Cases I worked at recently:

Case No 1. Damage Infliction During Counter Terrorist Operation in Dagestan (Vremenniy village, 18 September, 2014 – 25 November, 2014).

This case raises important legal issues regarding responsibility of the military during counter terrorist operations. According to Russian law the military cannot be held responsible for the damage inflicted during a counter terrorist operation.

The logic of this rule is understandable since in order to locate and to capture a terrorist an officer shall be able to inflict damage. However, in this case the damage was strange. TVs, microwaves, cloths and other personal items – all was gone when the villagers came back on 25 November 2014, two months after being evicted. Upon their arrival to the village, the inhabitants saw a scarecrow made out of their personal cloths and completely destroyed  toilets (obviously, all walls, ceilings, floors were destroyed as well, but this damage is understandable).

The inhabitants asked two questions: who did it and who can be held responsible? There are two possible answers - either the military (and therefore the military shall be kept responsible) or hooligans from outside while the military failed to properly guard the village (all inhabitants were evicted from the village after 6 October, 2014). In the latter case the military shall be still responsible for failure to protect.  

​After numerous attempts to start criminal investigation, this path was abandoned. The investigation did not lead to any results, as the investigators kept on telling that nothing criminal had been committed by the military. I drafted and submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights. In summer 2017 I submitted two claims to Russian civil courts to get compensation for the damage. The cases are pending.

More on this case may be found here.

Case No 2. Mejlis of Crimean Tatars

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People is the single highest executive-representative body of the Crimean Tatars in period between sessions of the Kurultai. In February 2016 the Prosecutor of Crimea lodged an application with the Supreme Court of Republic of Crimea to label the Mejlis as "extremist organisation". It was amusing to participate in the hearings because the prosecution decided to put whatever they can possibly find on Mejlis in the hope that the court would possibly find something. Even the Declaration of Independence of Crimean Tatars drafted 25 years ago was used by the prosecution to demonstrate that the Tatars propagate their superiority because in this Declaration it is stated that resources of the Crimea could be used only with the consent of the Tatars.

 

The Supreme Court of Crimea banned the Mejlis as extremist organization on 26 April, 2016. Brief statement of the Court arguments and their analysis can be found here. The Russian Supreme Court of Russian Federation upheld the decision.  The reasons why I think it is a bad decision can be found here (in Russian). I was the Mejlis co-counsel in drafting and submitting an application to the European Court of Human Rights. 

Case No 3. Disappearance of Omar Valibagandov

What I find strange about this case is not the disappearance itself (although what can be possibly scarier than a person being disappeared forever in the middle of the day) – at the end the European Court of Human Rights saw a good number of such cases. I find strange the behavior of investigation authorities who forged statements on behalf of the disappeared without even caring to make it look like he did it.

On 22 August 2013 Omar Valibagandov left his house for work at 11 am. He was never seen again. His brother was informed by neighbors that Omar was taken by police and was seen wounded in the nearby hospital. It turned out that his brother was indeed treated in the hospital on 23 August with the gunshot injury in a lower thigh. Omar was escorted to the hospital by Federal Security Officers (FSB) and accompanied by them afterwards being handcuffed by the FSB agents. During the treatment he complained that he was beaten and scolded by them. Who fired a gun at him? – was the first question which the brother asked while lodging an application to police about his brother disappearance.

The police produced a statement allegedly written by Omar stating that the gunshot injury was a result of his careless handling of the gun which he had found on the beach and decided to take a look. The gun fired accidently. The statement was handwritten. The results of the expertise demonstrated that the statement was not written by Omar. The investigation was not able to determine who wrote it. After almost three years since Omar disappearance the investigation was suspended for the third time. For the fourth time the court declared this suspension unlawful.  

I drafted an application on behalf of Omar's  brother and submitted it to the European Court.

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