18 April 2013, Thursday

On 18 April 2013 the non-governmental organizations Russian Justice Initiative (RJI) and International Protection Centre (CIP) sent an official submission to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CoM) regarding the functioning of domestic judicial review procedures as a tool for implementing judgments from the European Court of Human Rights on Chechnya.

Currently, the only domestic judicial review mechanism available in the vast majority of Khashiyev group cases to address investigative shortcomings identified by the European Court is the procedure provided for by Article 125 of the Russian Criminal Procedure Code. In at least six cases between 2010 and 2012, applicants who had won cases at the European Court attempted to rely on Article 125 CCP to challenge procedural decisions made during the investigation or to request access to the case materials. In almost all of these cases the applicants obtained no substantive outcome through recourse to the Article 125 CCP procedure in the areas of obtaining access to case materials, challenging the legal basis for classifying case materials, or challenging the effectiveness of the investigation.

Therefore, although the Russian Government has maintained that effective judicial review mechanisms exist to implement the over 160 “Chechen judgments” on the agenda of the Committee of Ministers, the applicants maintain the contrary. RJI and CIP submit that the current situation is untenable, given that over 160 judgments have entered into force concerning procedural violations of the obligation to investigate torture, killings and disappearances in Chechnya and Ingushetia, and the Article 125 CCP procedure appears to be the only mechanism available to applicants who wish to bring judicial scrutiny to bear on the conduct of investigations in their cases.


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