30.01.2019 | Автор: Зеров Костянтин
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«Андрєєва проти України»: ЄСПЛ встановив порушення Конвенції у зв`язку з неефективним та тривалим розслідуванням обставин смерті сина Заявниці (ст. 2 Конвенції, заява № 24385/10, від 29.01.2019 р.)

Фабула судового акта: Справу розпочато за заявою громадянки України Є.І. Андрєєвої щодо стверджуваного порушення Україною Конвенції у зв`язку з неналежним розслідуванням обставин смерті її сина.

Сина Заявниці було знайдено мертвим; після огляду місця події міліцією було повідомлено, що він закінчив життя самогубством через повішення. Прокуратура відмовила у відкритті кримінальної справи за відсутністю складу злочину. Судово-медична експертиза не виявила інших, крім слідів мотузки, пошкоджень на тілі померлого.

Обласна прокуратура скасувала рішення щодо відмови у відкритті кримінальної справи, вказавши, що не були досліджені причини самогубства та ін. Під час подальшого розслідування, яке тривало з 2005 по 2012 роки, експертами було виявлено численні переломи на тілі сина Заявниці. Заявниця і її чоловік стверджували, що знайшли сина у сидячому положенні, а не в петлі, і що його було жорстоко вбито.

У 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 (2) роках Заявниці було відмовлено в порушенні кримінальної справи за відсутністю елементів складу злочину. У подальшому такі рішення були скасовані як необґрунтовані вищестоящими органами.

Після набрання чинності Кримінальним процесуальним кодексом Заявниця звернулася до органів досудового розслідування із заявою про передбачуване вбивство її сина. У 2012 та 2013 (2) роках провадження припинялося, поте у подальшому відповідні рішення були скасовані вищестоящими органами, судом. Суд відзначав, що розслідування не було ретельним і всебічним, не було належно розглянуто версію про можливу участь місцевої міліції, не було допитано усіх свідків з усіх питань, що стосуються смерті сина Заявниці, не оцінено наявні докази. У 2014 році досудове розслідування знову було припинено.

ЄСПЛ відзначив, що у справі відсутні будь-які докази причетності міліціонерів до смерті сина Заявниці, або жорстокого поводження з їхнього боку, з огляду на що статті 2 і статті 3 Конвенції в цьому аспекті порушено не було. Водночас, оскільки відсутність доказів могла бути викликаною нездатністю національних органів розслідувати справу, дане питання буде розглянуто окремо в контексті процесуальних зобов'язань України відповідно до Конвенції.

ЄСПЛ наголосив, що розслідування повинне відповідати мінімальним стандартам ефективності, які включають в себе незалежність, адекватність, ретельність, оперативність, громадський контроль, участь найближчих родичів та ін. Натомість, протягом 9 років твердження Заявниці про вбивство її сина не були належно досліджені. ЄСПЛ також звернув увагу на те, що на національному рівні було неодноразово встановлено, що розслідування є неефективним, в тому числі це твердження було актуальним через 10 років з початку розслідування. На думку суддів ЄСПЛ, численні відновлення розслідування свідчать про недоліки у кримінальному процесі.

ЄСПЛ дійшов висновку, що ефективне розслідування за фактом смерті сина Заявниці не було здійснене, таким чином, мало місце порушення процесуального аспекту статті 2 Конвенції.

Аналізуйте судовий акт: «Буїд проти Бельгії» [ВП] (Bouyid v. Belgium [GC]), заява № 23380/09

«Строган проти України» (Strogan v. Ukraine), заява № 30198/11

«Мустафа Тундж і Феджіре Тундж проти Туречиини» [ВП] (Mustafa Tunç and Fecire Tunç v. Turkey [GC]), заява 24014/05

«Зубкова проти України» (Zubkova v. Ukraine), заява № 36660/08

«Центр правових ресурсів від імені Валентина Кампеану проти Румунії» [ВП] (Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania [GC]), заява № 47848/08

FOURTH SECTION

CASE OF ANDREYEVA v. UKRAINE

(Application no. 24385/10)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

29 January 2019

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Andreyeva v. Ukraine,

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

Georges Ravarani, President,
Marko Bošnjak,
Péter Paczolay, judges,
and Andrea Tamietti, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 8 January 2019,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in an application (no. 24385/10) against Ukraine lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Ukrainian national, Ms Yevdokiya Ivanovna Andreyeva (“the applicant”), on 16 April 2010.

2. The applicant, who had been granted legal aid, was represented by Ms O. Belyayeva, a lawyer practising in Dnipro. The Ukrainian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, most recently Mr I. Lishchyna.

3. On 3 March 2014 notice of the application was given to the Government. The Government objected to the examination of the application by a Committee. Having considered the Government’s objection, the Court rejects it.

THE FACTS

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

4. The applicant was born in 1935 and lives in the town of Snizhne, Donetsk region.

5. On 14 January 2004 the applicant’s son, born in 1967, was found dead in the applicant’s barn. On the same day police officers inspected the scene and reported that the man had committed suicide by hanging.

6. On 24 January 2004 the investigator of the Snizhne Prosecutor’s Office, following the pre-investigation inquiries, refused to initiate criminal proceedings on the grounds that no elements of a crime had been established in relation to the death of the applicant’s son.

7. On 11 February 2004, following a forensic medical examination, an expert concluded that the applicant’s son’s death had been caused by strangulation by a loop of rope, possibly as a result of the applicant’s son’s body weight pulling against the rope. The body displayed no other injuries.

8. On 5 April 2005 the Donetsk Regional Prosecutor’s Office quashed the decision of 24 January 2004 (see paragraph 6 above) as premature and unfounded, finding that further pre-investigation inquiries were necessary given that the possible reasons for suicide had not been examined, and other relatives as well as acquaintances of the deceased had not been questioned either. Numerous investigating instructions were given.

9. In the course of further pre-investigation inquiries, between 2005 and 2012, the investigators took measures to establish the circumstances of the applicant’s son’s death. They questioned various persons, and ordered numerous additional medical examinations of the corpse of the deceased. At a certain point medical experts noted that the applicant’s son’s body had numerous fractures. The experts opined that all those fractures had been inflicted after the applicant’s son’s death, possibly during the exhumation of the body. The applicant’s husband informed the authorities that when he had seen his dead son in the barn, the corpse of his son had been in a sitting position and the rope loop had not been tightened. The applicant argued that it had not been suicide but a violent murder. She advanced different theories, suspecting notably: police security guards who had allegedly taken the applicant’s son from a local bar, following which he had been found dead; a local police officer who had engaged in a dispute with the applicant’s son; a woman who had been employed by the applicant’s son in his textile business and her husband; the applicant’s son’s brothers-in-law; a business partner of the applicant’s son; and people from a local gambling club (the applicant’s son had been engaged in transporting money from the club to another town).

10. On 25 April 2005, 26 March 2006, 20 August 2008, 17 February and 12 December 2011, 15 February 2012 and 17 September 2012, following the pre-investigation inquiries, the investigators refused to initiate criminal proceedings on the grounds that no elements of a crime had been established. Those decisions were quashed as unsubstantiated by the supervising authorities, which found that further investigative measures were necessary. Numerous investigating instructions were given.

11. On 7 December 2012 the applicant, relying on the new Code of Criminal Procedure of 2012, requested that an investigation be opened in respect of the alleged murder of her son. On the same day criminal proceedings were instituted.

12. On 24 December 2012, 22 July and 30 September 2013 the criminal proceedings were terminated because no elements of a crime could be established. Those decisions were quashed by the supervising authorities as unsubstantiated and further investigations were ordered. In particular, on 5 December 2013 the Snizhne Town Court quashed the decision of 30 September 2013 after finding that the investigation had not been thorough and comprehensive. The court noted the theory of the possible involvement of the local police had not been properly examined, the role of the applicant’s son’s brother-in-law had not been clarified even though he might have been the first to find the dead body, the applicant had not been questioned on all the issues which were relevant to the case, and the evidence relating to the applicant’s son’s suicidal tendencies had not been assessed.

13. On 1 April 2014 the criminal proceedings were closed one more time on the ground that no elements of a crime could be established.

II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW

14. The relevant provisions of domestic law can be found in Muravskaya v. Ukraine (no. 249/03, §§ 35-36, 13 November 2008) andNagorskiy v. Ukraine ((dec.), no. 37794/14, § 38, 12 January 2016).

THE LAW

I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 2 OF THE CONVENTION

15. The applicant complained that her son had been tortured to death by police officers and that there had been no effective investigation in that regard. She relied on Articles 2, 3 and 6 of the Convention.

16. The Court, being master of the characterisation to be given in law to the facts of the case (see Radomilja and Others v. Croatia [GC], nos. 37685/10 and 22768/12, §§ 114 and 126, 20 March 2018), will examine the case only under Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention. Those provisions read, in so far as relevant, as follows:

Article 2

“1. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law.

...”

Article 3

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

A. Admissibility

1. The parties’ submissions

17. The Government submitted that the applicant’s allegations under the substantive aspects of Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention that her son had been tortured and murdered by police officers had not been supported by any evidence and had been disproved by the material collected in the course of the domestic inquiries and investigations.

18. The applicant contended that her complaint under the substantive aspects of Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention had been properly substantiated, disclosing the involvement of State agents in the ill-treatment and murder of her son.

2. The Court’s assessment

(a) As regards the substantive aspects of Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention

19. The Court reiterates that in assessing evidence, it applies the standard of proof “beyond reasonable doubt”. However, such proof may follow from the coexistence of sufficiently strong, clear and concordant inferences or of similar unrebutted presumptions of fact (see, for example, Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu v. Romania [GC], no. 47848/08, § 131, ECHR 2014, Bouyid v. Belgium [GC], no. 23380/09, § 82, ECHR 2015, and Merabishvili v. Georgia [GC], no. 72508/13, § 314, 28 November 2017, with further references).

20. In the present case the applicant disagreed with the conclusions of the domestic authorities as to the circumstances of her son’s death and argued that in reality it had not been suicide, as suggested by the domestic authorities, but a violent murder involving police officers. During the domestic proceedings the applicant had raised that hypothesis together with a number of others which did not implicate police officers (see paragraph 9 above).

21. Having examined the file, the Court finds no evidence in support of the allegations of police involvement in the incident. Notably, there is no objective information to show that the applicant’s son had been in contact with police officers before his death and no medical evidence available to support the allegations of ill-treatment.

22. To the extent that the lack of proof on this issue might have been caused by the domestic authorities’ failure to investigate the matter, this question will be examined separately in the context of procedural obligations under the Convention. However, as regards the substantive aspects of Articles 2 and 3, the Court is in possession of no factual material that would establish that any State agents were engaged in the ill-treatment of the applicant’s son or in taking his life.

23. The Court therefore dismisses this part of the application as manifestly ill-founded in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.

(b) As regards the procedural aspects of Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention

24. The Court notes that this part of the application is not manifestly ill‑founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.

B. Merits

1. Procedural obligations under Article 2 of the Convention

25. The applicant contended that the investigation into her son’s death had been unreasonably protracted and ineffective. In particular, important procedural measures had not been carried out promptly and properly. The instructions by the supervising authorities had not been followed in full and the investigations had not been comprehensive and thorough, which had made it impossible to establish the real cause of her son’s death.

26. The Government submitted that the national authorities had taken all the necessary steps to collect evidence and to establish all the relevant facts. In their submission, the investigators had fulfilled all the instructions of the supervising authorities. The Government also noted that the majority of such instructions had been given in order to scrutinise the applicant’s complaints, which also demonstrated that the applicant had had sufficient involvement in the criminal proceedings in question.

27. The Court reiterates that Article 2 imposes a duty on the State to secure the right to life by putting in place effective criminal-law provisions to deter the commission of offences against the person, backed up by law-enforcement machinery for the prevention, suppression and punishment of breaches of such provisions. This obligation requires by implication that there should be some form of effective official investigation when there is reason to believe that an individual has sustained life-threatening injuries in suspicious circumstances, even where the presumed perpetrator of the fatal attack is not a State agent (see Mustafa Tunç and Fecire Tunç v. Turkey [GC], no. 24014/05, § 171, 14 April 2015, with further references).

28. According to the Court’s well-established case-law, the investigation must comply with minimum standards of effectiveness, which include independence, adequacy and thoroughness, promptness and reasonable expedition, public scrutiny and participation of the next of kin (see, in that regard, Mustafa Tunç and Fecire Tunç, cited above, §§ 172-81, with further references).

29. As to the present case, the applicant’s allegations about the violent murder of her son were examined for almost nine years exclusively by way of pre-investigation inquiries (see paragraphs 5-10 above). The Court has held that such investigative procedures do not comply with the principles of an effective remedy because the inquiring officer could only take a limited number of steps and the victim had no formal status, meaning his or her effective participation in the procedure was excluded (see Strogan v. Ukraine, no. 30198/11, § 53, 6 October 2016 with further references). It is notable that during that long period of time the authorities supervising the quality of the pre-investigation inquiries regularly found that the inquiries had not been thorough and ordered the case to be remitted for further inquiries to be made (see paragraphs 8 and 10 above). The repetition of such remittal orders discloses a serious deficiency in criminal proceedings (see, in that regard and mutatis mutandis, Zubkova v. Ukraine, no. 36660/08, § 40, 17 October 2013).

30. Eventually, once the full-scale investigation was opened in late 2012 (see paragraph 11 above), there were three more unsuccessful attempts to discontinue the proceedings. In that regard, on 5 December 2013 – almost ten years after the incident – the domestic court noted serious shortcomings in the investigation relating to the basic circumstances of the incident, notably whether it had been suicide or not (see paragraph 12 above).

31. In the light of these circumstances, the Court concludes that the State authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into the death of the applicant’s son. There has accordingly been a violation of the procedural limb of Article 2 of the Convention.

2. Procedural obligations under Article 3 of the Convention

32. Having regard to its findings and conclusion under the procedural limb of Article 2 of the Convention, the Court considers that no separate issue arises concerning the alleged breach of the procedural limb of Article 3 (see, for example and mutatis mutandis, Mosendz v. Ukraine, no. 52013/08, § 115, 17 January 2013, and Centre for Legal Resources on behalf of Valentin Câmpeanu, cited above, § 154).

II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

33. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

A. Damage

34. The applicant claimed 40,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non‑pecuniary damage.

35. The Government contended that the claim was groundless.

36. The Court considers that the applicant must have suffered anguish and distress on account of the facts giving rise to the finding of a violation in the present case. Ruling on an equitable basis, the Court awards the applicant EUR 12,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

B. Costs and expenses

37. The applicant also claimed EUR 500 for communication and photocopying expenses and EUR 3,470 for legal costs and expenses.

38. The Government submitted that these claims were unsubstantiated.

39. The Court reiterates that according to its case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and are reasonable as to quantum. In the present case, regard being had to the documents in its possession and to the above criteria, the Court considers it reasonable to award the sum of EUR 1,000 for legal fees, in addition to the legal aid granted (see paragraph 2 above). This amount is to be paid directly into the bank account of the applicant’s representative, Ms O. Belyayeva, as requested by the applicant (see, for example, Khlaifia and Others v. Italy [GC], no. 16483/12, § 288, 15 December 2016).

C. Default interest

40. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Declares the complaints under the procedural limbs of Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;

 

2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention under its procedural limb;

 

3. Holds that there is no need to examine the merits of the complaint under the procedural limb of Article 3 of the Convention;

 

4. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay, within three months, the following amounts, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:

(i) EUR 12,000 (twelve thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, to the applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage;

(ii) EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses, this amount to be paid into the bank account of the applicant’s representative, Ms O. Belyayeva;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;

5. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 29 January 2019, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Andrea Tamietti                                         Georges Ravarani
Deputy Registrar                                       President

 

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