Christine Chanet (France)
Maurice Glele Ahanhanzo (Benin), Ms. Elisabeth Palm (Sweden), Mr. Hipolito Solari
RAPPORTEUR: Mr. Ivan
MEMBERS: Mr. Abdelfattah
Amor (Tunisia), Mr. Mr. Nisuke Ando (Japan), Mr. Prafullachandra
Natwarlal Bhagwati (India), Alfredo Castillero Hoyos (Panama), Mr.
Edwin Johnson Lopez (Ecuador), Mr. Walter Kalin (Switzerland), Mr.
Ahmed Tawfik Khalil (Egypt), Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah (Mauritius), Mr.
Michael O’Flaherty (Ireland), Mr. Rafael Rivas Posada (Colombia),
Sir Nigel Rodley (United Kingdom), Ms. Ruth Wedgwood (United
States), Mr. Roman Wieruszewski (Poland)
Vedeneyeva v. Russian Federation, Comm. 918/2000, U.N. Doc. A/60/40,
Vol. II, at 272 (HRC 2005)
The Russian Federation
Report of the Human Rights Committee, U.N. GAOR, 60th Sess., Supp.
No. 40, U.N. Doc. A/60/40, Annex VI, sect. C, at 272 (Oct. 3, 2005)
Manov, Director of the International Protection Centre in Moscow
1.1 The author of the
communication is Galina Maksimova Vedeneyeva, a Russian citizen. She claims
that her son, Konstantin Vedeneyev, a Russian citizen born in 1966,
deceased, is a victim of a violation by the Russian Federation of articles
6(1), 7 and 10(1) of the Covenant. She is represented by Karina Moskalenko,
Director of the International Protection Centre in Moscow.
1.2 The Optional Protocol entered into force for the Russian Federation on 1
2.1 The author states that on 20 April 1994, Konstantin Vedeneyev was
arrested in Tomsk on suspicion of having committed a murder in Moscow. He
was transferred to Moscow and taken to Pretrial Detention Centre No 1, and
on an unspecified subsequent date to Moscow Pretrial Detention Centre No 2,
for interrogation. Vedeneyev initially protested his innocence, but
allegedly was tortured by police officers to extract a confession from him.
The author received letters from her son which described the treatment he
suffered, which included being beaten and subjected to electric shocks. As a
result of this treatment, Vedeneyev eventually provided a false confession
to the murder in question, which he later retracted. He saw a lawyer for the
first time on 6 May 1994. The investigation into the case concluded on 20
December 1994, and the case was due to be heard in early 1995.
2.2 The author states that her son's letters described the unacceptable
conditions in which he was held at Moscow Pretrial Detention Centre No 2. He
was kept in an over-crowed cell with 100 other inmates, had no bed to sleep
on, and received inadequate food. Vedeneyev contracted tuberculosis but
received no proper medical treatment. His condition worsened, and on 26
January 1995, Vedeneyev was transferred to Pretrial Detention Centre No1 for
medical treatment, where he died on 28 January 1995. The cause of death
recorded on his death certificate was tuberculosis of the lungs. The author
states that her son had been a strong and healthy man when he was taken into
2.3 On an unspecified date, the author filed a complaint with the Moscow
City Procurator, in which she stated that her son had been tortured to
extract a confession; that he was not provided with access to legal counsel
until over two weeks after his arrest; and that he was kept in terrible
conditions at Moscow Pretrial Detention No 2, where he contracted
tuberculosis. She stated that keeping her son under such conditions amounted
to an extrajudicial death sentence, and requested that those responsible for
her son's death be brought to justice.
2.4 By letter dated 21 March 1996, the director of Pretrial Detention Centre
No 2 informed the author that he had received her complaint from the Moscow
City Procurator, and that the circumstances of her son's death had been
investigated. He stated that no violations of rules relating to conditions
of detention or the provision of medical assistance to detainees had been
identified. According to the letter, Vedeneyev had been diagnosed with acute
tuberculosis on 17 November 1994, for which he received appropriate medical
treatment; on 20 January 1995, his condition worsened, resulting in him
being hospitalized; he was further diagnosed with a severe pneumonia. He was
finally taken to a surgery department at Moscow Pretrial Detention Centre No
1 on 26 January 1995, but efforts to save his life were unsuccessful.
2.5 The author states that she filed appeals with the regional, municipal
and general procurators, but does not provide any details about these
appeals, other than to state that they were unsuccessful.
3. The author states that her son was subjected to torture and cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of his rights under article 7
of the Covenant. She contends that the conditions in Moscow Pretrial
Detention Centre No 2 were such that her son was not treated with humanity
and respect for his dignity during his detention at that facility, in
violation of article 10(1); and that her son's death from tuberculosis in
these circumstances amounted to a violation of his right to life under
article 6(1) of the Covenant.
STATE PARTY'S SUBMISSION AND AUTHOR'S COMMENTS
4. In its submission of 10 December 2001, the State party contends that the
communication is inadmissible because the author failed to exhaust domestic
remedies, as she did not appeal to the General Procurator of the Russian
Federation, nor to the Supreme Court.
5. In a submission dated 22 August 2004, the author states that she does not
consider the Procurator General of the Russian Federation or the Supreme
Court to be bodies capable of providing effective remedies. She does not
provide any explanation for this submission.
6. In a further submission dated 7 February 2005, the State party provides
further information on the appeal processes which it says were available to
the author, but were not exhausted. It states that all decisions of organs
of state power are subject to appeal, as guaranteed by article 46 of the
Russian Constitution. Under Russian law, representatives of a victim are
able to file an appeal on his or her behalf. The grounds for changing a
decision at first instance include the decision's non-compliance with legal
provisions, unjustness, or disparity between the conclusions drawn at first
instance and the relevant facts. The Law on the procurator provides that any
complaints about unlawful actions are reviewable by the procuracy, and that
a complaint to the procuracy does not preclude a person from filing a
complaint directly in a Court. The State party reiterates its view that the
communication is inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.
ISSUES AND PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE
7.1 Before considering any claims contained in a communication, the Human
Rights Committee must, in accordance with rule 93 of its Rules of Procedure,
decide whether or not it is admissible under the Optional Protocol to the
7.2 The Committee has ascertained that the same matter is not being examined
under another procedure of international investigation or settlement for the
purposes of article 5, paragraph 2(a), of the Optional Protocol.
7.3 The Committee has noted the State party's submission that the author did
not exhaust available domestic remedies, as she did not take her complaints
about the alleged mistreatment of her son to the General Procurator of the
Russian Federation and subsequently to the Supreme Court. Whilst the author
contends that these bodies would not provide an effective remedy in the
present case, no explanation has been provided by her in support of this
contention. The Committee considers that, whilst the author of a
communication does not bear the sole burden of proof for a contention that a
particular domestic remedy is ineffective, an author must at least present a
prima facie argument in support of such a proposition, and substantiate his
or her reasons for believing that the remedy in question is or would be
ineffective. In the present case, the author has not done this.
8. Accordingly, the Committee decides that:
(a) the communication is inadmissible under article 5, paragraph 2 (b) of
the Optional Protocol;
(b) this decision shall be communicated to the State party and the author.
Adopted in English, French and Spanish, the English text being the original
version. Subsequently to be issued also in Arabic, Chinese and Russian as
part of the Committee's annual report to the General Assembly.