Dokukiny v. Russia (Application no. 1223/12)

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


22.  In view of the medical and witness evidence, the Court finds that the applicants’ complaints amounted to an arguable claim of ill-treatment, triggering an obligation for the State to carry out an investigation satisfying the requirements of Article 3. The authorities, however, dismissed the applicants’ complaints following the pre-investigation inquiry. The Court has found previously that a pre-investigation inquiry is the initial stage in dealing with a criminal complaint under Russian law which may serve the legitimate purpose of filtering out illfounded complaints, saving the resources of the investigating authorities. However, if the information gathered has disclosed elements of a criminal offence, that is to say that the alleged illtreatment may have been committed, the preinvestigation inquiry no longer suffices and the authorities should initiate an investigation proper, in which the whole range of investigative measures can be carried out, including the questioning of witnesses, confrontations and identification parades (see Samesov v. Russia, no. 57269/14, § 54, 20 November 2018). The mere carrying out of a preinvestigation inquiry is insufficient if the authorities are to comply with the standards established under Article 3 of the Convention for an effective investigation into credible allegations of illtreatment by police (see Lyapin v. Russia, no. 46956/09, §§ 129 and 132-36, 24 July 2014, and Samesov, cited above, §§ 51-53 and 59). In particular, individuals who give “explanations” in the course of a pre-investigation inquiry bear no liability for false statements or for a refusal to testify (see Lyapin, cited above, §§ 105 and 134). An investigation compliant with the standards of Article 3 should result in a reasoned decision to reassure a concerned public that the rule of law had been respected (ibid., § 126). 

25.  The Court finds that no effective investigation was carried out into the applicants’ complaints. There has therefore been a violation of Article 3 under its procedural limb. 

29.  In the present case, the second applicant and her mother, the first applicant, indeed sustained physical injuries as a result of their encounter with the law-enforcement officers (see paragraph 26 above). It has not been shown by the Government that the use of force against them was strictly necessary in the circumstances of the case. Mr D. (the applicants’ husband and father respectively) and Mr S.Z. offered no resistance to their escorting to the police station (see paragraph 5 above). Bearing in mind the vulnerability of minors in the context of Article 3 of the Convention, the six police officers should have been capable of planning and carrying out their duties for maintaining public order with integrity and respect towards the public and with particular consideration for the situation of individuals belonging to especially vulnerable groups (see Bouyid, cited above, §§ 50-51, referring to the European Code of Police Ethics adopted by the Recommendation Rec(2001)10 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe; and A.P. v. Slovakia, cited above, § 62). However, they failed to do so in the absence of the relevant regulations or instructions, as noted at paragraph 28 above. Having regard to the material in its possession, the Court concludes that the applicants’ injuries resulted from the treatment to which they were subjected at the hands of the police on 9 May 2010. 

30.  There has accordingly also been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention under its substantive limb, in respect of both applicants.


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