by Aleksandr Viktorovich GUSEV
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 8 October 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Christos Rozakis, President,
Sverre Erik Jebens,
George Nicolaou, judges,
and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 June 2004,
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Aleksandr Viktorovich Gusev, is a Russian national who was born in 1983 and died in 2006. The Russian Government (“the Government”) are represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, the Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as they were submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
A. Alleged ill-treatment of the applicant by police officers
On 8 May 2001 police officers of the Avtozavodskiy Police Station visited the apartment of the applicant’s sister S. with the aim of questioning her. Also present were the applicant and his sister’s partner L. The police officers, namely Mr A. and Mr P., were rude and brutal. Officer A. kicked the applicant twice in the back. The applicant, his sister and her partner were then taken to a local police station. Upon arrival, Officer A. asked the applicant to go with him. The applicant refused. He was subsequently dragged into an office and beaten up by Officer A. and other police officers. After being forced to sign a statement that he was drunk, the applicant was allowed to leave the police station.
On the same date, namely on 8 May 2001, the applicant sought medical assistance at Hospital no. 37, where he was diagnosed with injuries to his face, neck and chest. The medical record contained no information to the effect that the applicant was in a state of drunkenness.
On 10 May 2001 the applicant was examined by a forensic expert who diagnosed multiple haemorrhages and abrasions on his face, bruises on his right shoulder and upper part of the body and left ear, a haematoma on the back of the head and post-traumatic otitis (ear inflammation). According to the expert’s report, all injuries could have been caused by the impact of hard blunt objects and could have been inflicted within two to three days prior to the examination.
B. Investigation into the alleged ill-treatment
On 14 May 2001 the applicant lodged a complaint with the local prosecutor’s office alleging ill-treatment by police officers. An investigation into his allegations was opened and discontinued ten times in total.
After the investigation was discontinued for the seventh time, the applicant complained to a domestic court about ineffectiveness of the police and prosecution authorities. Having pointed to a number of omissions made by the investigating authorities, by a decision of 9 July 2003, confirmed on 2 September 2003, the Avtozavodskiy District Court of Nizhniy Novgorod upheld the applicant’s allegations. The investigation was reopened and discontinued three more times.
It was never disputed that the applicant had sustained bodily injuries, in particular a number of bruises and posttraumatic otitis (ear inflammation), while in the custody of the police. However, according to the final conclusion of the prosecution authorities of 24 April 2004, given almost three years after the events complained of occurred, the applicant was injured when he fell to the ground in the corridor at the police station and was assisted by the police officers to stand up. In the view of the prosecutor, the applicant’s allegations as to the beatings by the police officers lacked credibility.
The applicant did not bring further complaints before the domestic courts. Instead, he complained to the Court alleging ill-treatment and ineffective investigation.
The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention of ill-treatment by the police officers. He further complained that he had been detained unlawfully in breach of Article 5 § 1 (c). He also alleged a violation of his right to private life under Article 8 on account of his being forced to go to the police station. He finally complained that he had not been afforded effective domestic remedies as required by Article 13 in respect of his complaint of ill-treatment.
The application was
communicated to the respondent Government on
5 December 2008.
By fax of 11 February 2009, the Government informed the Court that the applicant, Mr Gusev, had died on 24 June 2006. They enclosed supporting documents, including a death certificate and a letter of the applicant’s father to the Court, according to which he did not want to pursue his son’s complaint.
By letter of 1 June 2006, the father of the deceased applicant confirmed that no member of the family wished to continue the examination of his son’s application and asked to strike it out of the list of cases pending before the Court.
The Court considers with reference to Article 37 § 1 (a) and (c) of the Convention that, in these circumstances, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 and to strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Nielsen Christos Rozakis