I correctly predicted that there was a violation of human rights in PUGOYEVA v. RUSSIA.

Information

  • Judgment date: 2021-12-07
  • Communication date: 2018-02-23
  • Application number(s): 43479/14
  • Country:   RUS
  • Relevant ECHR article(s): 2, 2-1, 5, 5-1, 13
  • Conclusion:
    Violation of Article 2 - Right to life (Article 2-1 - Life) (Substantive aspect)
    Violation of Article 2 - Right to life (Article 2-1 - Effective investigation) (Procedural aspect)
    Violation of Article 5 - Right to liberty and security (Article 5-1 - Lawful arrest or detention)
  • Result: Violation
  • SEE FINAL JUDGMENT

JURI Prediction

  • Probability: 0.699303
  • Prediction: Violation
  • Consistent


Legend

 In line with the court's judgment
 In opposition to the court's judgment
Darker color: higher probability
: In line with the court's judgment  
: In opposition to the court's judgment

Communication text used for prediction

The applicant, Ms Dibikhan Pugoyeva, is a Russian national, who was born in 1971 and lives in Pliyevo, Ingushetia.
She is represented before the Court by lawyers from NGO Stitching Russian Justice Initiative in collaboration with NGO Astreya (SRJI/Astreya).
The applicant is the mother of Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov, who was born in 1993.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
A.
Special operation of 22 November 2010 and subsequent events 1.
Events between 20 and 25 November 2010 On 20 November 2010 the applicant’s son Magomed Gorchkhanov, who was underage at the time, left the applicant’s home in Pliyevo and went to his friend Mr D. in a settlement Farfor next to Nazran.
In the morning on 22 November 2010 the applicant spoke with him on the telephone and he told her that he would return home later that day.
At about 3.30 p.m. on 22 November 2010 (in the documents submitted the date was also referred to as 20 November 2010) Mr Gorchkhanov was driving to Pliyevo in VAZ-2107 model car (also known as Lada-Priora) with registration number “P 811 CE/150 RUS” belonging to his friend Mr A.K.
who had recently purchased it from Mr R.G.
The applicant’s son was in the car with both Mr A.K.
and Mr R. G. When the men were driving near the local administration in the village of Nasyr-Kort, armoured personnel carriers (the APCs) and at least two light‐coloured VAZ-2107 cars surrounded their car and forced it to stop.
The men in balaclavas and camouflage uniforms emerged from those vehicles and opened gunfire at the car with the applicant’s son, setting it on fire.
Mr R.G.
was shot dead on the spot whereas Mr A.K.
and the applicant’s son got out of the vehicle with their hands up in the air and were immediately forced into the boot of one of the light-coloured VAZ-2107 cars.
After that, the vehicles drove off leaving Mr A.K.’s burning vehicle behind.
According to the applicant, on 22 November 2010 the servicemen of the Ingushetia Federal Security Service (the FSB) and the Ingushetia Ministry of the Interior carried out a special operation in Nazran, Ingushetia, under the command of the FSB officer P.Ch.
As a result of that operation, Mr R.G.
was lethally wounded and died on the spot, whereas Mr A.K.
and the applicant’s son were arrested.
On 23 November 2010 the applicant went to the Nazran town department of police, where she was informed that her son and Mr A.K.
were detained on the premises of the FSB department in Magas, Ingushetia.
On 27 November 2010 the applicant found in her courtyard an envelope with mobile telephone’s memory card which contained video footage of the incident of 22 November 2010.
The video showed Mr A.K.’s car burning and surrounded by at least four vehicles and the applicant’s son and Mr A.K.
being beaten and forced into the boot of a light-coloured Lada‐Priora car.
2.
The FSB’s press release of 26 November 2010 and subsequent information On 26 November 2010 the Ingushetia FSB published a press release concerning a special operation carried out in Pliyevo on 25 November 2010 by the FSB servicemen with the participation of officers from the police internal troops.
As a result, two unidentified men, who had aided an illegal armed group by supplying it with food, had been killed.
On 1 July 2011 the Ingushetia Ministry of the Interior published a press‐release stating that the two unidentified men killed as a result of the special operation of 25 November 2010 had been identified as Mr A.K.
and the applicant’s son, Mr Gorchkhanov.
3.
Identification of Magomed Gorchkhanov’s body On 21 December 2010 the investigators from the Magas Investigative Committee invited the applicant to identify a body.
She went with her other son, a fourteen year-old M. The applicant, who was in the state of shock, could not participate in the identification.
Her son, M., was not sure, but identified the remains presented to him as those belonging to his brother Magomed Gorchkhanov, by the boots and partial remains of the clothing.
The head of the body was severely burnt and therefore unsusceptible for identification.
On the same date, 21 December 2010, the investigators took the applicant’s blood for the DNA comparative expert evaluation on possible match with the remains identified as those of Magomed Gorchkhanov.
On 23 December 2010 the applicant buried the remains as those of her son.
Prior to the burial, the man who had washed the remains, told her that the remains did not belong to Magomed Gorchkhanov as they belonged to a man much larger than her son.
On 21 May 2011 the investigator M. telephoned the applicant and told her that the DNA comparative expert evaluation showed that the remains did not belong to her son Magomed Gorchkhanov.
He refused to provide the applicant with a copy of the expert evaluation report.
On 1 July 2011 the Ingushetia Ministry of the Interior published the press-release according to which one of two men killed during the special operation on 25 November 2010 was Magomed Gorchkhanov (see above).
On 5 July 2011 the deputy head of the Nazran investigative committee replied to the applicant’s request for the results of the DNA expert evaluation stating that they were not yet available.
On 11 July 2011 the applicant received a statement according to which the DNA expert evaluation results concluded she was the mother of the person whose remains had been examined.
On 12 July 2011 the applicant wrote to the investigators stating that the remains released to her for burial on 21 December 2010 did not belong to her son Magomed Gorchkhanov.
On 14 July 2011 the Forensic Bureau of the Main Department of the Ministry of the Interior in the Stavropol Region issued a statement concerning the DNA comparative examination of the remains of the persons killed during the special operation on 25 November 2010 and the applicant’s blood.
According to the experts, the examination established that the applicant was the mother of the person whose remains were examined.
On 12 September 2011 the investigators replied to the applicant that the conclusions of the DNA expert examination had confirmed that she had been the mother of one of the persons killed on 25 November 2010.
Furthermore, her allegations concerning the information given to her on 21 May 2011 by investigator M. concerning the results of the DNA examination had been refuted by the investigator.
4.
Inquiry into Magomed Gorchkhanov’s death On 23 November 2010 the applicant complained of her son’s abduction by law-enforcement officers to the local prosecutor’s office, the police and the FSB.
On 25 November 2010 the applicant wrote to the Ingushetia Human Rights Envoy and a number of human rights organisations stating that on 22 November 2010 she had learnt that her son’s friend Mr R.G.
had been killed; she had immediately started to search for her son.
She had learnt from two police officers with whom she had spoken next to the town morgue that the two men who had been with Mr R.G.
at the time of the killing had been alive and taken to the Ingushetia FSB.
The applicant was convinced that one of those two men had been her son Magomed Gorchkhanov.
In reply to her requests for information, the local FSB office denied having any information concerning his whereabouts.
On an unspecified date the applicant’s complaint was forwarded to the Ingushetia FSB.
On 6 December 2010 the FSB replied to the applicant stating that the search for missing persons was carried out by the police and therefore her complaint had been forwarded there.
On 27 December 2010 the Ingushetia prosecutor’s office replied to the applicant’s abduction complaint stating that her son Magomed Gorchkhanov had not been arrested by the FSB and suggested that she complain to the police in order to establish his whereabouts.
On 16 February 2011 the investigators from military unit no.
507 (the military investigators) replied to the applicant that her allegations of the abduction of Magomed Gorchkhanov by the FSB officers had not been confirmed and therefore her complaint had been forwarded to the Nazran investigative committee.
On 18 October 2011 the applicant complained to the military investigators stating that her son had been abducted by law-enforcement officers on 22 November 2010 and killed three days later.
The officers had tried to cover-up his killing by staging the exchange of fire on 25 November 2011.
The applicant stated that various law‐enforcement agencies have been forwarding back and forth her complaints and that no criminal case into her son’s abduction had been opened.
She requested that his abduction and death be investigated.
On 25 October 2011 the military investigators replied to the applicant stating that on 22 December 2010 the decision to refuse to open a criminal case was taken (see below) and on 28 June 2011 all other relevant information was forwarded to the Nazran investigative committee.
On 7 January 2012 the Ingushetia FSB replied to the applicant’s complaint of her son’s abduction by the FSB officers stating that their officers had neither arrested nor detained him, that they had no information on his whereabouts and that she should complain to the police about his disappearance.
5.
The refusals to open a criminal case and the applicant’s appeals against them (a) The first refusal to open a criminal case On 22 December 2010 the investigator of the military investigations unit of the Tver Military Garrison examined the case file materials received from military unit no.
68799 and the Nazran investigative committee and refused to open a criminal case into the events of 22 November 2010 for the lack of corpus delicti in the actions of Officer P.Ch.
The decision stated, amongst other things, that the special operation on 22 November 2010 had been carried out by officers from various law-enforcement agencies including the FSB and the police.
Officer P.Ch.
had been the senior officer in charge of the FSB’s group of servicemen.
The FSB participants of the special operation had ambushed Mr R.G’s vehicle and managed to block it on the road with the UAZ and VAZ model cars and two APCs belonging to their agency.
Two men had immediately jumped out of the blocked vehicle and run away in an unknown direction.
Then gunfire had been opened at the officers from the blocked car; as a result of the gunfire, the FSB warrant officer A. had been shot and subsequently died in the hospital.
The FSB officers had had to return fire and the vehicle with Mr R.G.
in it had burst in flames.
After that, the officers found the body of Mr R.G.
in the car.
Then the officers from the Ingushetia police had arrived at the scene in various private cars.
Shortly thereafter, the participants of the special operation and a number of the police officers had canvassed the area looking for the two men who had managed to abscond and whose whereabouts remained unknown but to no avail.
Finally, the text of the decision included the following: “... given that the inquiry did not establish involvement of the Ingushetia FSB officers in the abduction of those [two] persons, and given that there is no information concerning that the abduction had actually been perpetrated, it is necessary to conclude that the decision to refuse to open a criminal case against P.Ch.
for the lack of corpus delicti should be taken ...” The applicant was informed of that decision on or after 25 October 2011.
On 20 May 2012 the applicant appealed against the above refusal to the Nalchik Military Garrison Court (the Military Court).
She stressed that the decision had been taken on the basis of the statements given by the implicated FSB officers and that the investigators had completely ignored the video footage of the incident which had been placed in her courtyard and which she had given to them for examination.
The investigators’ reference to its allegedly poor quality precluding them from establishing the registration numbers of the vehicles involved was unsubstantiated.
On 7 June 2012 the supervising military investigators overruled the decision to refuse to open a criminal case as premature and unsubstantiated and ordered that a new inquiry into the events of 22 November 2010 be carried out.
On the same date the applicant was informed thereof.
On 8 June 2012 the Military Court refused to examine the applicant’s complaint against the refusal as the impugned decision had been overruled and a new inquiry ordered.
(b) The second refusal to open a criminal case On 16 June 2012 the military investigators issued a new decision refusing to open a criminal case into the circumstances of the incident of 22 November 2010 for the lack of corpus delicti in the actions of Officer P.Ch.
The text of the decision was almost identical to the one taken on 22 December 2010 (see above).
On 17 July 2012 the applicant appealed against that decision to the Military Court stating that it should be overruled as premature and unsubstantiated.
In particular, she pointed out that the investigators had failed to take any steps to remedy the shortcomings indicated in her appeal against the first refusal to open a criminal case.
On 13 August 2012 the supervising military investigators overruled the decision to refuse to open a criminal case as premature and unsubstantiated and ordered that a new inquiry into the events of 22 November 2010 be carried out.
On the same date the applicant was informed thereof.
On 14 August 2012 the Military Court refused to examine the applicant’s complaint as the impugned refusal had been overruled and a new inquiry ordered.
(c) The third refusal to open a criminal case On 14 August 2012 the military investigators again decided to refuse to open a criminal case into the circumstances of the incident of 22 November 2010 for the lack of corpus delicti in the actions of Officer P.Ch.
The text of the decision was almost identical to the ones taken on 22 December 2010 and 16 June 2012.
On 3 December 2012 the supervising military investigators overruled that refusal as premature and unsubstantiated and ordered that a new inquiry be carried out.
In particular, the investigators were to elucidate the circumstances of the death of the applicant’s son and Mr A.K.
on 25 November 2010 as well as “to question the FSB officers who had participated in the special operation aimed at the apprehension of Mr A.K.
and M. Gorchkhanov.” (d) The fourth refusal to open a criminal case On 19 June 2013 the military investigators again decided to refuse to open a criminal case into the circumstances of the incident of 22 November 2010 for the lack of corpus delicti in the actions of Officer P.Ch.
on account of alleged murder of Mr A.K.
and Magomed Gorchkhanov on 25 November 2010, as well as on account of their alleged abduction on 22 November 2010 due to the absence of the event of the crime.
From text of the decision it transpires that one police officer and four FSB officers were interviewed.
According to the document, the FSB Officer P.Ch.
had been in charge of the special operation on 22 November 2010 when the two suspects had managed to abscond as well as of the special operation on 25 November 2010 during which two men had opened gunfire at the FSB officers and then had blown themselves up on an unidentified explosive device.
The remains of one of those men had been later identified as those belonging to Magomed Gorchkhanov.
In addition, the text of the decision stated as the following: “...
In his additional statement, the head of the Nazran town police department [the Nazran OVD] Mr A.M. stated that according to their information, on 22 November 2010 at about 3 p.m. in Nasyr-Kort Mr R.G.
had resisted the arrest and opened gunfire at the FSB officers.
As a result, he had been eliminated on the spot, while Mr A.K.
and Mr Gorchkhanov, who had been next to him in the car, had absconded from the crime scene.
Both of them had been subsequently eliminated in a dugout in Pliyevo ...
The FSB officer Mr P.Ch.
stated to the inquiry that on 22 November 2010 he had participated in the special operation aimed at establishing and arresting members of illegal armed groups ...
Besides Mr R.G.
in that car there had been two other persons.
Later it had been established that those persons had been Mr A.K.
and Mr Gorchkhanov; they had jumped out of the car as soon as it stopped and had ran away in an unknown direction ...” On 20 September 2013 the applicant appealed against the above decision to the Military Court.
She stated, in particular, that despite the video footage of the incident involving the killing of Mr R.G.
and showing her son and Mr A.K.
being forced in the boot of the car by the FSB officers, the investigators had failed to properly examine this evidence.
The inquiry yet again limited itself to obtaining statements only from the officers implicated in the incident.
In the applicant’s opinion, those officers were responsible for the abduction of her son on 22 November 2010 and his subsequent killing on 25 November 2010.
On 30 September 2013 the Military Court examined the applicant’s complaint having referred to it as “the complaint of 14 August 2012” (see above).
The text of the court’s decision contained, amongst other things, the following: “... from the decision of military prosecutors of 3 December 2012 concerning the refusal to open a criminal case it follows that ... the materials were forwarded for an additional inquiry”.
The court rejected the applicant’s complaint stating that the “impugned refusal had been overruled.” (e) The fifth refusal to open a criminal case From the documents submitted it follows that on 7 February 2014 the applicant was informed of yet another refusal to initiate a criminal investigation into her son’s abduction.
It is unclear whether the applicant appealed against this refusal.
B.
Relevant domestic law For a summary of the relevant domestic regulations see Dalakov v. Russia, no.
35152/09, §§ 51-53, 16 February 2016.
COMPLAINTS The applicant complains under Article 2 of the Convention that her son Magomed Gorchkhanov was abducted and killed by State agents and that the authorities failed to effectively investigate the matter.
Under Article 5 of the Convention, she alleges that her son’s arrest and detention by State agents were unlawful and under Article 13 of the Convention, that she had no effective domestic remedies against the violations alleged under Article 2 of the Convention.

Judgment

THIRD SECTION
CASE OF PUGOYEVA v. RUSSIA
(Application no.
43479/14)

JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
7 December 2021

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Pugoyeva v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Peeter Roosma, President, Dmitry Dedov, Andreas Zünd, judges,and Olga Chernishova, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to:
the application (no.
43479/14) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, Ms Dibikhan Pugoyeva (“the applicant”), on 6 June 2014;
the decision to give notice of the application to the Russian Government (“the Government”);
the parties’ observations;
Having deliberated in private on 9 November 2021,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
INTRODUCTION
1.
The applicant alleged that her son had been abducted and then killed by State agents and that the authorities failed to investigate the matter. THE FACTS
2.
The applicant was born in 1971 and lives in Pliyevo. She was represented by lawyers from NGO Stitching Russian Justice Initiative in collaboration with NGO Astreya (SRJI/Astreya). 3. The Government were represented initially by Mr M. Galperin, the then Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights, and lately by Mr M. Vinogradov, his successor in that office. 4. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows. 5. The applicant is the mother of late Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov, who was born in 1993. 6. On 20 November 2010 the applicant’s son Magomed Gorchkhanov, who was seventeen years old at the time, left his house in Pliyevo and went to stay at the house of his friend Mr G. in the outskirts of Nazran. In the morning on 22 November 2010 he telephoned the applicant to tell her he would return home that day. 7. At about 3.30 p.m. on 22 November 2010 Mr Gorchkhanov was driving to Pliyevo in a car with this friend Mr A.K. and the latter’s acquaintance Mr R.G. 8. When the car was driving in the centre of village of Nasyr-Kort, two armoured personnel carriers (the APCs) and two VAZ-2107 cars surrounded it and forced it to stop. Several officers from those vehicles opened gunfire at the car with the applicant’s son, setting it on fire. Mr R.G. returned fire and shot officer A. in the head. Then Mr R.G. was shot dead on the spot, whereas Mr A.K. and the applicant’s son got out of the car with their hands up in the air and were immediately forced into the boot of one of the VAZ‐2107 cars. After that, the vehicles drove off. The wounded officer subsequently died in the hospital. 9. From the applicant’s submission, on 22 November 2010 officers of the Ingushetia Federal Security Service (the FSB) and the Ingushetia Ministry of the Interior (the police) carried out a special operation in Nazran, Ingushetia, under the command of the FSB officer P.Ch. As a result of that operation, Mr R.G., who was wanted by the authorities as a member of an illegal armed group, was lethally wounded and died on the spot, whereas Mr A.K. and the applicant’s son were arrested. 10. On 23 November 2010 the applicant went to the Nazran town police station, where she was informed that her son and Mr A.K. were detained in the FSB department in Magas, Ingushetia. 11. On 27 November 2010 the applicant found in her courtyard an envelope with a mobile telephone’s memory card which contained video footage of the incident of 22 November 2010. The video showed Mr A.K.’s car burning and surrounded by at least four vehicles and the applicant’s son and Mr A.K. being beaten and forced into the boot of a light-coloured VAZ‐2107 car. The applicant handed the footage over to the investigators (see paragraph 22 below). 12. On 26 November 2010 the Ingushetia FSB published a press release concerning the special operation carried out in Pliyevo on 25 November 2010 by the FSB and the police internal troops. As a result, two unidentified men, who had aided an illegal armed group by supplying it with food, after having offered intense armed resistance including the use of machineguns and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), had blown themselves up. Their bodies were fully destroyed. 13. From the documents submitted it transpires that the same FSB officers participated in both special operations; the one carried out on 22 November 2010 and then in the other carried out on 25 November 2010. 14. On 1 July 2011 the Ingushetia police published a press‐release stating that the two unidentified men who had been killed as a result of the special operation of 25 November 2010, had been identified as Mr A.K. and the applicant’s son, Mr Gorchkhanov. 15. On 14 July 2011 the Forensic Bureau in the Stavropol Region carried out the DNA comparative examination and confirmed that the applicant was the mother of the one of the two persons whose remains had been collected at the scene of the self-blowing up on 25 November 2010. The investigators informed the applicant thereof on 12 September 2011. 16. On 23 and 24 November 2010 the applicant complained of the abduction of Mr Gorchkhanov by law‐enforcement officers to the local prosecutor’s office, stressing that the special operation had been carried out by the FSB and police officers who had taken him away in a boot of a Lada‐Priora car. 17. On 26 November 2010 the investigators from the Nazran investigative department (the investigators) opened a preliminary inquiry into the applicant’s complaint (the inquiry). They examined the scene at the place where the two men had blown themselves up. According to its transcript, the investigators found ten spent bullet casings, one RPG, fragments of human bodies and camouflage uniforms. The investigators did not submit the RPG for fingerprint examination. 18. Then, on 26 November 2010 the investigators asked firearms experts whether the collected casings could be matched with the firearms database. The experts replied that it was impossible due to the inquiry’s procedural limitations. 19. When interviewed by the investigators on 1 December 2010 the father of Mr A.K. stated that on 22 November 2010 the eyewitnesses at Nasyr-Kort had told him that his son’s car had been under attack of the law‐enforcement officers who had been carrying out a special operation and that two of the three men who had been in the attacked car, had gotten out with their hands up and had been immediately forced by the officers into the boot of one of VAZ-2107 cars and taken away. Then the officers had blown‐up the third man who had remained in the car. 20. On 25 November and then on 2 and 21 December 2010 the investigators interviewed the applicant whose statements were similar to her submission before the Court and the complaint of 25 November 2010 (see paragraphs 8 and 9 above). 21. At some point in December 2010 the investigators transferred the inquiry file to the investigative department of military unit no. 68799 (also referred to as the military investigative department no. 507) (the military investigators) as according to the rules of jurisdiction, military investigators investigated crimes committed by the FSB service personnel. 22. On 15 December 2010 the military investigators interviewed the applicant, who reaffirmed her previous statements (see paragraph 20 above) and provided them with the video footage depicting the special operation and her son’s abduction on 22 November 2010. The investigators neither commissioned an evaluation of the footage by experts, nor carried out its due examination themselves by preparing relevant procedural report. Subsequently, in their refusals to open a criminal case they stated that the footage’s quality allowed neither for identification of the individuals depicted therein nor determination of the licence plates’ numbers of the vehicles involved (see also paragraphs 25 and 27 below). 23. On 21 December 2010 the applicant’s other son M. identified the bodily fragments presented to him as those of Magomed Gorchkhanov. 24. Between February 2011 and January 2012, the applicant lodged at least three detailed complaints with the military investigators insisting that her son had been abducted by the FSB officers on 22 November 2010, then killed three days later at the staged exchange of fire and requested that a criminal case be opened to investigate her allegations. In reply, she was informed that on 22 December 2010 the refusal to open a criminal case was issued (see paragraph 25 below) and that she was to lodge her complaints with the police. 25. Between 22 December 2010 and 12 December 2012, the military investigators issued four refusals to open a criminal case into the events of 22 November 2010 for the lack of corpus delicti in the actions of the FSB officer P.Ch. (the refusals). The decisions, which were almost verbatim, stated, amongst other things, that on 22 November 2010 during a special operation Mr R.G. had died in the exchange of fire, in the car, while the whereabouts of the two men who had managed to abscond from that car remained unknown. Therefore, not crime of abduction had taken place. 26. The applicant appealed against each of the refusals to the Nalchik Military Garrison Court (the Military Court), which left the appeals unexamined as a new inquiry had been ordered by the military investigators’ superiors who had criticised each of the refusals as premature and unsubstantiated. 27. On 5 June 2013 the military investigators’ superior overruled the fourth refusal of 12 December 2012 and ordered that the investigators question the residents of Pliyevo to confirm the special operation on 25 November 2010 and commission an expert examination of the footage of the incident of 22 November 2010 provided by the applicant. Those orders were not complied with. 28. On 19 June 2013 the military investigators issued the fifth refusal due to the absence of the event of the crime. From its text it transpires that the parents of Mr A.K. and the applicant were interviewed; all of them stated that their sons had been abducted on 22 November 2010 by the FSB officers. The investigators had also interviewed one police officer and four FSB officers. According to their statements, the FSB Officer who had been in charge of the special operation on 22 November 2010 had also commanded the special operation on 25 November 2010. The decision also stated that the investigators’ examination of the video footage showed that its quality did not allow to unequivocally establish either the place where the events had taken place, or the identities of the participants and the licence plate numbers of the vehicles involved. The applicant was informed of that refusal in January 2014 and received its copy on 7 February 2014. 29. When the applicant appealed against the above refusal to the Military Court, in March 2014 it refused to examine her appeal as the impugned refusal had already been overruled. 30. To date, no criminal case has been opened into the circumstances of the applicant’s son’s abduction and death. RELEVANT LEGAL FRAMEWORK
31.
For relevant domestic provisions see Dalakov v. Russia, no. 35152/09, §§ 51-53, 16 February 2016, and Manzhos v. Russia, no. 64752/09, §§ 24-27, 24 May 2016. THE LAW
32.
The applicant alleged under Articles 2 and 13 of the Convention that State agents had abducted her son Magomed Gorchkhanov and then had killed him in a staged special operation and that the authorities had failed to investigate the matter. The Court finds it appropriate to examine the applicant’s complaints solely under Article 2 of the Convention, the relevant part of which reads as follows:
“1.
Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law ...”
33.
The Government contented in general terms that the applicant had failed to appeal against “decisions taken by the investigative bodies”. 34. The applicant contested the Government’s submission. 35. The Court notes that in the circumstances, in view of the lack of fully‐fledged investigation within a framework of a criminal case, the only decision of the investigative bodies amenable to court appeal would be the refusal to open a criminal case. The applicant appealed against each of the refusals (see paragraphs 26 and 29 above). Therefore, the Government’s objections should be rejected. 36. The Court further notes that the complaint is neither manifestly ill‐founded nor inadmissible on any other grounds listed in Article 35 of the Convention. It must therefore be declared admissible. 37. The applicant stated that her son had been abducted on 22 November 2010 by the FSB officers and then on 25 November 2010 he had been killed by them in a staged fire exchange and explosion. 38. The authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and death of Magomed Gorchkhanov. 39. The Government stated in general terms that after the clash with the law-enforcement officers on 22 November 2010, Mr Gorchkhanov had absconded from the scene and on 25 November 2010 he had been found in a dugout and killed after offering armed resistance to the FSB officers. The use of lethal force against him therefore was necessary and justified. 40. The inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Mr Gorchkhanov had complied with the Convention standards. 41. It is common ground between the parties that the death of Mr Gorchkhanov resulted from the use of lethal force by State agents. The Court will firstly assess the adequacy of the investigation into his death and then the actions of the State agents who actually administered the force. (a) The State’s procedural obligation under Article 2 of the Convention
42.
A summary of relevant general principles can be found in Armani Da Silva v. the United Kingdom ([GC], no. 5878/08, §§ 229-39, 30 March 2016. 43. No criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the applicant’s son, either on 22 or 25 November 2010, was carried out, other than the pre-investigation inquiry (see paragraphs 17, 21 and 28 above). Thus, the Court is bound to assess the circumstances based on the documents furnished as part of the inquiry, which resulted in the repeated refusals to open a criminal case. 44. The information collected by the inquiry contained clear indications of the conflicting evidence concerning the circumstances surrounding Mr Gorchkhanov’s death. For instance, the applicant’s consistent and detailed allegations that her son had been abducted by the FSB officers on 22 November 2010 (see paragraphs 16 and 19-20 above), along with the video footage provided by her to the investigators, should have prompted the authorities to open a criminal case and carry out a fully-fledged investigation into the matter. However, in spite of the evidence showing that the actual circumstances of the special operations of 22 and 25 November 2010 had been in contradiction to the statements of the implicated officers (see paragraphs 19 and 20 above), the authorities limited themselves to taking a few formal steps, and consistently refused to investigate those allegations. 45. As a result of that failure to clarify the matter, none of the residents of Nasyr-Kort who could have witnessed the incident of 22 November 2010 in broad daylight in the village centre and who could therefore have shed light on its circumstances were questioned. Most importantly, no expert examination of such important evidence as the footage of the events was commissioned. The documents submitted contain no indication that any expert examination had been carried out, nor that such findings have been reflected in a report (see paragraph 22 above). Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the inquiry took no steps to identify the military vehicles depicted in the footage, such as the APCs, in order to establish their crew members and obtain their statements concerning the events in question
46.
Meanwhile, the implicated officers gave “an explanation”, which did not commit them in the same way as it would have in the context of an opened criminal case as it did not entail the necessary safeguards inherent in an effective criminal investigation, such as liability for perjury (see Dalakov, cited above, § 70). 47. Given that the Court has held that a refusal to open a criminal investigation into credible allegations of such serious nature is indicative of the State’s failure to comply with its procedural obligation under Article 2 (see Dalakov, cited above, §§ 69-72), the documents submitted indicate that the domestic authorities failed to demonstrate a proper response to the serious allegations of abduction and inappropriate use of lethal force by agents of the State. 48. In view of the foregoing, the Court concludes that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention under its procedural head. (b) Alleged violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention
49.
A summary of relevant principles be found in El-Masri v. “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” ([GC], no. 39630/09, §§ 151-53, ECHR 2012), and Giuliani and Gaggio v. Italy [GC], no. 23458/02, §§ 180-82, ECHR 2011 (extracts)). 50. The Court observes that it is common ground between the parties that Mr Gorchkhanov had died on 25 November 2010 as a result of a special operation carried out by State agents. However, the parties disagreed on whether he had been abducted on 22 November 2010 by the State agents and whether the circumstances of his ensuing death on 25 November 2010 had been staged by them or whether he had absconded on 22 November 2010 from State agents and subsequently, on 25 November 2010, offered armed resistance provoking justified used of lethal force against him. 51. The key issue, therefore, is to determine whether Mr Gorchkhanov was abducted on 22 November 2010 by State agents or whether he managed to abscond. To this end, the Court notes that its ability to evaluate the circumstances of the incident has been seriously hampered by the absence of a meaningful investigation (see paragraph 48 above). Nevertheless, it will base its assessment on the material available to it undisputed by the parties. (i) Whether the applicant’s son was abducted on 22 November 2010 by State agents
52.
The Court observes at the outset that the documents submitted contain no indication of Mr Gorchkhanov’s involvement in any types of criminal activities. Further, the Government’s contention that on 22 November 2010 Mr Gorchkhanov had absconded during the shooting is unspecific and of generic nature. The documents submitted contain neither details of his alleged absconding from the scene, nor statements of any witnesses or other evidence to this end, other than non-specific and undetailed statements of the implicated officers. Even assuming that Mr Gorchkhanov had absconded, there is no indication of any concrete steps taken to organise the search for him or obtain any information or evidence aimed at his capture. To the contrary, the applicant’s assertion of her son’s apprehension on that date is supported by a number of prima facie evidence, such as the video footage depicting the abduction of Mr Gorchkhanov, the applicant’s consistent and detailed complaints to the authorities and a number of witness statements (see paragraphs 10, 19, 20 and 22 above, for example). The Government did not dispute the authenticity of that footage despite its contradiction to the official version of the events of 22 November 2010. 53. The Court further notes that the circumstances of the discovery of Mr Gorchkhanov’s body on 25 November 2010 showed that neither the officers nor their equipment had sustained any injuries or damage despite the allegedly active resistance of the applicant’s son and Mr A. K. who had allegedly subjected the officers to intense gunfire from machineguns and the RPG (see paragraph 12 above). 54. In view of the above, the Court finds that it can accept that the applicant’s son had been apprehended by State agents during the special operation on 22 November 2010 in the circumstances as alleged by the applicant. (ii) Whether the use of lethal force against Mr Gorchkhanov was justified
55.
Considering that it has been established that that Mr Gorchkhanov was apprehended on 22 November 2010 by State agents, the Court finds that the Government’s version did not tally with the circumstances of the incident of 25 November 2010. Therefore, it does not find it necessary to examine whether the use of lethal force against the applicant’s son on 25 November 2010 was necessary and justified as alleged by the Government. 56. There has accordingly been a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention. 57. The applicant complained that her son Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov was unlawfully deprived of his liberty by State agents between 22 and 25 November 2010 contrary to Article 5 of the Convention, the relevant part of which 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: ...”
58.
The Court notes that the complaint is neither manifestly ill-founded nor inadmissible on any other grounds listed in Article 35 of the Convention. It must therefore be declared admissible. 59. The Government submitted that there was no proof that the applicant’s son had been detained or arrested by State agents. 60. The applicant maintained her complaint. 61. The Court finds that since it has been established that Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov was detained by State agents on 22 November 2010 (see paragraph 54 above), apparently in the absence of any legal grounds or acknowledgement of such detention, this constitutes a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security of persons enshrined in Article 5 of the Convention in respect of him (see Luluyev and Others v. Russia, no. 69480/01, § 122, ECHR 2006-XIII (extracts)). 62. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 5 of the Convention. 63. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention ... the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
64.
The applicant claimed 1,762,981 Russian roubles (about 25,000 euros (EUR)) for pecuniary damage referring to official subsistence levels and the UK Ogden Actuarial Tables. She left the determination of the amount of the award for non-pecuniary damage to the Court. 65. According to the Government, the claim was unsubstantiated. 66. The Court awards the applicant EUR 10,000 for pecuniary damage and EUR 60,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable to her on those amounts. 67. The applicant was represented by lawyers from the NGO SRJI/Astreya. Her claim in respect of costs and expenses amounted to EUR 4,820, which was to be paid into the representatives’ bank account in the Netherlands. 68. According to the Government, the amount claimed was unreasonable. 69. The Court considers it reasonable to award the applicant EUR 2,500 covering costs under all heads, plus any tax that may be chargeable to her, to be paid into the representatives’ bank account in the Netherlands. 70. 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,
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, 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, except for the payment in respect of costs and expenses:
(i) EUR 10,000 (ten thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(iii) EUR 2,500 (two thousand five hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses, to be paid into the bank account of the applicant’s representatives in the Netherlands as indicated by the applicant;
(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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 7 December 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Olga Chernishova Peeter Roosma Deputy Registrar President

THIRD SECTION
CASE OF PUGOYEVA v. RUSSIA
(Application no.
43479/14)

JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
7 December 2021

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Pugoyeva v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Peeter Roosma, President, Dmitry Dedov, Andreas Zünd, judges,and Olga Chernishova, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to:
the application (no.
43479/14) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, Ms Dibikhan Pugoyeva (“the applicant”), on 6 June 2014;
the decision to give notice of the application to the Russian Government (“the Government”);
the parties’ observations;
Having deliberated in private on 9 November 2021,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
INTRODUCTION
1.
The applicant alleged that her son had been abducted and then killed by State agents and that the authorities failed to investigate the matter. THE FACTS
2.
The applicant was born in 1971 and lives in Pliyevo. She was represented by lawyers from NGO Stitching Russian Justice Initiative in collaboration with NGO Astreya (SRJI/Astreya). 3. The Government were represented initially by Mr M. Galperin, the then Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights, and lately by Mr M. Vinogradov, his successor in that office. 4. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows. 5. The applicant is the mother of late Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov, who was born in 1993. 6. On 20 November 2010 the applicant’s son Magomed Gorchkhanov, who was seventeen years old at the time, left his house in Pliyevo and went to stay at the house of his friend Mr G. in the outskirts of Nazran. In the morning on 22 November 2010 he telephoned the applicant to tell her he would return home that day. 7. At about 3.30 p.m. on 22 November 2010 Mr Gorchkhanov was driving to Pliyevo in a car with this friend Mr A.K. and the latter’s acquaintance Mr R.G. 8. When the car was driving in the centre of village of Nasyr-Kort, two armoured personnel carriers (the APCs) and two VAZ-2107 cars surrounded it and forced it to stop. Several officers from those vehicles opened gunfire at the car with the applicant’s son, setting it on fire. Mr R.G. returned fire and shot officer A. in the head. Then Mr R.G. was shot dead on the spot, whereas Mr A.K. and the applicant’s son got out of the car with their hands up in the air and were immediately forced into the boot of one of the VAZ‐2107 cars. After that, the vehicles drove off. The wounded officer subsequently died in the hospital. 9. From the applicant’s submission, on 22 November 2010 officers of the Ingushetia Federal Security Service (the FSB) and the Ingushetia Ministry of the Interior (the police) carried out a special operation in Nazran, Ingushetia, under the command of the FSB officer P.Ch. As a result of that operation, Mr R.G., who was wanted by the authorities as a member of an illegal armed group, was lethally wounded and died on the spot, whereas Mr A.K. and the applicant’s son were arrested. 10. On 23 November 2010 the applicant went to the Nazran town police station, where she was informed that her son and Mr A.K. were detained in the FSB department in Magas, Ingushetia. 11. On 27 November 2010 the applicant found in her courtyard an envelope with a mobile telephone’s memory card which contained video footage of the incident of 22 November 2010. The video showed Mr A.K.’s car burning and surrounded by at least four vehicles and the applicant’s son and Mr A.K. being beaten and forced into the boot of a light-coloured VAZ‐2107 car. The applicant handed the footage over to the investigators (see paragraph 22 below). 12. On 26 November 2010 the Ingushetia FSB published a press release concerning the special operation carried out in Pliyevo on 25 November 2010 by the FSB and the police internal troops. As a result, two unidentified men, who had aided an illegal armed group by supplying it with food, after having offered intense armed resistance including the use of machineguns and a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), had blown themselves up. Their bodies were fully destroyed. 13. From the documents submitted it transpires that the same FSB officers participated in both special operations; the one carried out on 22 November 2010 and then in the other carried out on 25 November 2010. 14. On 1 July 2011 the Ingushetia police published a press‐release stating that the two unidentified men who had been killed as a result of the special operation of 25 November 2010, had been identified as Mr A.K. and the applicant’s son, Mr Gorchkhanov. 15. On 14 July 2011 the Forensic Bureau in the Stavropol Region carried out the DNA comparative examination and confirmed that the applicant was the mother of the one of the two persons whose remains had been collected at the scene of the self-blowing up on 25 November 2010. The investigators informed the applicant thereof on 12 September 2011. 16. On 23 and 24 November 2010 the applicant complained of the abduction of Mr Gorchkhanov by law‐enforcement officers to the local prosecutor’s office, stressing that the special operation had been carried out by the FSB and police officers who had taken him away in a boot of a Lada‐Priora car. 17. On 26 November 2010 the investigators from the Nazran investigative department (the investigators) opened a preliminary inquiry into the applicant’s complaint (the inquiry). They examined the scene at the place where the two men had blown themselves up. According to its transcript, the investigators found ten spent bullet casings, one RPG, fragments of human bodies and camouflage uniforms. The investigators did not submit the RPG for fingerprint examination. 18. Then, on 26 November 2010 the investigators asked firearms experts whether the collected casings could be matched with the firearms database. The experts replied that it was impossible due to the inquiry’s procedural limitations. 19. When interviewed by the investigators on 1 December 2010 the father of Mr A.K. stated that on 22 November 2010 the eyewitnesses at Nasyr-Kort had told him that his son’s car had been under attack of the law‐enforcement officers who had been carrying out a special operation and that two of the three men who had been in the attacked car, had gotten out with their hands up and had been immediately forced by the officers into the boot of one of VAZ-2107 cars and taken away. Then the officers had blown‐up the third man who had remained in the car. 20. On 25 November and then on 2 and 21 December 2010 the investigators interviewed the applicant whose statements were similar to her submission before the Court and the complaint of 25 November 2010 (see paragraphs 8 and 9 above). 21. At some point in December 2010 the investigators transferred the inquiry file to the investigative department of military unit no. 68799 (also referred to as the military investigative department no. 507) (the military investigators) as according to the rules of jurisdiction, military investigators investigated crimes committed by the FSB service personnel. 22. On 15 December 2010 the military investigators interviewed the applicant, who reaffirmed her previous statements (see paragraph 20 above) and provided them with the video footage depicting the special operation and her son’s abduction on 22 November 2010. The investigators neither commissioned an evaluation of the footage by experts, nor carried out its due examination themselves by preparing relevant procedural report. Subsequently, in their refusals to open a criminal case they stated that the footage’s quality allowed neither for identification of the individuals depicted therein nor determination of the licence plates’ numbers of the vehicles involved (see also paragraphs 25 and 27 below). 23. On 21 December 2010 the applicant’s other son M. identified the bodily fragments presented to him as those of Magomed Gorchkhanov. 24. Between February 2011 and January 2012, the applicant lodged at least three detailed complaints with the military investigators insisting that her son had been abducted by the FSB officers on 22 November 2010, then killed three days later at the staged exchange of fire and requested that a criminal case be opened to investigate her allegations. In reply, she was informed that on 22 December 2010 the refusal to open a criminal case was issued (see paragraph 25 below) and that she was to lodge her complaints with the police. 25. Between 22 December 2010 and 12 December 2012, the military investigators issued four refusals to open a criminal case into the events of 22 November 2010 for the lack of corpus delicti in the actions of the FSB officer P.Ch. (the refusals). The decisions, which were almost verbatim, stated, amongst other things, that on 22 November 2010 during a special operation Mr R.G. had died in the exchange of fire, in the car, while the whereabouts of the two men who had managed to abscond from that car remained unknown. Therefore, not crime of abduction had taken place. 26. The applicant appealed against each of the refusals to the Nalchik Military Garrison Court (the Military Court), which left the appeals unexamined as a new inquiry had been ordered by the military investigators’ superiors who had criticised each of the refusals as premature and unsubstantiated. 27. On 5 June 2013 the military investigators’ superior overruled the fourth refusal of 12 December 2012 and ordered that the investigators question the residents of Pliyevo to confirm the special operation on 25 November 2010 and commission an expert examination of the footage of the incident of 22 November 2010 provided by the applicant. Those orders were not complied with. 28. On 19 June 2013 the military investigators issued the fifth refusal due to the absence of the event of the crime. From its text it transpires that the parents of Mr A.K. and the applicant were interviewed; all of them stated that their sons had been abducted on 22 November 2010 by the FSB officers. The investigators had also interviewed one police officer and four FSB officers. According to their statements, the FSB Officer who had been in charge of the special operation on 22 November 2010 had also commanded the special operation on 25 November 2010. The decision also stated that the investigators’ examination of the video footage showed that its quality did not allow to unequivocally establish either the place where the events had taken place, or the identities of the participants and the licence plate numbers of the vehicles involved. The applicant was informed of that refusal in January 2014 and received its copy on 7 February 2014. 29. When the applicant appealed against the above refusal to the Military Court, in March 2014 it refused to examine her appeal as the impugned refusal had already been overruled. 30. To date, no criminal case has been opened into the circumstances of the applicant’s son’s abduction and death. RELEVANT LEGAL FRAMEWORK
31.
For relevant domestic provisions see Dalakov v. Russia, no. 35152/09, §§ 51-53, 16 February 2016, and Manzhos v. Russia, no. 64752/09, §§ 24-27, 24 May 2016. THE LAW
32.
The applicant alleged under Articles 2 and 13 of the Convention that State agents had abducted her son Magomed Gorchkhanov and then had killed him in a staged special operation and that the authorities had failed to investigate the matter. The Court finds it appropriate to examine the applicant’s complaints solely under Article 2 of the Convention, the relevant part of which reads as follows:
“1.
Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law ...”
33.
The Government contented in general terms that the applicant had failed to appeal against “decisions taken by the investigative bodies”. 34. The applicant contested the Government’s submission. 35. The Court notes that in the circumstances, in view of the lack of fully‐fledged investigation within a framework of a criminal case, the only decision of the investigative bodies amenable to court appeal would be the refusal to open a criminal case. The applicant appealed against each of the refusals (see paragraphs 26 and 29 above). Therefore, the Government’s objections should be rejected. 36. The Court further notes that the complaint is neither manifestly ill‐founded nor inadmissible on any other grounds listed in Article 35 of the Convention. It must therefore be declared admissible. 37. The applicant stated that her son had been abducted on 22 November 2010 by the FSB officers and then on 25 November 2010 he had been killed by them in a staged fire exchange and explosion. 38. The authorities failed to carry out an effective investigation into the abduction and death of Magomed Gorchkhanov. 39. The Government stated in general terms that after the clash with the law-enforcement officers on 22 November 2010, Mr Gorchkhanov had absconded from the scene and on 25 November 2010 he had been found in a dugout and killed after offering armed resistance to the FSB officers. The use of lethal force against him therefore was necessary and justified. 40. The inquiry into the circumstances of the death of Mr Gorchkhanov had complied with the Convention standards. 41. It is common ground between the parties that the death of Mr Gorchkhanov resulted from the use of lethal force by State agents. The Court will firstly assess the adequacy of the investigation into his death and then the actions of the State agents who actually administered the force. (a) The State’s procedural obligation under Article 2 of the Convention
42.
A summary of relevant general principles can be found in Armani Da Silva v. the United Kingdom ([GC], no. 5878/08, §§ 229-39, 30 March 2016. 43. No criminal investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the applicant’s son, either on 22 or 25 November 2010, was carried out, other than the pre-investigation inquiry (see paragraphs 17, 21 and 28 above). Thus, the Court is bound to assess the circumstances based on the documents furnished as part of the inquiry, which resulted in the repeated refusals to open a criminal case. 44. The information collected by the inquiry contained clear indications of the conflicting evidence concerning the circumstances surrounding Mr Gorchkhanov’s death. For instance, the applicant’s consistent and detailed allegations that her son had been abducted by the FSB officers on 22 November 2010 (see paragraphs 16 and 19-20 above), along with the video footage provided by her to the investigators, should have prompted the authorities to open a criminal case and carry out a fully-fledged investigation into the matter. However, in spite of the evidence showing that the actual circumstances of the special operations of 22 and 25 November 2010 had been in contradiction to the statements of the implicated officers (see paragraphs 19 and 20 above), the authorities limited themselves to taking a few formal steps, and consistently refused to investigate those allegations. 45. As a result of that failure to clarify the matter, none of the residents of Nasyr-Kort who could have witnessed the incident of 22 November 2010 in broad daylight in the village centre and who could therefore have shed light on its circumstances were questioned. Most importantly, no expert examination of such important evidence as the footage of the events was commissioned. The documents submitted contain no indication that any expert examination had been carried out, nor that such findings have been reflected in a report (see paragraph 22 above). Furthermore, it is noteworthy that the inquiry took no steps to identify the military vehicles depicted in the footage, such as the APCs, in order to establish their crew members and obtain their statements concerning the events in question
46.
Meanwhile, the implicated officers gave “an explanation”, which did not commit them in the same way as it would have in the context of an opened criminal case as it did not entail the necessary safeguards inherent in an effective criminal investigation, such as liability for perjury (see Dalakov, cited above, § 70). 47. Given that the Court has held that a refusal to open a criminal investigation into credible allegations of such serious nature is indicative of the State’s failure to comply with its procedural obligation under Article 2 (see Dalakov, cited above, §§ 69-72), the documents submitted indicate that the domestic authorities failed to demonstrate a proper response to the serious allegations of abduction and inappropriate use of lethal force by agents of the State. 48. In view of the foregoing, the Court concludes that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention under its procedural head. (b) Alleged violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention
49.
A summary of relevant principles be found in El-Masri v. “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” ([GC], no. 39630/09, §§ 151-53, ECHR 2012), and Giuliani and Gaggio v. Italy [GC], no. 23458/02, §§ 180-82, ECHR 2011 (extracts)). 50. The Court observes that it is common ground between the parties that Mr Gorchkhanov had died on 25 November 2010 as a result of a special operation carried out by State agents. However, the parties disagreed on whether he had been abducted on 22 November 2010 by the State agents and whether the circumstances of his ensuing death on 25 November 2010 had been staged by them or whether he had absconded on 22 November 2010 from State agents and subsequently, on 25 November 2010, offered armed resistance provoking justified used of lethal force against him. 51. The key issue, therefore, is to determine whether Mr Gorchkhanov was abducted on 22 November 2010 by State agents or whether he managed to abscond. To this end, the Court notes that its ability to evaluate the circumstances of the incident has been seriously hampered by the absence of a meaningful investigation (see paragraph 48 above). Nevertheless, it will base its assessment on the material available to it undisputed by the parties. (i) Whether the applicant’s son was abducted on 22 November 2010 by State agents
52.
The Court observes at the outset that the documents submitted contain no indication of Mr Gorchkhanov’s involvement in any types of criminal activities. Further, the Government’s contention that on 22 November 2010 Mr Gorchkhanov had absconded during the shooting is unspecific and of generic nature. The documents submitted contain neither details of his alleged absconding from the scene, nor statements of any witnesses or other evidence to this end, other than non-specific and undetailed statements of the implicated officers. Even assuming that Mr Gorchkhanov had absconded, there is no indication of any concrete steps taken to organise the search for him or obtain any information or evidence aimed at his capture. To the contrary, the applicant’s assertion of her son’s apprehension on that date is supported by a number of prima facie evidence, such as the video footage depicting the abduction of Mr Gorchkhanov, the applicant’s consistent and detailed complaints to the authorities and a number of witness statements (see paragraphs 10, 19, 20 and 22 above, for example). The Government did not dispute the authenticity of that footage despite its contradiction to the official version of the events of 22 November 2010. 53. The Court further notes that the circumstances of the discovery of Mr Gorchkhanov’s body on 25 November 2010 showed that neither the officers nor their equipment had sustained any injuries or damage despite the allegedly active resistance of the applicant’s son and Mr A. K. who had allegedly subjected the officers to intense gunfire from machineguns and the RPG (see paragraph 12 above). 54. In view of the above, the Court finds that it can accept that the applicant’s son had been apprehended by State agents during the special operation on 22 November 2010 in the circumstances as alleged by the applicant. (ii) Whether the use of lethal force against Mr Gorchkhanov was justified
55.
Considering that it has been established that that Mr Gorchkhanov was apprehended on 22 November 2010 by State agents, the Court finds that the Government’s version did not tally with the circumstances of the incident of 25 November 2010. Therefore, it does not find it necessary to examine whether the use of lethal force against the applicant’s son on 25 November 2010 was necessary and justified as alleged by the Government. 56. There has accordingly been a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 2 of the Convention. 57. The applicant complained that her son Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov was unlawfully deprived of his liberty by State agents between 22 and 25 November 2010 contrary to Article 5 of the Convention, the relevant part of which 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: ...”
58.
The Court notes that the complaint is neither manifestly ill-founded nor inadmissible on any other grounds listed in Article 35 of the Convention. It must therefore be declared admissible. 59. The Government submitted that there was no proof that the applicant’s son had been detained or arrested by State agents. 60. The applicant maintained her complaint. 61. The Court finds that since it has been established that Mr Magomed Gorchkhanov was detained by State agents on 22 November 2010 (see paragraph 54 above), apparently in the absence of any legal grounds or acknowledgement of such detention, this constitutes a particularly grave violation of the right to liberty and security of persons enshrined in Article 5 of the Convention in respect of him (see Luluyev and Others v. Russia, no. 69480/01, § 122, ECHR 2006-XIII (extracts)). 62. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 5 of the Convention. 63. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention ... the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
64.
The applicant claimed 1,762,981 Russian roubles (about 25,000 euros (EUR)) for pecuniary damage referring to official subsistence levels and the UK Ogden Actuarial Tables. She left the determination of the amount of the award for non-pecuniary damage to the Court. 65. According to the Government, the claim was unsubstantiated. 66. The Court awards the applicant EUR 10,000 for pecuniary damage and EUR 60,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable to her on those amounts. 67. The applicant was represented by lawyers from the NGO SRJI/Astreya. Her claim in respect of costs and expenses amounted to EUR 4,820, which was to be paid into the representatives’ bank account in the Netherlands. 68. According to the Government, the amount claimed was unreasonable. 69. The Court considers it reasonable to award the applicant EUR 2,500 covering costs under all heads, plus any tax that may be chargeable to her, to be paid into the representatives’ bank account in the Netherlands. 70. 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,
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, 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, except for the payment in respect of costs and expenses:
(i) EUR 10,000 (ten thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 60,000 (sixty thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(iii) EUR 2,500 (two thousand five hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses, to be paid into the bank account of the applicant’s representatives in the Netherlands as indicated by the applicant;
(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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 7 December 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Olga Chernishova Peeter Roosma Deputy Registrar President