Barovov v. Russia (Application no. 9183/09)

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

39.  The Court observes that it took the authorities almost twelve years – an unreasonably long period of time – to conduct the preliminary investigation and trial in the criminal proceedings which ended with the conviction of two police officers who had subjected the applicant to ill-treatment. For the major part of that time the investigation was stalled, as a result of the repeated unlawful discontinuation and suspension of the proceedings, as was acknowledged by the civil courts (see paragraph 25 above). It was only after obtaining the forensic medical examination report from experts who were not from the regional forensic medical examination centre (which over the years issued conflicting opinions about the time of the infliction of the applicant’s injuries and excluded the possibility of the infliction of the serious abdomen injury on the day of the applicant’s ill-treatment), nine years after the crime, that any meaningful process followed (see paragraphs 18-20 and 22 above). However, one of the three perpetrators of the applicant’s ill-treatment was never formally identified and charged, despite requests from the applicant who had himself identified him (see paragraph 23 above). No reasons were given by the authorities, which discontinued the proceedings against him on the grounds that the prosecution under Article 286 of the Criminal Code had become time barred, as to why his prosecution under Article 111 § 3 (a) of the Criminal Code (like the other two police officers with whom he had committed the crime) was not possible (see paragraphs 22-23 above). Furthermore, important medical and other evidence was lost (see paragraphs 10, 19 and 20 above). 

43.  Furthermore, there is no indication that disciplinary measures were taken against the officers and that they were suspended from work pending the criminal proceedings against them. P. was still part of the police force at the time of his conviction, occupying the post of head of a unit at a higher police department, and T. had apparently chosen to resign, whereas the caselaw says that where State agents have been charged with crimes involving ill-treatment, the Court underlines the importance of the suspension from duty of the agent under investigation or on trial as well as his dismissal if he is convicted (see Nikolova and Velichkova, cited above, § 63, with further references; Ali and AyşeDuran v. Turkey, no. 42942/02, § 64, 8 April 2008; Savin v. Ukraine, no. 34725/08, § 71, 16 February 2012; and Myumyun,cited above, § 71). 

44.  By exempting the officers from the criminal liability under one applicable provision of the Criminal Code and punishing them with suspended terms of imprisonment under another, more than twelve years after their wrongful acts, and never disciplining them, the State in effect fostered the law enforcement officers’ sense of impunity and their lack of a critical attitude to their deeds, as noted by the prosecutor (see paragraph 24 above). 

46.  In view of the foregoing, there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its procedural limb.


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