International Law in Brief
UN Human Rights Committee Finds Violation of Rights by Russian Federation
By: Emma Schoenberger | May 12, 2020 - 11:32am
On May 11, 2020, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights released its views on a submission by Rizvan Taysumov et al. against the Russian Federation. Taysumov and five others were all captured by Chechen forces, detained, and interrogated; in 2006, they were tried and found guilty by the Supreme Court of the Chechen Republic. Before bringing their case to this committee, they appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation and then to the European Court of Human Rights; the latter “decided that the application was inadmissible because it had ‘not satisfy(ied) the requirements established by Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention.’” In the current complaint, the authors list various abuses and violations of human rights by their captors, including “torture … [and] cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment,” “arbitrary arrest and detention,” and a violation of “their rights to a fair trial.” They cited articles 7, 2(3), 9(1-4), “14(2), and 14 (3) (a), (b) and (g)” of the Covenant.
The Committee concluded that all but one of the authors’ claims were admissible under articles 2, 3, 5(2)(b) of the Optional Protocol; it decided two authors’ complaints alleging a “violation of their right to a presumption of innocence” had not included sufficient evidence for the complaint to be admissible. Regarding the remaining complaints, it concluded that the evidence does not indicate “that the investigation into the allegations of torture was carried out promptly or effectively” by the state, and “lacked the element of impartiality”; the information gained from the interrogations was then unjustly used as evidence in court to establish the defendants’ guilt. Regarding the authors’ allegations of unlawful detention, “the Committee conclude[d] that the State party violated the rights of the authors under article 9 (2-3)” because “the authors were not informed, at the time of apprehension, of the reasons for their arrest or of the charges against them, and they were not brought promptly before a judge to verify the legality of their detention.” Because the state is a party to the Covenant and was found to have violated the authors’ rights as protected by the agreement, it is “require[d] … to make full reparation[s]” to the authors, including “a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation into the authors’ allegations of torture and… full redress to the authors, including just compensation and other measures of satisfaction for the violations occurred.”