Case of European Court of Human Rights, June 06, 2013 (case Sabanchiyeva and Others v. Russia)

Resolution Date:June 06, 2013

Preliminary objection dismissed (Article 34 - Locus standi) No violation of Article 3 - Prohibition of torture (Article 3 - Inhuman treatment) (Substantive aspect) Violation of Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life (Article 8-1 - Respect for family life Respect for private life) Violation of Article 13+8 - Right to an effective remedy (Article 13 - Effective remedy) (Article 8 -... (see full summary)


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 164

June 2013

Sabanchiyeva and Others v. Russia - 38450/05

Judgment 6.6.2013 [Section I]

Article 8

Article 8-1

Respect for family life

Respect for private life

Statutory ban on returning bodies of terrorists for burial: violation

Article 3

Inhuman treatment

Conditions of storage of the bodies of the applicants' deceased relatives: no violation

Facts – Early in the morning of 13 October 2005 law-enforcement agencies in the town of Nalchik were attacked by armed insurgents. The fighting continued into the following day leaving more than 100 dead, the majority from the ranks of the assailants. The applicants are relatives of some of the deceased insurgents.

The applicants, who took part in their identification, alleged that the bodies were kept in appalling conditions (piled up, naked and decomposing for want of adequate refrigeration). Under legislation introduced in Russia following the terrorist attack on the Nord-Ost Theatre in Moscow in October 2002 the bodies of terrorists were not handed over to relatives and the place of burial was not disclosed. In April 2006, having established the involvement of the insurgents in the attack, the investigating authority discontinued the criminal proceedings owing to the deaths of the suspects in the attack. In June 2006, pursuant to the decision not to return the bodies of the deceased to their families, 95 corpses of presumed terrorists were cremated. Some of the applicants contested the legislation governing the interment of terrorists. In June 2007 the Constitutional Court ruled that the measure in question was justified as the burial of terrorists could serve as propaganda for terrorist ideas and also cause offence to relatives of the victims, creating the preconditions for heightened interethnic and religious tension. It upheld the impugned legislation as being in conformity with the Constitution but at the same time interpreted it as requiring that the authorities not bury bodies unless a court had confirmed the competent authority’s decision.

Law – Article 3: The conditions in which the applicants’ relatives’ bodies were stored may have caused the applicants suffering, as the Government had admitted that the local facilities were insufficient to contain all the corpses for the first four days after the attack and that even thereafter they had had to be piled up on top of each another for storage in refrigerator wagons. However, those shortcomings...

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