Постановление ЕСПЧ от 10.10.2013 «Дело «Гакаева и другие (Gakayeva and Others) против Российской Федерации» Часть 8 [англ.]

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E. Application No. 33175/10, Arzhiyeva v. Russia

133. The applicant, Ms Rumi Arzhiyeva, was born in 1958 and lives in Avtury, Chechnya. She is represented before the Court by Mr D. Itslayev.
134. The applicant is the mother of Mr Usman Arzhiyev, who was born in 1978, and of Mr Valid Arzhiyev, who was born in 1986.

1. Abduction of the Arzhiyev brothers

135. According to the applicant, in the morning of 3 May 2005 the applicant’s sons, Usman and Valid Arzhiyev, were tending sheep on the south-eastern outskirts of Avtury.
136. At about 7 p.m. on that day the flock of sheep returned home without the shepherds. The applicant and her relatives were worried and went to the pasture to look for the brothers. There they found a piece of Usman’s clothing and footprints left by military boots. The applicant’s relatives followed the prints for about four or five kilometres and found traces of tyre tracks made by an APC and a Ural lorry.
137. The applicant immediately informed the head of the village administration, Mr I.U., about the brothers’ disappearance.
138. Later that evening the head of the administration informed the applicant that her sons had been detained by military servicemen stationed on the premises of the Avturinksiy State farm.
139. At about 10 p.m. the head of the administration again confirmed to the applicant that her sons had been arrested by military servicemen and that they would be released soon.
140. On 4 May 2005 the head of the local administration told the applicant that he would talk to the servicemen about releasing the brothers.
141. In the evening of the same day the applicant managed to gain access to the military unit stationed at the State farm. Through a window of a brick-built storehouse, she saw her sons Usman and Valid standing against the wall with their hands behind their backs. They were alone in an empty room with a concrete floor.
142. Three days later, on 6 or 7 May 2005 the head of the administration told the applicant that her sons had been transferred from the premises of the military unit.
143. According to the applicant, soldiers from the military unit told her that detainees were usually transferred from their premises to the main military base of the federal forces in Khankala.
144. The applicant has had no news of her sons ever since.

2. Official investigation of the abduction

145. The Government submitted a copy of criminal case file No. 46049 (292 pages) on the abduction of Usman and Valid Arzhiyev. The information submitted may be summarised as follows.
(a) Opening of a criminal investigation
146. On 4 May 2005 the uncle of Usman and Valid Arzhiyev, Mr B.A., complained about the abduction to the Shali district prosecutor’s office. He stated that his nephews had disappeared while tending sheep on local pasture land, that he and his relatives had subsequently found items of clothing along with traces of APC tyre tracks at the place of the disappearance, and that the family suspected that the Arzhiyev brothers had been abducted by military servicemen.
147. On 8 May 2005 the prosecutor’s office opened criminal case No. 46049 under Article 105 of the Criminal Code (murder). The charge was subsequently reclassified, on 13 January 2009, under Article 126 of the Criminal Code (abduction).
(b) Main witness statements taken by the investigators
148. On 4 May 2005 the investigator questioned a number of witnesses, including the applicant, Mr B.A. and Mr M.B. The applicant stated that on 3 May 2005 her sons, Usman and Valid Arzhiyev, had gone to tend sheep on the outskirts of Avtury. By 5 p.m., after their dog and sheep had returned home, she had become worried and had gone to the pasture to search for her sons, but no to avail. She had found some of her sons’ clothing near the forest.
149. Mr B.A. gave a similar statement and added that at the place of the disappearance he had also found footprints left by army boots and traces of tyre tracks made by military vehicles such as APCs and Ural lorries leading to a former summer camp.
150. Mr M.B., a local resident, stated that at about 9 a.m. on 3 May 2005 he had seen two APCs and a Ural military lorry at the exit of the village of Avtury. They had been moving in the direction of the former summer camps.
151. On 12 May 2006 the investigators again questioned the applicant. She stated, amongst other things, that at the place of her sons’ disappearance, she and her fellow villagers had found footprints left by military boots, which had led them to tyre tracks made by APCs and a Ural lorry, and that those types of vehicles had been seen near the village on the day before the abduction. The investigation questioned several of the applicant’s relatives and neighbours, all of whom gave a similar statement to the effect that traces of the military had been found at the place of the disappearance.
152. On 19 May 2006 the head of the local administration, Mr P.M., told the investigation that on 4 May 2005 he had learnt about the disappearance of the Arzhiyev brothers. He and his colleague, Mr I.U., had decided to search for the applicant’s sons at the premises of military unit SSG-1 stationed on the outskirts of the village, where they had met the unit’s commander and his deputy. The officers had denied detaining the Arzhiyev brothers.
153. On various dates in June 2005 the investigators questioned a number of local residents whose statements were of a similar nature: they had all seen APCs and a military Ural lorry patrolling the area around the date of the abduction.
154. On 5 June 2006 and again on 11 February 2008, in addition to her initial submissions, the applicant stated that the then head of the local administration, Mr I.U., who had since died, had gone to military unit SSG-1 stationed in Avtury to enquire about her sons’ whereabouts. He had then informed her that her sons had been detained at the unit and that they would be released after the check concerning their involvement in illegal armed groups. She further stated that on 5 May 2005 she had gone to the premises of that unit to find out about her sons’ fate. A soldier guarding the entrance had asked her whether their dog had returned home on the day of her sons’ disappearance. The applicant had found it suspicious that the soldier had known that the family had had a dog.
(c) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities
155. On 4 May 2005 the investigators examined the crime scene. The established traces of vehicle tyre tracks were identified as «similar to those of an APC or a tractor» and photographed. The clothes found at the scene were collected as evidence. No forensic examination was conducted in respect of the tyre tracks and other material evidence.
156. On 12 May 2005 the applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case and questioned.
157. On 26 May 2005 the investigator requested the Shali ROVD to carry out operative search measures.
158. On 8 July 2005 the investigation of the criminal case was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators and the applicant was informed thereof.
159. On 1 August 2005 and again on 17 February 2006 the applicant wrote to the Chechnya prosecutor stating that her sons had been abducted by military servicemen. She requested that the criminal investigation into the abduction be conducted by a military prosecutor’s office. No replies were given to her requests.
160. On 5 April 2006 the supervising prosecutor held that the investigation had been unlawfully suspended and ordered that it be resumed.
161. On 25 April 2006 the Shali prosecutor instructed the investigators to verify, amongst other things, whether the Arzhiyev brothers had been detained by servicemen of the SSG-1 military unit and to question the unit’s superior officers to that end. On 5 May 2006 the Chechnya FSB informed the investigators that «military unit SSG-1» did not exist. On 10 May 2006 the Chechnya MVD informed the investigators that the personnel of SSG-1 (also known as SOG-7) had changed and the current staff of the military unit had no pertinent information.
162. On 20 January 2007 the Shali prosecutor’s office asked the FSB to name the officers of the military unit SSG-1 who had been stationed in Avtury in May 2005. No reply was given.
163. On 17 January 2011 the Shali investigations department informed the applicant of the following:
«…Given that the involvement of servicemen of the federal forces in the abduction of [Usman and Valid Arzhiyev]… has been established, it has been decided to transfer the criminal case for further investigation to the [military investigating authority].»
164. On 21 July 2011 the Chechnya investigations department returned the criminal case to the Shali investigations department, stating that there was no evidence proving the involvement of servicemen in the abduction of the applicant’s sons:
«…The discovery of traces of APC tracks and footprints made by army-type boots (though no forensic examinations have been conducted in this regard) is not enough to conclude that Usman and Valid Arzhiyev were abducted by servicemen…»
165. On 1 December 2011 the criminal proceedings were resumed and are currently pending.

F. Application No. 47393/10, Elikhanova v. Russia

166. The applicant, Ms Roza Elikhanova, was born in 1949 and lives in Urus-Martan, Chechnya. She is represented before the Court by lawyers from the Memorial Human Rights Centre.
167. The applicant is the mother of Mr Khavazhi Elikhanov, who was born in 1977.

1. Abduction of Khavazhi Elikhanov

168. According to the applicant, at about 3 p.m. on 4 November 2001 Khavazhi Elikhanov and two friends, Mr Sh.S. and Mr A.A., were walking along a street near the crossroads of Soldatskya and Vtoraya Polevaya Streets in Urus-Martan, about fifty metres from the applicant’s house.
169. A group of about fifteen to twenty masked armed servicemen in camouflage uniforms pulled over in a Ural lorry and a VAZ-2121 («Niva») car. They opened gunfire and ordered local residents, in unaccented Russian, to stay indoors. Then they arrested the three men, put them in the lorry and took them to the Urus-Martan district military commander’s office («the military commander’s office»).
170. The abduction was witnessed by the applicant’s husband and a number of local residents. After the servicemen’s departure, the residents found traces of blood on the ground, as the abductors had wounded Mr A.A.
171. Immediately after the abduction the applicant ran to the military commander’s office and asked for information about the three men. The on-duty officers denied having any knowledge of it.
172. In the evening of 4 November 2001 Mr Sh.S. was released from the military commander’s office. He told the applicant that he had been detained at the office with Khavazhi Elikhanov.
173. On 5 November 2001 the applicant’s relatives asked the military commander, Mr G.G., to release Khavazhi Elikhanov. The commander promised that the applicant’s son would be released the following day. However, Khavazhi Elikhanov was never released.
174. On 7 November 2001 the military commander’s office returned the body of Mr A.A., who had been abducted together with the applicant’s son, to his relatives.

2. Official investigation

175. The Government submitted a copy of «the entire criminal case file No. 25158» (65 pages) on the abduction of Khavazhi Elikhanov. The information submitted may be summarised as follows.
(a) Opening of the criminal investigation
176. On 27 November 2001 the deputy head of the local administration informed the Urus-Martan prosecutor’s office about the numerous complaints submitted by the applicant’s husband concerning Khavazhi Elikhanov’s disappearance and asked for assistance in searching for him.
177. On 5 December 2001 the applicant complained to the Urus-Martan district prosecutor’s office that her son had been abducted by military servicemen who had opened gunfire and forced her son and two other men into their vehicle. She stated that the abductors had been driving a UAZ-model minivan (tabletka) and a military Ural lorry, that one of the abducted men had been released later the same day, and that the other man had been killed and his body handed over to his relatives on 6 December 2001 in the courtyard of the VOVD.
178. On 14 December 2001 the Urus-Martan prosecutor’s office opened criminal case No. 25158 under Article 126 of the Criminal Code (abduction).
(b) Main witness statements taken by the investigators
179. On 8 November 2002 the investigator questioned the applicant and her neighbours who had witnessed the abduction. The applicant stated that her son had been stopped on his way home on 4 November 2001 by armed men in camouflage uniforms patrolling in military Ural and UAZ vehicles. They had hit him on the head and put him into one of the vehicles. When she and her neighbours had attempted to approach the scene, the abductors had opened gunfire and then driven away. The applicants’ neighbours, Ms S.M. and Ms R.M., gave similar statements.
(c) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities
180. On 7 February 2002 the investigator requested that the VOVD search for Khavazhi Elikhanov.
181. On 10 February 2002 the VOVD informed the investigators that Khavazhi Elikhanov had not been detained on either their premises or those of the military commander’s office, and it had not been possible to establish his whereabouts.
182. On 14 February 2002 the investigator suspended the investigation for failure to identify the perpetrators.
183. On 3 January 2003 the applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case and questioned.
184. In April 2004 the applicant complained to the prosecutor’s office that the investigation had been ineffective.
185. On 24 June 2005, following the applicant’s complaint, the supervising prosecutor ordered that the investigation be resumed and that basic investigative steps be taken.
186. On 24 July 2005 the investigation was again suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators.
187. In 2007 the criminal case was transferred to the Achkhoy-Martan investigations department.
188. The criminal proceedings are currently pending.

3. Proceedings to gain access to the file

189. On 11 January 2010 the applicant requested access to the investigation file.
190. On 12 January 2010 the investigator rejected the applicant’s request, stating that she was entitled to access the file only after completion of the criminal proceedings.
191. On 27 January 2010 the applicant appealed to the Achkhoy-Martan District Court against the investigators’ refusal to grant her access to the investigation file.
192. On 15 February 2010 the court partially granted the applicant’s request and ordered the investigators to grant her access to those parts of the file which did not contain State secrets.

G. Application No. 54753/10, Temiraliyeva and Others v. Russia

193. The applicants are:
1) Ms Khizhan Temiraliyeva, born in 1959;
2) Mr Uzumkhazhi Dzhamalov, born in 1961;
3) Ms Dzharadat Dzhamalova, born in 1987;
4) Ms Khedi Dzhamalova, born in 1977;
5) Ms Satsita Dzhamalova, born in 1989;
6) Ms Khadizhat Dzhamalova, born in 1981, and
7) Ms Zhaneta Dzhamalova, born in 1993.
194. The applicants live in Berkart-Yurt, Chechnya. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative.
195. The applicants are close relatives of Mr Aslan Dzhamalov, who was born in 1979. The first and second applicants are his parents; the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh applicants are his sisters.

1. Abduction of Aslan Dzhamalov

196. According to the applicants, at about 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. on 9 July 2002 Aslan Dzhamalov and his neighbours, Mr U.O. and Mr A.A., went to the Seda in Mayakovskogo Street, Grozny.
197. The three men were sitting at a table when a large group of armed masked servicemen in camouflage uniforms arrived at the in two military UAZ vehicles and a VAZ car. They pulled plastic bags over the heads of the three men, forced them into one of the UAZ vehicles and drove away.
198. About five minutes later the abductors arrived at the premises of the non-operational administration in Zavety Ilicha Street in Grozny. Aslan Dzhamalov and his neighbours were each taken to different cells and subjected to torture and questioning.
199. On 10 July 2002 the two neighbours overheard the guards’ conversation to the effect that Aslan Dzhamalov was dying and that it would make sense to call an ambulance. Sometime later they heard the servicemen saying that Aslan had died.
200. On 11 July 2002 Mr U.O. and Mr A.A. were released. They returned home, but the applicants’ relative has been missing ever since.

2. Official investigation

201. The Government submitted a copy of the entire criminal case file No. 20043 (159 pages) on the abduction of Aslan Dzhamalov. The information submitted may be summarised as follows.
(a) Opening of the criminal investigation
202. The criminal case file submitted by the Government does not contain the applicants’ initial complaint about the abduction of their relative. The applicants submitted a copy of a letter dated 28 August 2002 whereby the Chechnya prosecutor’s office forwarded the first applicant’s complaint about the abduction of her son to the Leninskiy district prosecutor’s office in Grozny for examination.
203. The criminal case file contains only copies of several complaints made by the first applicant to the Chechnya Government in November 2002. In her complaints the first applicant alleged that at about 4 p.m. on 9 July 2002 her son and his two neighbours had been abducted by servicemen from a and that the abductors had been driving two UAZ vehicles.
204. On 16 December 2002 the Chechnya Government forwarded the first applicant’s complaints to the Grozny prosecutor’s office and the Grozny department of the interior («the Grozny ROVD») for examination.
205. On 5 February 2003 the Grozny prosecutor’s office opened criminal case No. 20043 under Article 126 of the Criminal Code (abduction).
(b) Main witness statements taken by the investigators
206. On 7 February 2003 the investigator questioned Ms M.M., who had been working in the . She stated that at about 11 a.m. on 9 July 2002 the three young men had ordered lunch at the . During their meal seven or eight armed men in camouflage uniforms had burst into the and taken them away.
207. On 24 April 2003 the first applicant stated that at about 4 p.m. on 9 July 2002 an unknown man had arrived at her home and told her that armed masked men in camouflage uniforms had abducted her son together with Mr U.O. and Mr A.A. from the . No one knew where they had been taken. The first applicant further stated that Mr U.O. and Mr A.A. had been released three days later, but she had had no news of her son.
208. On the same date, 24 April 2003, Mr A.A and Mr U.O. were also questioned by the investigators. Mr A.A. stated that on 9 July 2002 he had been in the with Mr U.O. and Aslan Dzhamalov when several armed men in camouflage uniforms had burst in. The men had beaten them up, pulled plastic bags over their heads, forced them into a UAZ vehicle and taken them to an unidentified place. He had been detained in the same cell as Aslan; Mr U.O. had been taken to another cell. The abductors had interrogated them about their possible involvement in illegal armed groups. Three days later he and Mr U.O. had been blindfolded, put in a car and thrown out on the outskirts of Grozny. Mr U.O gave a similar statement.
(c) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities
209. On 5 March 2003 the investigator examined the crime scene. No evidence was collected.
210. On the same date the investigator sent information requests about Aslan Dzhamalov’s possible detention to various law-enforcement agencies. Negative replies were given.
211. On 20 March 2003 the investigator requested the Leninskiy ROVD to carry out operative search measures.
212. On 24 April 2003 the first applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.
213. On 25 April 2003 the investigation of the criminal case was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. The applicants were not informed thereof.
214. On 31 August 2006 the supervising prosecutor overruled the decision to suspend the investigation as unlawful and ordered that it be resumed and the investigators took a number of basic steps.
215. On 2 October 2006 the investigation was again suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. The applicants were not informed thereof.
216. On 25 February 2011 the investigation was resumed and again suspended on 3 April 2011 for failure to identify the perpetrators.
217. The proceedings are currently pending.

H. Application No. 58131/10, Payzulayeva and Others v. Russia

218. The applicants are:
1) Ms Aset Payzulayeva, born in 1960;
2) Mr Ayuub (also spelt as Ayub) Cherkasov, born in 1953;
3) Ms Zalina Mukulova, born in 1981;
4) Mr Said-Khusein Cherkasov, born in 1999;
5) Mr Shakhru-Ramazan Cherkasov, born in 2001;
6) Ms Khava Eskarova, born in 1959;
7) Mr Uvys Istamulov, born in 1951, and
8) Ms Raisa Shakhtiyeva, born in 1986.
219. The applicants live in Verkhniy Noyber, in the Gudermes district, Chechnya. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative.
220. The applicants are from two families; they are close relatives of Mr Magomed Cherkasov, who was born in 1979, and Mr Ayub Istamulov, who was born in 1981. The first and second applicants are the parents of Magomed Cherkasov; the third applicant is his wife and the fourth and fifth applicants are his children. The sixth and seventh applicants are the parents of Ayub Istamulov; the eighth applicant is his wife.

1. Abduction of Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov

221. At about 5 p.m. on 30 April 2001 Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov were picking mushrooms in a forest near Verkhniy Noyber when they were detained by a group of six or seven armed men in camouflage uniforms who had arrived at the forest in an APC. The men subjected the two men to beatings while leading them away.
222. The abduction of the applicants’ relatives was witnessed by three fellow villagers, Mr Sh.M., Mr S.E. and Mr M.D.
223. On the following morning the applicants went to look for their relatives in the forest. Together with their neighbours they followed footprints and found Ayub Istamulov’s shoe with traces of blood on it.
224. On 1 May 2001 the applicants complained about the disappearance of their relatives to the head of the village administration.
225. A few days later the applicants found out that Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov had been detained in the forest by servicemen from the Main Intelligence Department («the GRU»), whose unit was stationed fifty metres from the village, in the nearby forest.
226. According to the applicants, on the following day several young shepherds were also detained in the forest by military servicemen, but released for ransom sometime later.

2. Official investigation

227. The Government submitted a copy of the entire criminal case file No. 45108 (182 pages) on the abduction of Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov. The information submitted may be summarised as follows.
(a) Opening of the criminal investigation
228. On 4 May 2001 the seventh applicant reported the abduction of Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov to local law-enforcement agencies.
229. On 1 September 2001 the Gudermes ROVD refused to initiate a criminal investigation into the applicants’ complaints of their relatives’ disappearance.
230. On 27 September 2005 the supervising prosecutor from the Gudermes district prosecutor’s office overruled the refusal as unlawful and ordered that criminal case No. 45108 be opened under Article 105 of the Criminal Code (murder).
(b) Main witness statements taken by the investigators
231. On 1 November 2005 the first applicant stated that on 30 April 2001 Magomed Cherkasov had gone to Ayub Istamulov’s house and had not returned. Ayub lived on the outskirts of the village near the forest, where a military unit was stationed. Afterwards, she had found out that her son had left the house with Ayub and disappeared. The first applicant also noted that there had been rumours that local villagers had seen servicemen leading Magomed and Ayub to the forest.
232. On 6 February 2009 several eyewitnesses to the abduction were questioned by the investigators. Mr Sh. M. told the investigators that at about 5 p.m. on 30 April 2001 he had been in the courtyard of his house when he had seen Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov walking near the forest. At some point, seven or eight armed servicemen who were stationed in the nearby forest had appeared from the woods. They had ordered Magomed and Ayub to lie down, arrested them and taken them into the woods. Several hours later, he had gone with other villagers to check the place where the abducted men had been detained. They had seen footprints made by military boots leading into the forest. Mr S.E., who had been cutting down trees when he had seen the applicants’ relatives being abducted by the servicemen, gave a similar statement and added that he had seen traces of blood at the place of the abduction. Mr M.O., who had been tending sheep when he had witnessed the abduction, gave a similar statement. According to him, it was not the first time that those servicemen had abducted local residents.
233. On 10 February 2009 the sixth applicant was questioned. The relevant part of her statement reads as follows:
«…At about 5 p.m. my son [Ayub Istamulov], who was born in 1981, together with his friend [Magomed Cherkasov] were picking mushrooms on the outskirts of the village… Armed men from the federal forces, probably from the GRU, arrested my son and his friend and took them in the direction of the forest. The incident was eyewitnessed by the residents of our village [Mr M.D., Mr Sh.M. and Mr S.E.], who were tending sheep nearby… Several days later a fellow villager [Ms T.] came to our house and told us that her father had heard… that two residents of the village of Bachi-Yurt had been released for ransom. During their release those persons had seen two young men who had introduced themselves as Magomed and Ayub… from the village of Verkhniy Noyber. [Magomed and Ayub] had been blindfolded. One had been wearing a white knitted sweater, the other a blue denim shirt. [Magomed and Ayub] asked [those persons] to pass on the message to their relatives that they had been arrested on the outskirts of the village of Verkhniy Noyber and were being detained on the premises of [the military unit of] the federal forces stationed on the outskirts of Verkhniy Noyber. After that we went to the village of Bachi-Yurt and found the father of one of these young men, who stated that he had managed to get the servicemen stationed in the forest on the outskirts of Verkhniy Noyber to release his son and his friend in exchange for ransom. But he said that his son had not seen anyone and that it had been only rumours… On the day my son disappeared he was wearing a blue denim shirt…»
(c) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities
234. On 25 October 2005 Mr S.E., the brother of the disappeared Ayub Istamulov, was granted victim status in the criminal case.
235. On 1 November 2005 the first applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.
236. On 24 November 2005 the Gudermes district prosecutor instructed the investigation to take a number of steps; in particular, to examine the crime scene and carry out a forensic examination of the collected evidence. His order was not complied with.
237. On the same date the investigator sent information requests about the disappeared persons’ possible detention to various law-enforcement agencies. Negative replies were given.
238. On 27 December 2005 the investigation was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators.
239. On an unspecified date the first applicant complained to the investigators that the investigation had been ineffective and requested that it be resumed. In particular, she pointed out that even though the three eyewitnesses to the abduction lived in the village of Verkhniy Noyber, they had not been questioned by the investigation. She further stated that on the day of her son’s disappearance, those witnesses had seen Magomed Cherkasov and Ayub Istamulov being detained by servicemen of the unit stationed in the forest on the outskirts of the village and requested that the investigators question those witnesses. She further pointed out that the servicemen of the above-mentioned unit were notorious for committing robberies and other crimes in their village. She asked the investigators to identify the military unit stationed in the village at the material time and the perpetrators of her son’s abduction. From the documents submitted it appears that no steps were taken to this end by the investigation.
240. On 22 January 2009 the investigation was resumed and the investigator questioned the eyewitnesses (see paragraphs 232 and 233 above). The investigation was further suspended and resumed on several occasions.
241. On 10 February 2009 the sixth applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.
242. The criminal proceedings are currently pending.

I. Application No. 62207/10, Vakhidova v. Russia

243. The applicant, Ms Khelipat Vakhidova, was born in 1950 and lives in Urus-Martan, Chechnya. She is represented before the Court by lawyers from the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative.
244. The applicant is the mother of Mr Musa Vakhidov, who was born in 1976.

1. Abduction of Musa Vakhidov

245. At about 3 p.m. on 22 June 2000 Musa Vakhidov, who worked for the Chechnya Ministry of the Interior («the MVD»), was at the bus station in the Chernorechye settlement in the Zavodskoy district of Grozny.
246. An APC with the registration number «Zavodskoy ROVD-208» pulled over at the bus station. A group of Russian-speaking military servicemen in camouflage uniforms and bandanas were in it. Two of them disembarked from the APC and walked up to Musa Vakhidov. Without introducing themselves they checked his passport, and informed their colleagues that Musa Vakhidov’s papers were in order. Nonetheless, the man on the top of the APC ordered the two servicemen to detain Musa Vakhidov. Mr Vakhidov managed to shout out to a bystander, Ms F., that he was from the Vakhidov family in Urus-Martan. Then the two servicemen pulled a plastic bag over his head, forced him into the APC and drove away in the direction of Grozny.
247. The abduction took place in the presence of numerous witnesses, including the vendors at nearby kiosks. At the time of the abduction a convoy of seven APCs and Ural lorries was seen in the vicinity of the bus station.
248. On 23 June 2000 the Zavodskoy district military commander told the applicant’s relatives to contact a certain Mr Arkadiy, an officer «in charge» of the Zavodskoy district of Grozny.
249. On 25 June 2000 Mr Arkadiy told the applicant’s relatives that Musa Vakhidov had been transferred to Khankala, the main military base of the Russian federal forces in Chechnya, and that if Musa «did not commit anything serious, he would be released on [the following] Monday or Tuesday».
250. On or around 29 June 2000 Mr Arkadiy told the applicant’s relatives that Musa Vakhidov was still alive and would be released in two weeks.
251. The applicant went to the Khankala military base and various detention centres in the North Caucasus but could not obtain any information about her disappeared son.

2. Official investigation

252. The Government submitted a copy of the entire criminal case file No. 13029 (152 pages) on the abduction of Musa Vakhidov. The information submitted may be summarised as follows.
(a) Opening of the criminal investigation
253. The criminal case file submitted by the Government does not contain the applicant’s initial complaint about the abduction of her son. The applicant submitted a copy of the letter dated 9 August 2000 whereby the Grozny prosecutor’s office forwarded her complaint about the abduction to the Grozny VOVD.
254. On 28 February 2001 the Grozny prosecutor’s office opened criminal case No. 13029 under Article 126 of the Criminal Code (abduction).
(b) Main witness statements taken by the investigators
255. On 10 March 2001 the applicant was questioned. She stated that on 22 June 2000 Musa Vakhidov had gone to work and had not returned. She had found out later that a street vendor, Ms Ya., who had been selling sunflower seeds near the bus station in the Chernorechye settlement, had witnessed Mr Vakhidov’s abduction by federal forces servicemen.
256. On the same date Ms Ya. was questioned by the investigators. She stated that in the morning of 22 June 2000 she had been selling sunflower seeds near the bus station when she had seen an APC arrive at the bus station. A group of military servicemen in camouflage uniforms had got out of the APC and walked up to Musa Vakhidov. They had checked his passport and then taken him to the APC. Mr Vakhidov had shouted to her that he was from the Vakhidov family in Urus-Martan and asked her to inform his relatives about his detention.
(c) Main investigative steps taken by the authorities
257. On 10 March 2001 the applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.
258. On 15 April 2001 the investigators sent inquiries to various law-enforcement agencies asking for information concerning Musa Vakhidov’s whereabouts. Replies in the negative were received.
259. On 28 April 2001 the investigation was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. It is unclear whether the applicant was informed thereof.
260. On 1 August 2002 the applicant’s daughter wrote to the supervising prosecutor requesting that the investigation be resumed. On 13 August 2002 the investigation was resumed upon the order of the supervising prosecutor.
261. On 13 September 2002 the investigation of the criminal case was suspended again. The applicant was informed thereof on 8 June 2009. No replies were given to the applicant’s requests for information lodged during the period.
262. On 23 June 2009, following a complaint submitted by the applicant, the supervising prosecutor overruled the decision to suspend the investigation as unlawful and premature, and ordered that it be resumed and that the investigators take a number of basic steps.
263. On 15 July 2009 the investigation was suspended and then resumed on 7 July 2011. The applicant was not informed of the suspension.
264. The criminal proceedings are currently pending.

J. Application No. 73784/10, Musayevy v. Russia

265. The applicants are:
1) Mr Mauldy Musayev, born in 1926;
2) Ms Kameta Musayeva, born in 1971, and
3) Ms Ayza Musayeva, born in 1963.
266. The applicants live in Ulus-Kert, in the Shatoy district, Chechnya. They are represented before the Court by lawyers from the Stichting Russian Justice Initiative.
267. The applicants are close relatives of Mr Robert Musayev, who was born in 1974. The first applicant is his father, the second and third applicants are his sisters.

1. Abduction of Robert Musayev

268. On 8 May 2001 Robert Musayev arrived in his VAZ-21213 («Niva») car at the market in Dachu-Borzoy. He was going to visit a relative who lived in the village.
269. Two APCs, one of them with registration number B503, arrived at the market shortly afterwards and a group of five or six servicemen in military uniforms arrested Robert Musayev and forced him into one of the APCs.
270. Robert Musayev managed to shout out to bystanders that he had a sister living in the village and that she should be informed about the events.
271. One of the servicemen told the crowd that Robert Musayev would be spending the night at the military commander’s office in Chiri-Yurt; then the APCs, along with Mr Musayev’s Niva car, were driven away.
272. In the morning of 9 May 2001 the head of the Ulus-Kert village administration, Ms T.V., complained to the military commander’s office about the abduction. According to the head of the administration, she had seen Robert Musayev on the premises of the military commander’s office from a window of a nearby building. The applicant’s son had been barefoot and had had something pulled over his head.
273. On the same date a number of the applicants’ relatives also saw Robert Musayev in the yard of the military commander’s office through a hole in the fence surrounding the premises. In addition, a military serviceman named Eldar confirmed to them that Mr Musayev was being detained on their premises and that he would be released soon. His Niva car was parked in the yard of the military commander’s office.
274. On the same day Robert Musayev was taken in a convoy of three armoured vehicles, two of which had registration numbers 512 and 522, to the premises of the 34th brigade of the federal forces stationed in Dachu-Borzoy.
275. On 16 May 2001 Mr Musayev’s car was returned to the applicants’ relatives at the premises of the Chiri-Yurt ROVD. The interior of the car had been completely burnt out.
276. The applicants have had no news of their relative ever since.

2. Official investigation

277. The Government did not disclose any documents from the criminal case file on the disappearance of Robert Musayev, in spite of their assertion to the contrary (see paragraph 295 below). On the basis of the copies of some documents from the investigation file submitted by the applicants, the investigation may be summarised as follows.
278. On 17 May 2001 the Chechnya prosecutor’s office forwarded the applicants’ complaint about Robert Musayev’s detention by military servicemen to the Shatoy district prosecutor’s officer.
279. On 11 June 2001 the Shali ROVD informed the applicants’ relatives that on 8 May 2001 servicemen of the Chiri-Yurt military commander’s office had detained Robert Musayev for an identity check and that after completion of the check he had been released and his car had been returned to him.
280. On 13 June 2001 the Shali military commander’s office informed the applicants of the following:
«In reply to the request of the head of the administration of Ulus-Kert… I inform you of the following.
[Robert Musyaev] was detained on 8 May 2001 in [his] Niva car and on the same date taken to [the premises of the military commander’s office in] Chiri-Yurt. On 9 May 2001 he was handed over to servicemen of the 34th brigade of the federal forces and taken to the brigade’s premises.»
281. On 18 March 2002 the Grozny district prosecutor’s office opened criminal case No. 56036 (in the documents submitted the number was also referred to as 59271) under Article 126 of the Criminal Code (abduction). The text of the decision stated, amongst other things, that the whereabouts of Robert Musayev’s Niva car remained unknown.
282. On 18 May 2002 the investigation of the criminal case was suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. The applicants were informed thereof on 10 February 2003.
283. On 22 May 2002 one of the applicants’ relatives was granted victim status in the criminal case. The text of the decision stated, amongst other things, that the whereabouts of Robert Musayev’s Niva car remained unknown.
284. On 30 July 2002 the Shatoy district military commander requested that the Shali district military commander assist in the search for Robert Musayev, who had been detained on 8 May 2001 by servicemen from the GRU.
285. On 28 November 2006 the supervising prosecutor from the Grozny district prosecutor’s office overruled the decision to suspend the investigation as unlawful and ordered that it be resumed and a number of basic steps taken.
286. On 28 November 2006 the second applicant was granted victim status in the criminal case.
287. On 6 December 2006 the investigators questioned Robert Musayev’s cousin, Mr T.M., who stated that on 8 or 9 May 2001 he had participated in the search for Robert Musayev, who had been detained by military servicemen. According to the witness, Robert’s car, along with his passport, had been returned to the applicants’ relatives by servicemen on the premises of the military commander’s office sometime after the abduction.
288. On 27 December 2006 the investigators questioned the head of the Ulus-Kert administration, Ms T.V. According to her, the abduction had been perpetrated by military servicemen. She stated that Robert Musayev had been arrested by servicemen from the military commander’s office and that on 8 May 2001 she had seen Mr Musayev on their premises. On 13 June 2001 she had obtained information from the deputy military commander, Mr Kh.A., about Mr Musayev’s transfer on 9 May 2001 from the military commander’s office to the premises of the 34th brigade in Dachu-Borzoy.
289. On 29 December 2006 the investigators questioned Mr Kh.A., who had served as deputy military commander at the Shali district military commander’s office. Mr Kh.A. stated that on 13 June 2001 he had given an official information statement concerning Robert Musayev’s detention at the military commander’s office and his transfer to the premises of the 34th brigade in Dachu-Borzoy, but owing to the passage of time he could not recall the details of the events.
290. On 30 December 2006 the investigation was again suspended for failure to identify the perpetrators. The text of the decision stated, amongst other things, that the whereabouts of Robert Musayev’s Niva car remained unknown.
291. On 30 March 2010 the applicants asked the investigators to provide them with access to the investigation file. No response was given to their request.
292. On 21 May 2010 the applicants asked the investigators to provide them with an update on the progress in the criminal case.
293. On 1 June 2010 the investigators informed the applicants that the investigation had been suspended on 30 December 2006 and that their relative’s whereabouts remained unknown.
294. It follows from the Government’s observations that the investigation was resumed on 30 November 2011 and is currently pending.
295. In reply to the Court’s request, the Government submitted that «the authorities of the Russian Federation furnish in full the contents of all the criminal case files opened in connection with the abduction of the applicants’ relatives».

II. Relevant domestic law and practice and international materials

296. For a summary of the relevant domestic law and practice and for international and domestic reports on disappearances in Chechnya and Ingushetia, see Aslakhanova and Others v. Russia, (Nos. 2944/06, 8300/07, 50184/07, 332/08 and 42509/10, §§ 43 — 59 and §§ 69 — 84, 18 December 2012).

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