VALIULLINY v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights)

THIRD SECTION
DECISION
Application no. 17550/11
Rustem Rafaelevich VALIULLIN and Elza Ravilevna VALIULLINA
against Russia

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 4 September 2019 as a Committee composed of:

Alena Poláčková, President,
Dmitry Dedov,
Gilberto Felici, judges,
and Stephen Phillips, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 9 March 2011 and 28 October 2013,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicants,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicants, Mr Rustem Rafaelevich Valiullin and Ms Elza Ravilevna Valiullina, are Russian nationals who were born in 1975 and 1982 respectively and lived in Izhevsk. They were represented before the Court by Mr P. Chikov and Mr S. Petryakov, lawyers practising in Kazan and Novocheboksarsk, respectively. The second applicant is the first applicant’s widow.

The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr M. Galperin, Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights.

On 9 March 2011 the first applicant lodged an application alleging a violation of his rights, as set out in Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention.

On 24 June 2012 the first applicant died.

On 28 October 2013 the second applicant lodged a request to pursue the application before the Court on the first applicant’s behalf. She also introduced a new complaint under Article 3 of the Convention alleging that the first applicant had been subjected to ill-treatment while in police custody.

On 19 October 2017 notice of the complaints concerning the alleged unlawfulness of the first applicant’s arrest and ill-treatment in police custody was given to the Government, and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible,pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court.

The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

1.  Administrative proceedings against the first applicant

On 2 August 2010 at 9:00 p.m. the police arrested the first applicant and took him to the police station on the administrative charge of having failed to comply with a legitimate police order.

The applicant remained in custody until the arrival of a justice of the peace on 3 August 2010. The justice of the peace examined the first applicant’s case, found him guilty as charged, and ordered the first applicant to pay a fine in the amount of 500 Russian roubles (RUB).

On the same date the police re-arrested the first applicant on the same charge of having refused to comply with a legitimate police order. According to the applicant, two police officers assaulted and beat him when he refused to be fingerprinted. He was detained at the police station until the next day.

On 4 August 2010 the justice of the peace dismissed the case against the first applicant, having discerned no proof in support of the charge. The town prosecutor appealed.

On 10 September 2010 the Almetyevsk Town Court of the Tatarstan Republic upheld the judgment of 4 August 2010 on appeal.

On 16 September 2010 the Town Court quashed the judgment of 4 August 2010 on appeal and remitted the matter for fresh consideration to the justice of the peace.

On 12 October 2010 the justice of the peace found the first applicant guilty as charged and ordered him to pay a monetary fine in the amount of RUB 1,000. The applicant lodged an appeal with the Town Court.

On 29 December 2010 the Town Court upheld the judgment of 12 October 2010.

2.  Alleged ill-treatment

On 4 August 2010 the first applicant complained to the prosecutor that he had been subjected to ill-treatment while in police custody.

On 12 August 2010 the first applicant underwent a forensic medical examination. The medical practitioner documented numerous bruises on the first applicant’s head, arms and body.

On 25 September 2010, 27 December 2011 and 6 May 2012 the regional investigative committee declined to institute a criminal investigation against the police officers. Each time, the head of the investigative committee quashed the respective decision and remitted the matter for further investigation.

Following the first applicant’s death, on an unspecified date the second applicant lodged an appeal with the Town Court against the decision of 6 May 2012.

On 19 March 2013 the Town Court upheld the decision of 6 May 2012.

Following a further appeal by the second applicant, on 21 May 2013 the Supreme Court of the Tatarstan Republic upheld the decision of 19 March 2013.

COMPLAINTS

The second applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention that the first applicant had been subjected to ill-treatment in police custody and that the ensuing investigation had not been effective.

The first applicant complained under Article 5 § 1 of the Convention that his detention at the police station had been unlawful.

THE LAW

1.  The second applicant complained that the first applicant had been subjected to ill-treatment in police custody, in contravention of Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Government submitted that the first applicant had not lodged a complaint under Article 3 of the Convention which fact prevented the Court from its examination.

The second applicant considered that she had locus standi to lodge such a complaint given that, following her husband’s death, she had taken part in the domestic proceedings instituted in response to his allegations of ill‑treatment in police custody. Relying on the case of Stepanian v. Romania (no. 60103/11, § 35, 14 June 2016), she argued that she had a strong moral interest in bringing her late husband’s grievances to the attention of the Court.

The Court observes that the first applicant died on 24 June 2012. A complaint was lodged on 28 October 2013 by his widow, the second applicant. In this connection, the Court refers to its well-established principles concerning the concept of “victim” within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention (see, for example, Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania [GC], no. 47848/08, §§ 96‑100, ECHR 2014) and reiterates that the rights claimed by the second applicant under Article 3 of the Convention belong to the category of non‑transferable rights. Consequently, even though the second applicant may have been affected by the circumstances of her late husband’s case, she cannot rely on those rights because of their personal nature(compare, Sanles Sanles v. Spain (dec.), no. 48335/909, ECHR 2000-XI, and Tomaszewscy v. Poland, no. 8933/05, §§ 72-81, 15 April 2014).

Regard being had to the above, the Court finds that the second applicant in this case does not have the requisite standing under Article 34 of the Convention and that the complaint under Article 3 of the Convention must be rejected as incompatible ratione personae with the provisions of the Convention, in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4.

2.  The first applicant complained that from 2 until 4 August 2010 he had been deprived of his liberty, in violation of Article 5 § 1 of the Convention, which, in so far as relevant, reads as follows:

“1.  Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:

(c)  the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so[.]”

The Government submitted that the second applicant had failed to explicitly and unequivocally express her wish to pursue her late husband’s application.

The second applicant reiterated her intent to pursue the proceedings before the Court.

The Court does not consider it necessary to examine the objection raised by the Government, as the complaint is in any event inadmissible for the following reasons.

The Court reiterates that in view of the short or relatively short durations of contested periods of deprivation of liberty within the framework of administrative proceedings, it is not practicable for an applicant to institute proceedings by which his or her arrests can be reviewed speedily by a court. At the same time, it may be appropriate to take into account, for the purpose of the six month’ rule, subsequent proceedings, if any (see Tsvetkova and Others v. Russia, nos. 54381/08 and 5 others, § 102, 10 April 2018).

Turning to the circumstances of the present case the Court notes that the first applicant was detained from 2 until 4 August 2010. He did not raise the issue of the alleged unlawfulness of his detention in subsequent proceedings concerning the administrative offences or the alleged ill-treatment. Accordingly, the first applicant was required to introduce his complaint no later than on 4 February 2011. However, he lodged the complaint only on 9 March 2011. It follows that this part of the application was introduced out of time and must be rejected, in accordance with Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Declares the application inadmissible.

Done in English and notified in writing on26 September 2019.

Stephen Phillips                                                 Alena Poláčková
Registrar                                                             President

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