Those injuries, taken together or separately, caused 'slight' damage to the health ... During the examination and treatment of [the applicant], immediately after the injuries had been caused or in a subsequent period of time, [the investigation] did not establish any data which could have shown that [the applicant] had had a head injury, a rib fracture, a spinal injury or any other injuries of a traumatic character.”
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
A. Investigation of criminal offences
B. Use of force and special measures in detention facilities
1. Custody Act (no. 103-FZ of 15 July 1995) (Федеральный закон «О содержании под стражей подозреваемых и обвиняемых в совершении преступлений»)
- to repel an attack on a staff member of a detention facility or on other persons;
- to repress mass disorder or put an end to collective violations of the detention rules and regulations;
- to put an end to a refusal to comply with lawful orders of facility administration and warders;
- to release hostages and liberate buildings, rooms and vehicles taken over by a detainee;
- to prevent an escape;
- to prevent a detainee from hurting himself (section 45).
2. Police Act (no. 1026-1 of 18 April 1991) (Закон РФ «О милиции»)
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF ALLEGED ILL-TREATMENT AFTER ARREST
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
A. Submissions by the parties
B. The Court's assessment
(a) General principles
(i) As to the scope of Article 3
(ii) As to the establishment of facts
(b) Application of the above principles in the present case
(i) Establishment of facts and assessment of the severity of ill-treatment
(c) Alleged inadequacy of the investigation
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE ALLEGED ILL-TREATMENT DURING THE ARREST
III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 6,000 (six thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable on that amount;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 15 October 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
André Wampach Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President