Abdulkhanov v. Russia (Application no. 35012/10)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


(b)   Alleged violation of the substantive limb of Article 2

100. The Court observes that from the documents submitted it remains unclear what were the reasons and the purpose of the police officers’ visit to the applicant’s home on the night of the incident: there was no outstanding warrant for his arrest, he was not officially wanted as a suspect and no criminal proceedings were pending against him (see paragraphs 9, 21, 25 and 27 above). However, the police officers who arrived at his address were armed with machine guns and had been warned about the possibility of armed resistance (see paragraphs 21, 25, 31 and 33 above). Therefore, it appears that despite the lack of an official confirmation to this end, the police officers had prepared a special operation against the applicant (see paragraph 9 above). That operation was not spontaneous, as the officers arrived at the applicant’s house in advance (see paragraph 25 and 27 above).

101. By the time the applicant went outside, the officers had already been in his courtyard and were monitoring the house. They ought to have been ready for the developments that followed, as they had been warned of the possibility of armed resistance on the part of the applicant. However, no precautions were taken by the State agents with a view to safeguarding his life. The Court reiterates that the statements of the implicated police officers concerning the fire allegedly opened on them by the applicant are put into question by other evidence contained in the documents submitted, such as taking the Makarov pistol away from the crime scene by the police officer B. and his return of the gun to the crime scene examination team later, the lay witnesses’ statements showing that the circumstances of the collection of the evidence which served as the basis for the applicant’s conviction had in fact differed from the official version of the events, as well as the consistent statements of the applicant’s relatives and neighbours to the effect that they had not heard pistol gunfire prior to the machine gun fire opened by the officers.

102. In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that the Government have failed to demonstrate that resorting to lethal force against the applicant was absolutely necessary and that the actions of the authorities in respect of the planning, control and execution of the operation were sufficient to safeguard the life of the applicant (see Dalakov, cited above, § 87). 

103. There has accordingly been a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention


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