by Elbika SHABAZOVA
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 2 April 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Sverre Erik Jebens,
George Nicolaou, judges,
and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 30 January 2005,
Having regard to the interim measure indicated to the respondent Government under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court and the fact that this interim measure has been complied with,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Elbika Shabazova, is a Russian national who was born in 1972 and lives in the Russian Federation. She is represented before the Court by Ms K. Moskalenko and Ms O. Mikhaylova, lawyers from the Moscow-based International Protection Centre. The Russian Government (“the Government”) is represented by Mr. P. Laptev and Mrs V. Milinchuk, former Representatives of the Russian Federation before the Court.
The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant is wife of Mr Mahmut Magomadov born in 1954, who at the material time worked as an expert with the International Protection Centre in Chechnya. On 20 January 2005 around 8 p.m. Mr Magomadov was allegedly kidnapped by unknown men in the Staropromyslovsky district of Grozny.
The applicant's representatives gave divergent accounts of the events that followed Mr Magomadov's alleged abduction. On 15 February 2005 they provided information that Mr Magomadov had been released on 20 January 2005 after a half-an-hour detention by unknown men and that he had hidden with some of his relatives outside Chechnya until he returned to Grozny on 13 February 2005. They later submitted that the circumstances surrounding Mr Magomadov's alleged abduction and his subsequent hiding away could not be clarified with precision. On 13 May 2005 they claimed to have in their possession some documentation evidencing the facts of Mr Magomadov's abduction but provided no detail in this respect. Finally, on 14 January 2008, the applicant's representative submitted that he had been released from detention some time in February 2005.
The Government submitted that the State authorities had not been involved in Mr Magomadov's alleged abduction and detention. They supported their submission by reference to a number of investigative measures taken by the Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic in response to the Court's decision of 1 February 2005 under Rule 39 (see below). Referring to the applicants' representatives' letter of 15 February 2005, the Government concluded that Mahmut Magomadov had been voluntarily hiding away from his family and the authorities during the relevant period.
The reports about abduction and disappearance of Mr Magomadov provoked an international public outcry, including a declaration made on 27 January 2005 by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
The applicant complained under Articles 3, 5 and 8 of the Convention of her husband's abduction and disappearance.
The application was lodged with the Court on 30 January 2005. On 1 February 2005 the acting President of the Chamber to which the case had been allocated decided to indicate to the Government of Russia, under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court, an interim measure desirable in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before the Court. Taking into account the alleged detention of the applicant's husband by a State authority, the Government were requested to inform whether Mr Magomadov had been detained by a state authority in Grozny on 20 January 2005 and to produce information concerning the legal basis for such detention. The respondent Government was also requested to submit any available information concerning Mr Magomadov's whereabouts, as well as copies of any relevant documents concerning the search for Mr Magomadov. The Government were requested to submit the information by 1 March 2005.
On 1 March 2005 the Government informed the Court of a number of investigative steps taken by the authorities, notably, by the Prosecutor of the Chechen Republic in response to the above requests. These included the examination of the alleged crime scene and interrogation of witnesses. The Prosecutor interrogated inter alia several high officials of the Chechen Republic including Mr Ramzan Kadyrov, the Vice-Chairman of the Chechen Government at the material time, and inspected his house. The Prosecutor concluded on the basis of the investigation that Mr Magomadov had not been apprehended by the State authorities.
On 2 March 2005 the President of the Chamber reconsidered the application in the light of the information provided by the parties on 15 February and 1 March 2005 and decided, in view of that information, that the Government had complied with the interim measure indicated on 1 February 2005 under Rule 39 and that this measure ceased to apply.
On 13 May 2005 the applicant's representative indicated that the applicant and her husband wished to pursue the application before the Court. On 23 May 2005 the applicant's representative was requested to submit a completed application form and copies of the relevant documents but provided no response. On 9 November 2007, the Registry sent her a letter by registered mail informing that failure to reply might lead the Court to conclude that the applicant was no longer interested in pursuing her application and to strike it out of its list of cases. By letter of 14 January 2008, the applicant's representative confirmed that the applicant did not intend to pursue her application.
In view of the forgoing, the Court considers that the applicant may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue her application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. 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.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis