Gasangusenov v. Russia (Application no. 78019/17)

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

83.  Given that it has been established that the Gasangusenov brothers had been killed during the special operation carried out by State agents, the Court has to assess whether the use of the lethal force by those agents against the applicant’s sons was justified and in compliance with the State’s positive obligation under Article 2 of the Convention. 

86.  From the documents submitted it is apparent that the special operation was prompted by the terrorist attacks which had taken place in the area in the preceding weeks. A group of FSB officers from Moscow – more than 2,000 km away – had been deployed to assist the local law‑enforcement forces for the special operation (see paragraphs 18 and 22 above). Local police officers also had arrived in the vicinity of the applicant’s village on 23 August 2016 (see paragraph 38 above). Therefore, it is clear that the operation was not spontaneous as it was aimed at the capture of members of illegal armed groups operating in the area (see paragraph 22 above). No further information on the planning of the special operation could be derived from the documents submitted. 

87.  Furthermore, the documents reviewed by the Court suggest that no serious consideration was devoted to the control and execution of the special operation. The police officers questioned did not provide any information concerning the officer in charge of the operation, the one whose orders they had followed. Furthermore, all of them, including those who had been, by their own admission, in charge of their respective groups (see paragraphs 42 and 44 above), failed to provide any names of their colleagues who had also participated in that operation. It is plausible that they had done so in order to prevent more details on the operation’s execution being given to the investigators. Moreover, the documents submitted show that they themselves did not provide any pertinent details of the operation, such as a description of the circumstances of the encounter of the officers with the Gasangusenov brothers and of the subsequent shooting, which led to their deaths on 23 August 2016 (see paragraphs 42, 44, 48, 58 and 62 above). 

88. In the light of the reasons set out above, the Court finds that it has not been demonstrated that the lethal force used, which brought about Gasangusen and Nabi Gasangusenov’s death, was absolutely necessary, as required by Article 2 of the Convention.

89. There has accordingly been a violation of the substantive aspect of that provision.

(b)   Alleged violation of the procedural aspect of the right to life 

93. The documents submitted indicate that despite the contradictory information collected by the investigation in criminal cases nos. 63545 and 11702820021000081 and the applicant’s credible and consistent complaints, the domestic investigators failed to give a proper response to the serious allegations of inappropriate use of lethal force by agents of the State. By failing in its duty to carry out an effective investigation, the State fostered the State agents’ sense of impunity. The Court stresses that a proper response by the authorities in investigating serious allegations of use of lethal force by agents of the State in compliance with the standards of Article 2 of the Convention is essential in maintaining public confidence in their adherence to the rule of law and in preventing any appearance of collusion or tolerance of unlawful acts (see, among other authorities, Al‑Skeini and Others v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 55721/07, § 167, ECHR 2011).

94. In view of the foregoing, the Court concludes that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention under its procedural head.


De versie van de browser die je gebruikt is verouderd en wordt niet ondersteund.
Upgrade je browser om de website optimaal te gebruiken.