The ECHR judgment of November 12, 2019 in the case of A. (A.) v. Russia (application No. 37735/09).
In 2009, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to the Russian Federation.
The case has successfully examined the application that the applicant, being a minor, was forced to attend the forced detention of her father, who did not offer any resistance during the detention. The case has violated the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
Circumstances of the case
The applicant alleged that she was present during the detention of her father and saw how violence was applied to him, although he did not show any resistance during the detention, during which he was thrown to the floor and beaten. Shortly after these events, the applicant was diagnosed with several medical diagnoses, including “neurological disorder, enuresis and post-traumatic stress disorder”. The Government contested the applicant’s allegations, insisting that no force was used against her father during the detention, therefore they could not be held responsible for any harm caused to the applicant.
QUESTIONS OF LAW
Regarding compliance with Article 3 of the Convention (substantive and procedural aspects). As a result of the Court's assessment of the documents submitted to him, he concluded that the applicant’s allegations that she had to be present during the detention of her father and that the detention was violent were credible.
The version of the authorities of the Russian Federation was based on materials from the preliminary investigation, the first stage of the procedure for considering reports of a crime. However, the Court did not see any reason to derogate from its previous case-law, according to which a preliminary investigation without further investigation into the case was insufficient for the authorities to comply with the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention for an effective investigation into plausible allegations of ill-treatment by the police. The Government responded to the applicant’s plausible allegations of treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention by initiating a preliminary investigation and refused to initiate a criminal investigation and conduct a full investigation into it. The courts of the Russian Federation agreed with this, thereby not fulfilling their procedural obligation provided for in Article 3 of the Convention. The investigation did not provide the respondent Government with an appropriate basis for complying with the burden of proof in order to provide evidence that would cast doubt on the credibility of the applicant's allegations that she was forced to be present during the forced detention of her father. Thus, the Court considers this fact established.
The interests of the applicant, who was nine years old during the events under consideration, were not taken into account at any stage in the planning and conduct of the operation to detain her father. Law enforcement officials did not pay attention to her presence, which they knew about, during the detention of her father and forcing her to observe the use of violence against him, although he did not show any resistance. These circumstances had very serious consequences for the applicant and constituted a violation by the authorities of their obligation to prevent ill-treatment.
In the case there was a violation of the positive obligations under Article 3 of the Convention in the substantive and procedural aspects in connection with the failure to conduct an effective investigation in this regard.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention (adopted unanimously).
In application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awards the applicant EUR 25,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.