COMMITTEE OF MINISTERS
Interim Resolution ResDH(2003)123
concerning the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights
of 15 July 2002, final on 15 October 2002
in the case of Kalashnikov against the Russian Federation
(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 4 June 2003 at the 841st meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)
The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 46, paragraph
2, of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental
Freedoms, as amended by Protocol No. 11 (hereinafter referred to as “the
Recalling that the case originated in an application (No. 47095/99) against the Russian Federation, lodged with the Court on 1 December 1998 under Article 34 of the Convention by Mr Valery Yermilovitch Kalashnikov, a Russian national, and that the Court declared admissible the complaints relating to the poor conditions in which the applicant was held in detention before trial between 1995 and 2000, due in particular to severe prison overcrowding and to an insanitary environment; and the complaints concerning the excessive length of both this detention and the criminal proceedings brought against him;
Whereas in its judgment of 15 July 2002 the Court unanimously:
Recalling the obligation of every state, under Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Convention, to abide by the judgments of the Court, which includes the adoption of general measures preventing new violations of the Convention similar to those found in the Court's judgments;
Stressing that the necessity of adopting such measures is all the more
pressing if a judgment reveals structural problems which may give rise
to a large number of new, similar violations of the Convention;
Having satisfied itself that on 17 December 2002, within the time-limit
set, the respondent government paid the applicant the sums provided for
in the judgment;
Noting that the general measures required by the present judgment are
closely connected to the ongoing reform of the Russian Federation's criminal
policy and the penitentiary system and welcoming progress achieved so far
in this respect;
Considering however that further measures are required in this field to remedy the structural problems highlighted by the present judgment;
Stressing in particular the importance of prompt action by the authorities to remedy the overcrowding in those SIZOs where this problem still remains (57 out of the 89 Russian regions) and to align the sanitary conditions of detention on the requirements of the Convention,
CALLS UPON the Russian authorities to continue and enhance the ongoing reforms with a view to aligning the conditions of all pre-trial detention on the requirements of the Convention, particularly as set out in the Kalashnikov judgment, so as effectively to prevent new, similar violations;
INVITES the authorities to continue to keep the Committee of Ministers informed of the concrete improvement of the situation, in particular by providing relevant statistics relating to the overcrowding and sanitary and health conditions in pre-trial detention facilities;
DECIDES to examine at one of its meetings not later than October 2004,
further progress achieved in the adoption of the general measures necessary
to effectively prevent this kind of violations of the Convention.
Information provided by the Government of the Russian Federation
As regards the conditions of pre-trial detention, the Government is fully aware of the existence of structural problems highlighted by the Kalashnikov judgment and resolved to remedy them in accordance with Russia's obligations under the European Convention, as set out in the Court's judgments. This determination has been demonstrated, inter alia, by a number of concrete measures which have been adopted both before and since the delivery of the Kalashnikov judgment on 15 July 2002.
The Government refers in particular to two major reforms which have
already resulted in significant improvement of the conditions of pre-trial
detention and their progressive alignment on the Convention's requirements:
As a result of the above measures, the living space per detainee was increased to 3,46 m? by 1 January 2003. Further improvements are planned. In 32 of 89 Russian regions the number of persons held in pre-trial detention no longer exceeds the limits set for detention facilities.
In November 2002, the Ministry of Justice published in its professional review (Vedomosti UIS, n° 8/2002) those reports of the European Committee for the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (CPT) which concern its visits to detention facilities placed under the responsibility of this Ministry (i.e. pre-trial detention facilities and prisons). The Government considers that this publication will be most useful for aligning, in close co-operation with the CPT, of the conditions of pre-trial detention on the Convention requirements.
As regards the excessive length of pre-trial detention and of criminal proceedings, the Russian authorities have indicated that the new Code of Criminal Procedure is highly instrumental in preventing new, similar violations as it vests in courts sole competence to order and prolong pre-trial detention and imposes stricter time-limits on investigation and trial (see Articles 109, 162, 255).
Following the Kalashnikov judgment, the Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Court also sent on 5 September 2002 a circular letter to all Russian regional and republican courts pointing out the undue procedural delays at the basis of the violations found by the Court in the Kalashnikov case. The circular stresses that the Kalashnikov judgment has a precedent value and entails very serious consequences inasmuch as it reflects the Court's position on important questions relating to fundamental rights of individuals subject to criminal prosecution, including the right to a reasonable length of judicial proceedings. In conclusion, the circular requests all courts to ensure strict compliance with the time-limits set by the Code of Criminal Procedure for investigation and trial and to prevent unjustified delays in proceedings.
The Government has furthermore ensured the publication of the Kalashnikov judgment (in Russian translation) in the official Russian daily Rossijskaia Gazeta (17 and 19 October 2002), which publishes all laws and regulations of the Russian Federation. The judgment has also been published in a number of Russian legal journals and internet data bases, and is thus easily available to the authorities and the public.
Given this wide dissemination of the Kalashnikov judgment and its binding
force in Russian law, the Government trusts that domestic courts will not
fail to take it directly into account in order to ensure that pre-trial
detention is based on valid and sufficient reasons as required by Article
5, paragraph 3, and that criminal proceedings are concluded within a reasonable
time as required by Article 6, paragraph 1 of the Convention.