After a judgment is issued, RJI continues its work on decided cases from the North Caucasus in three main ways:
1. It engages with the relevant national authorities to disseminate, translate and analyze obligations flowing from the judgments;
2. It provides comprehensive submissions on individual and general measures to the Committee of Ministers on a regular basis;
3. It conducts awareness-raising with national and international actors to provide up-to-date information on the progress of implementation and to strategize the most appropriate approaches to pursuing effective implementation.
After a judgment enters into force, RJI translates the judgment into Russian and disseminates the translation to the national institutions (usually, the prosecutor’s office and the local investigating authorities) which were responsible for investigating the applicant’s case. The translations are accompanied by an analysis of the European Court’s judgment, with particular emphasis on the Court’s commentary regarding the shortcomings of the investigation in the particular case, and a request to inform both the applicants and RJI of the status of the investigation and the measures undertaken by the investigative authorities since the entry into force of the judgment.
In certain specific cases with particularly strong evidence as to the identity of the perpetrators, RJI undertakes further efforts to enforce an effective investigation, such as applying for judicial review of investigatory decisions to suspend or terminate investigations or deny access to case materials.
Many of the results of RJI’s efforts to follow-up on decided cases on the domestic level have been included in its reports to the Committee of Ministers, available in the Resources and Materials section.
Unfortunately, even in cases in which there exists strong evidence as to the identity of the perpetrators, we have observed that investigations continue to be marred by the same problems that led victims and their relatives to appeal to the ECtHR in the first place, including:
- Ceaseless transfers of complaints and inquiries between different investigative departments without any accompanying information on the progress of the investigation;
- Continual re-opening and suspension of criminal cases without significant progress in the investigation: cases may be re-opened following a judgment of the ECtHR, but then as a rule are suspended again several months later, even in the face of strong evidence as to the identity of the perpetrator;
- Continual denial on spurious grounds of access to case materials for victims or their representatives, or access granted in name but not in practice due to continuing red-tape on the part of the investigating authorities in defiance of court-sanctioned requests;
- Continuing ineffectiveness of domestic remedies available for challenging the decisions of investigatory bodies;
- Lack of any indictments brought against perpetrators who are known or could be easily identified.
We have also observed and commented on some of the most serious potential obstacles to accountability in the North Caucasus, such as amnesty legislation and the application of statutes of limitation.