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Судебное дело "Ранцев против Кипра и России"


Изложение фактов по делу Ранцев против Кипра и России (англ)

 

04.11.2009

 

   07 July 2008

                               FIRST SECTION

                          Application no. 25965/04
                      by Nikolay Mikhaylovich RANTSEV
                         against Cyprus and Russia
                           lodged on 26 May 2004

                             STATEMENT OF FACTS

   THE FACTS

   The  applicant, Mr Nikolay Mikhaylovich Rantsev, is a Russian national
   who was born in 1938 and lives in Svetlogorsk, Russia.

   A.  The circumstances of the case

   The  facts  of  the  case,  as  shown by the material submitted by the
   applicant  and  the Cypriot and Russian Governments, may be summarised
   as follows.

   1.  The incident of 28 March 2001

   The  applicant's daughter, Ms Oxana Rantseva, born in 1980, arrived in
   Cyprus on 5 March 2001 and was given a temporary residence permit as a
   visitor until 9 March 2001. On 12 March 2001 she was given a permit to
   work  until  8 June  2001  as  an artiste in a cabaret owned by Melios
   Athanasiou and directed by Marios Athanasiou.

   According to the testimony of Marios Athanasiou dated 28 March 2001:

   "she  was  brought  to  Cyprus  by  Melios  Athanasiou, my brother,...
   through  his  artists'  agency.  From  the first day of her arrival in
   Cyprus she stayed with the other girls working at my cabaret ... Oxana
   worked  regularly at the cabaret and stayed at the same apartment with
   the  other  girls  until  18 March 2001... On 19 March 2001, at around
   11.00  in  the  morning, I was informed by the other girls living with
   Oxana  that she had left the apartment and taken all of her belongings
   with her. The girls told me that she had left a note in Russian saying
   that  she was tired and wanted to return to Russia... On the same date
   I informed the Immigration Office in Limassol that Oxana had abandoned
   her place of work and residence. ...I tried to locate Oxana and inform
   the  Migration  Service  so that she would be arrested and expelled. I
   wanted  Oxana  to  leave so that I could bring another girl to work in
   the cabaret."

   Marios  Athanasiou  (hereinafter  "Mr  Athanasiou")  found  Oxana in a
   discotheque  in  Limassol at around 4 a.m. on 28 March 2001. According
   to  his  testimony dated 28 March 2001, he called the police and asked
   them  to  arrest  Oxana.  He went to the discotheque together with the
   security  guard  from  his  cabaret.  An  employee  of the discotheque
   brought  Oxana  to  him and he took her to the Limassol Central Police
   Station and left her there.

   Shortly  afterwards  he  was  asked to return to the police station to
   pick  Oxana  up  as the police could not keep her. He refused to do so
   but when he was informed that the police would release Oxana if he did
   not  pick  her up, he returned. He took her to the apartment of Marios
   Psevdiotis,  who  was  also  working  at his cabaret. The apartment he
   lived in with his wife Dora Psevdiotis, was located on the fifth floor
   of a block of flats and was separated into two floors.

   Oxana  was  found  dead  on  the  street  below  the  balcony  of  the
   Psevdiotis'  apartment.  The  police  found  a  bedspread  tied on the
   railing  of  the  balcony on the upper floor of the apartment, hanging
   over  the  balcony  on  the lower floor of the apartment. Her body was
   transferred to Russia on 8 April 2001.

   2.  Extracts from the relevant testimonies

   According  to  the  testimony  of  the police officer who received the
   applicant's daughter and Mr Athanasiou at the Limassol Police Station:

   "On 28 March 2001, slightly before 4 a.m., Marios Athanasiou found her
   in  the  nightclub  Titanic ..., he took her and led her to the police
   station stating that Oxana was illegal and that we should place her in
   the  cells.  He  (Athanasiou)  then left the place (police station). I
   then  contacted  the  duty passport officer ....who stated that it did
   not  appear that she was illegal.... Subsequently, Police Officer 1523
   stated  that  the  directions  of  the  person in charge () of the AIS
   (Police  Aliens and Immigration Service) were for her employer to pick
   her up and take her to their Limassol Office for further investigation
   at  7 the next morning. Subsequently, I contacted Marios Athanasiou on
   the  phone,  who  refused to come and pick her up, and then I told him
   that  the  instructions  were  that  if he did not come I should allow
   Oxana  to  leave.  He  became  angry  and  said that he would not take
   instructions  from  me  and  that he wanted to speak to my superior. I
   told  him  to contact the superior officer on duty... having spoken to
   him  my superior informed me that Marios Athanasiou would come to pick
   her  up.  Oxana  remained  with  us....  She did not look drunk ... At
   around  5.20  a.m.  ...  I was ... informed that Marios Athanasiou had
   come and picked her up..."

   In  his  testimony  of  28 March 2001 Mr Athanasiou stated that having
   picked  up  Oxana from the police station he took her to the apartment
   of his employee Marios Psevdiotis, located on the fifth floor of Coral
   Court  building in Limassol. They placed Oxana in a room on the second
   floor  of  the  apartment. Mr Psevdiotis and his wife went to sleep in
   their  bedroom  on  the  second  floor and Mr Athanasiou stayed in the
   entrance  hall  of the apartment where he fell asleep. He woke up at 7
   a.m.  when  he  heard Ms Psevdiotis saying that the police were in the
   street in front of the apartment. He added that since he had picked up
   Oxana  from the discotheque she had not shown any sign that she wanted
   to  leave, or otherwise objected, "(s)he just looked drunk and did not
   seem  to  have  any intention to do anything. I did not do anything to
   prevent  her  from  leaving  the  room in Psevdiotis' flat where I had
   taken her."

   In  her  testimony  of  28 March 2001 Ms Teodora Vacelinova Psevdiotis
   stated  that Mr Athanasiou brought Oxana to her flat, had a brief talk
   with her husband and asked her to provide Oxana with a bedroom so that
   she  could  get  some rest. She stated that Oxana looked drunk and did
   not  want to drink or eat anything. Ms Psevdiotis subsequently went to
   sleep  with her husband while Mr Athanasiou stayed in the living room.
   She  was  woken  up  by Mr Athanasiou knocking on her door to tell her
   that  Oxana was not in her room and that they should look for her. She
   looked for her all over the apartment and some considerable time later
   she  saw  a  body  lying  on  the street, covered by a white sheet and
   surrounded  by  police officers. In a subsequent statement she revised
   her  initial  description  of the events in which she had said that Mr
   Athanasiou  had  had a brief talk with her husband, now asserting that
   her  husband  had been asleep when Mr Athanasiou arrived at their flat
   with  Oxana; she stated that she had been scared to admit that she had
   opened  the  door  of  the  flat  on  her  own  and had coffee with Mr
   Athanasiou.

   In  his  testimony  of  28 March 2001 Marios Psevdiotis stated that he
   left  his  work at the cabaret "Zygos" in Limassol at around 3.30 a.m.
   and  went  to  the "Titanic" discotheque for a drink. Upon his arrival
   there  he  was  informed  that  the girl they had been looking for, of
   Russian  origin,  was  in  the discotheque. Then Mr Athanasiou arrived
   accompanied by a security man from the cabaret and asked the employees
   of  the  Titanic  to  bring  the  girl  to the entrance. Then they all
   boarded  Mr  Athanasiou's  car. Subsequently Mr Psevdiotis returned to
   his  house  and  went  to  sleep.  At  around  6  a.m.  his wife, Dora
   Psevdiotis,  woke  him  up  and  informed  him  that Mr Athanasiou had
   arrived  together  with  Oxana  and  that  they  would  stay until the
   Migration Office opened. He then fell asleep and was woken up by noise
   and  saw  his  wife  in  a state of shock; she told him that Oxana had
   fallen from the balcony.

   In  his  testimony  of  28  March 2001 Mr George Appios stated that on
   28 March  2001,  around  6.30  a.m.,  he  was  smoking on his balcony,
   located on the first floor of the relevant building. He stated:

   "I saw something resembling a shadow fall from above and pass directly
   in  front of me. Immediately afterwards I heard a noise like something
   was  breaking....  I had heard nothing before the fall and immediately
   afterwards  I  did  not hear any voices. She did not scream during the
   fall.  She  just  fell as if she were unconscious... Even if there had
   been  a  fight  (in the apartment on the fifth floor) I would not have
   been able to hear it."

   3.  Proceedings in Cyprus and Russia

   On  9  April  2001  the  applicant  requested the Chelyabinsk Regional
   Bureau  of  Medical Examinations ("the Chelyabinsk Bureau") to perform
   an  autopsy  of  the  body.  He further requested the Federal Security
   Service  of the Russian Federation and the General Prosecutor's Office
   to  investigate  into  Oxana's  death  in  Cyprus.  On 10 May 2001 the
   Chelyabinsk Bureau issued its report on the autopsy.

   On  5  August  2001  the applicant visited the Limassol Police Station
   together  with  a  lawyer  and  spoke  to  the  police officer who had
   received  Oxana and Mr Athanasiou on 28 March 2001. He asked to attend
   the inquest. According to a statement by a police officer dated 8 July
   2002,  the police told the applicant that his lawyer would be informed
   of the date of the hearing before the district court of Limassol.

   On  10  October  2001  the applicant requested in writing to intervene
   directly in the court proceedings so as to submit further evidence.

   The  proceedings  were  set  for 30 October 2001 and, according to the
   police  officer's report of July 2002, the applicant's lawyer had been
   promptly  informed  but  neither she nor the applicant appeared before
   the  district  court.  The case was then adjourned to 11 December 2001
   and  an order was made that the Russian Embassy be notified of the new
   date so as to inform the applicant.

   On  11  December 2001 the applicant did not appear before the District
   Court and the inquest was adjourned until 27 December 2001.

   On  the  same  date  the  General Prosecutor of the Russian Federation
   forwarded  to  the  Cypriot  Minister  of Justice and Public Order the
   findings  of  the Public Prosecutor's Office of the Chelyabinsk Region
   of  the  Russian  Federation. It was stated therein that Mr Athanasiou
   had collected Oxana at around 4.30 a.m. on 28 March 2001 and taken her
   to  the  police  requesting them to arrest her. Oxana was not drunk at
   that  point  but  behaved  decently,  remained  calm  and  applied her
   make-up.  At around 5.30 Mr Athanasiou collected Oxana from the police
   and  took  her to the Psevdiotis' apartment, where they had a meal and
   then  at  6.30 they locked Oxana in a room on the seventh floor of the
   building. Later on, her body was found face-down on the asphalt of the
   street.  The  conclusion  of  the experts at the Chelyabinsk Bureau of
   Forensic Medicine, Frlov V.I. and Kostin B.F., was that there had been
   two  stages  in Oxana's fall, first on her back and then on her front,
   which contradicted the findings made by their Cypriot counterparts.

   In  particular the following was reported in the forensic diagnosis of
   28 April 2001:

   "It  is  a  trauma  caused  by  a fall from a considerable height, the
   falling  on  a  plane  of various levels, polytrauma of the body, open
   cranial trauma: multiple fragmentary comminuted fracture of the facial
   and cranial bones, multiple breaches of the brain membrane on the side
   of  the  brain vault and the base of the skull in the front brain pit,
   haemorrhages  under  the  soft  brain membranes, haemorrhages into the
   soft  tissues, multiple bruises, large bruises and wounds on the skin,
   expressed  deformation  of  the  head  in the front-to-back direction,
   closed  dull  trauma  of  the  thorax  with  injuries  of  the  thorax
   organs...,  contusion of the lungs along the back surface, fracture of
   the  spine in the thorax section with complete breach and displacement
   of the marrow ..."

   In its conclusions included the following:

   "The  colour  and  look of the bruises, breaches and wounds as well as
   haemorrhages  with  morphological  changes  of  the  same  type in the
   injured  tissues  indicated,  without  any  doubt,  that  the  traumas
   happened  while  she  was  alive, and also that they happened not very
   long  before  death,  within  a  very short time period, one after the
   other.

   During  the  forensic  examination  of the corpse of Rantseva O. N. no
   injuries  resulting  from external violence, connected with the use of
   any  firearms  or  sharp objects and weapons, or influence of physical
   and  chemical reagents or natural factors were established. ... During
   the  forensic  chemical  examination  of the blood, urine and internal
   organs  of  the  corpse  no  narcotic, strong or toxic substances were
   found.  These findings rule out the possibility that Ransteva O.N. was
   killed  by firearms, cold steel, physical, chemical or natural factors
   or by poisoning or diseases of any organs or systems. ...

   Considering   the   location  of  the  injuries,  their  morphological
   peculiarities   and   certain   differences   discovered   during  the
   morphological  and  histological  analysis,  and  the  response of the
   injured  tissues,  we believe that in this particular case the traumas
   were  caused by a fall from a great height, in two stages during which
   the initial contact of the body with an obstacle in the final phase of
   the  fall was on the back of the body, with a possible sliding motion,
   followed  by  a  secondary  impact  on  the front surface of the body,
   mainly  the  face,  with  expressed  deformation  of  the  head  in  a
   front-to-back direction due to compressive impact..."

   The Prosecutor of the Chelyabinsk region therefore requested, pursuant
   to the Treaty between the USSR and the Republic of Cyprus on Civil and
   Criminal   Matters,  that  further  investigation  be  made  into  the
   circumstances  of  Oxana's  death in order to specify the cause of her
   death  and eliminate the contradictions in the available evidence. The
   request  included  the interrogation of persons having any information
   concerning  the  circumstances  of the death. It was noted that in the
   event  of  lack  of any indication pointing to murder by Mr Athanasiou
   that  the  authorities  should  examine  his  liability for kidnapping
   Oxana.

   On  27  December  2001  the  inquest  took  place  before the Limassol
   District Court in the absence of the applicant. The court's verdict of
   the same date stated, inter alia:

   "At  around  6.30 a.m. on the same date the deceased, in an attempt to
   escape   from   the   afore-mentioned   apartment   and   in   strange
   circumstances,  jumped  into  the  void  as  a result of which she was
   fatally injured...

   My  verdict  is  that  OXANA  RANTSEVA  died  on  28  March  2001,  in
   circumstances resembling an accident, in an attempt to escape from the
   apartment in which she was a guest ().

   There  is  no evidence before me that suggests criminal liability of a
   third person for her death".

   On  the  same  date  the  Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
   forwarded  the  elaborate  request  made  by  the  applicant  for  the
   initiation of criminal proceedings in connection with the death of his
   daughter  and  to receive legal aid in Cyprus pursuant to the relevant
   Treaty.

   On  25  April  2002  the  Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
   reiterated  their  request for the institution of criminal proceedings
   in connection with Oxana's death and the applicant's application to be
   added  as  a  victim to the proceedings in order to submit his further
   evidence,  as  well  as  his request for legal aid. They requested the
   Cypriot  Government  to provide them with an update and to inform them
   as to any decisions that had been taken.

   By  letters  of  17  and  31 January 2003 the office of the Prosecutor
   General  of  the  Russian  Federation  noted that they had received no
   response  from the Cypriot authorities in relation to the request made
   by  their  office or that made by the applicant, the contents of which
   they repeated.

   On  4  March  2003  the  Cypriot  Ministry  of  Justice  informed  the
   Prosecutor  General  of  the Russian Federation that their request had
   been  duly  executed  by  the  Cypriot  police,  and sent three police
   reports.

   On  5  June  2003  the  Prosecutor  General  of the Russian Federation
   submitted a further request pursuant to the Legal Assistance Treaty of
   1987.  They  requested  that a further investigation be conducted into
   the  circumstances of Oxana's death as the verdict of 27 December 2001
   was  unsatisfactory.  In  particular,  it  was  noted that despite the
   strange  circumstances  of  the  incident  and the acknowledgment that
   Oxana  was  trying  to  escape  from  the flat where she was held, the
   verdict  did not make any reference to the inconsistent testimonies of
   the  relevant witnesses or to any detailed description of the findings
   of the autopsy carried out by the Cypriot authorities.

   On 17 December 2003, in reply to the Russian authorities' request, the
   Cypriot Ministry of Justice forwarded to the Prosecutor General of the
   Russian Federation a further report prepared by the Cypriot police and
   dated 17 November 2003. The following was noted therein:

   "At  about  6.30  a.m. on 28 March 2003 the deceased went out onto the
   balcony  of  her  room  through  the balcony door, climbed down to the
   balcony  of  the first floor of the apartment with the assistance of a
   bedspread which she tied to the protective railing of the balcony. She
   carried  on  her shoulder her personal bag. From that point, she clung
   to the aluminium protective raining of the balcony so as to climb down
   to the balcony of the apartment on the floor below in order to escape.
   Under  unknown circumstances, she fell into the street, as a result of
   which she was fatally injured.

   ...

   On  the  basis of the above, it is concluded that the deceased did not
   want  to  be  expelled from Cyprus and because her employer was at the
   entrance  of  the  flat where she was a guest, she decided to take the
   risk  of  trying  to  climb over the balcony, as a result of which she
   fell to the ground and died instantaneously."

   On  4  December  2003 the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Russian
   Federation  forwarded the applicant's complaint about the insufficient
   reply from the Cypriot authorities to the Cypriot Ombudsman.

   The  case  received  wide coverage by the Russian media as a result of
   the applicant's efforts to instigate further investigation.

   In  a  letter  of  17  August  2005  the  Russian Ambassador to Cyprus
   requested  further  information  about  a  hearing concerning the case
   scheduled  for  14 October 2005 and reiterated the applicant's request
   for legal assistance.

   On  22  December 2005 the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation
   requested  the  Minister of Justice to explain the procedure of appeal
   against  the  decision  issued on 28 March 2001 and called for further
   clarifications  on the re-opened proceedings concerning Oxana's death,
   details  of a certain hearing set for 14 October 2005 which, according
   to  their  information  had  been adjourned, and the involvement of Mr
   Athanasiou in the proceedings.

   In  January  2006 the Attorney-General confirmed to a lawyer appointed
   by  the  applicant  that he was willing to order the re-opening of the
   investigation  upon  receipt  of further evidence showing any criminal
   activity.

   The applicant asked the Russian authorities to obtain testimonies from
   two Russian girls (Ms Olga Osincesava and Ms Yianna Bibalceva) who had
   been  working  with  Oxana at the same cabaret and could testify about
   sexual  exploitation  taking  place  there.  The  Russian  authorities
   replied that they could only obtain such testimonies upon receipt of a
   request by the Cypriot authorities.

   On 14 April 2006 the Attorney-General replied that he saw no reason to
   request  the  Russian authorities to obtain the testimonies of the two
   Russian citizens identified by the applicant. If the said persons were
   in  the  Republic of Cyprus their testimonies could be obtained by the
   Cypriot Police and if they were in Russia, the Russian authorities did
   not  need  the  consent  of  the  Cypriot  authorities to obtain their
   statements.

   B.  Relevant domestic law and International material

   1.  Domestic Law concerning the Inquisition:

   The  Coroners  Law  of  1959, Chapter (Cap.)153 provides, in so far as
   relevant, as follows:

   "3.  (1)  Every  district judge and magistrate may hold inquests under
   this Law within the local limits of his jurisdiction.

   ...

   (3)  Any  inquest commenced by a coroner may be continued, resumed, or
   reopened  in the manner provided by this Law by such coroner or by his
   successor  in  office  or by such other coroner, empowered to hold the
   inquest within the jurisdiction, as the President, District Court, may
   direct.

   ...

   14. At every inquest-

   (a)  the  coroner shall take on oath such evidence as is procurable as
   to the identity of the deceased, and the time, place and manner of his
   death;

   (b)  every interested party may appear either by advocate or in person
   and  examine,  cross-examine  or  re-examine,  as the case may be, any
   witness.

   ...

   16.  (1)  A coroner holding an inquest shall have and may exercise all
   the  powers of a district judge or magistrate with regard to summoning
   and  compelling the attendance of witnesses and requiring them to give
   evidence,  and  with regard to the production of any document or thing
   at such inquest.

   ...

   24.  If, during the course or at the close of any inquest, the coroner
   is  of  opinion  that  sufficient  grounds  are disclosed for making a
   charge against any person in connection with the death, he may issue a
   summons  or warrant to secure the attendance of such person before any
   Court  having jurisdiction, and may bind over any witness who has been
   examined  by or before him on a recognisance with or without surety to
   appear and give evidence before such Court.

   25.  After the view, if any, of the body and hearing the evidence, the
   coroner  holding  the inquest shall give his verdict and certify it by
   an  inquisition in writing as in Form D set out in the First Schedule,
   showing,  so  far as such particulars have been proved to him, who the
   deceased was, and how, when and where the deceased came by his death:

   ...

   26.  If,  at  the close of any inquest, the coroner is of opinion that
   there  is  ground  for  suspecting  that  some  person is guilty of an
   offence  in  respect of the matter inquired into, but cannot ascertain
   who  such  person  is, he shall certify his opinion to that effect and
   transmit  a copy of the proceedings to the police officer in charge of
   the district in which the inquest is held.

   ...

   28. (1) The original of every inquisition, including the record of the
   inquest  and  the  recognisances  of  the  witnesses, if any, shall be
   transmitted  by  the  coroner,  with  all  convenient despatch, to the
   President, District Court....

   (2)  The President, District Court, may examine the record of any such
   proceedings   for   the  purpose  of  satisfying  himself  as  to  the
   correctness, legality or propriety of any finding or verdict and as to
   the regularity of such proceedings.

   (3) Where the President, District Court, by reason of such examination
   is  not  satisfied as to the correctness, legality or propriety of any
   finding  or  verdict  he  may, after affording the Attorney-General an
   opportunity  of being heard, exercise any of the powers conferred upon
   him by subsection (1) of section 30.

   (4) Where the President, District Court, by reason of such examination
   is  not satisfied as to the regularity of the proceedings, he may take
   such action, not involving an alteration of the finding or verdict, as
   he may think necessary to cure such irregularity.

   ...

   30.  (1) Where the President, District Court, upon application made by
   or  under  the authority of the Attorney-General, is satisfied that it
   is necessary or desirable to do so, he may-

   (a) order an inquest to be held touching the death of any person;

   (b)  direct  any  inquest  to  be  reopened  for the taking of further
   evidence,  or  for  the  inclusion  in  the  proceedings  thereof  and
   consideration  with the evidence, already taken, of any evidence taken
   in  any  judicial  proceedings  which  may  be  relevant  to any issue
   determinable  at  such  inquest,  and the recording of a fresh verdict
   upon the proceedings as a whole;

   (c)  quash the verdict in any inquest substituting therefor some other
   verdict which appears to be lawful and in accordance with the evidence
   recorded or included as hereinbefore in this section provided; or

   (d)  quash  any  inquest, with or without ordering a new inquest to be
   held."

   2.  Treaty  between  the  USSR  and  the  Republic  of Cyprus on Legal
   Assistance  in  civil,  family  and criminal law matters of 19 January
   1984

   The  above  Treaty  was incorporated into Cyprus Law by Law no. 172/86
   and provides, in so far as relevant, as follows:

                                 "Article 2

                              Legal Assistance

   1.  The  judicial authorities of the Contracting Parties shall provide
   each  other  with  legal  assistance  in civil and criminal matters in
   accordance with the provisions of this Treaty.

   ...

                                 Article 3

                         Extent of Legal Assistance

   Legal  assistance  in civil and criminal matters shall include service
   and  sending  of  documents, supply of information on the law in force
   and  the judicial practice and performance of specific procedural acts
   provided  by  the  law  of  the  requested  Contracting  Party  and in
   particular  the  taking  of  evidence from litigants, accused persons,
   defendants,   witnesses   and  experts  as  well  as  recognition  and
   enforcement  of  judgments  in  civil matters, institution of criminal
   prosecutions and extradition of offenders.

   ...

                                 Article 5

                        Request for Legal Assistance

   1.  A  request  for  legal  assistance  shall  be in writing and shall
   contain the following:-

   (1) The designation of the requesting authority.

   (2) The designation of the requested authority.

   (3)  The  specification  of  the  case  in  relation  to  which  legal
   assistance is requested and the content of the request.

   (4)  Names  and  surnames  of the persons to whom the request relates,
   their citizenship, occupation and permanent or temporary residence.

   ...

   (6)  If  necessary,  the facts to be elucidated as well as the list of
   the required documents and any other evidence,

   (7)  In criminal matters, in addition to the above, particulars of the
   offence and its legal definition.

                                 Article 6

               Execution of the Request for Legal Assistance

   1.  The  requested  authority  shall  provide  legal assistance in the
   manner  provided  by  the  procedural laws and rules of its own State.
   However,  it  may execute the request in a manner specified therein if
   not in conflict wit the law of its own State.

   2.  If the requested authority is not competent to execute the request
   for  legal  assistance  it  shall forward the request to the competent
   authority and shall advise the requesting authority accordingly.

   3. The requested authority shall, upon request, in due time notify the
   requesting  authority  of  the  place and time of the execution of the
   request.

   4.  The  requested  authority shall notify the requesting authority in
   writing  of  the  execution  of  the request. If the request cannot be
   executed the requested authority shall forthwith notify in writing the
   requesting  authority giving the reasons for failure to execute it and
   shall return the documents.

   ....

                                 Article 18

                           Free Legal Assistance

   Citizens  of  one Contracting Party shall be exempted in the territory
   of  the  other  Contracting  Party  from payment of fees and costs and
   shall  be afforded facilities and free legal assistance under the same
   conditions and to the same extent as citizens of the other Contracting
   Party.

                                 Article 20

   A  citizen  of  either  Contracting Party who wishes to be granted the
   free  legal  assistance  envisaged in Article 18 may submit a relevant
   application to the competent authority of the Contracting Party in the
   territory  of  which he has his permanent or temporary residence. This
   authority  shall  transmit the application together with the documents
   issued  under  Article  19  to  the  competent  authority of the other
   Contracting Party."

   Chapter  VI  of  the  Treaty  contains  special provisions on Criminal
   Matters   concerning,  in  particular,  the  institution  of  criminal
   proceedings. It provides, in so far as relevant, as follows:

   "Article 35

   Obligation to institute criminal proceedings

   1. Each Contracting Party shall institute, at the request of the other
   Contracting Party, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of
   its  own  law,  criminal  proceedings against its own citizens who are
   alleged  to  have  committed  an offence in the territory of the other
   Contracting Party.

   ....

   Article 36

   Request for Institution of Criminal Proceedings

   1.  A request for institution of criminal proceedings shall be made in
   writing and contain the following:-

   (1) The designation of the requesting authority.

   (2) The description of the acts constituting the offence in connection
   with which the institution of criminal proceedings is requested.

   (3) The time and place of the committed act as precisely as possible.

   (4)  The  text  of  the  law of the requesting Contracting Party under
   which the act is defined as an offence.

   (5)  The  name  and  surname  of  the  suspected  person,  particulars
   regarding  his citizenship, permanent or temporary residence and other
   information concerning him as well as, if possible, the description of
   the person's appearance, his photograph and fingerprints.

   (6)  Complaints,  if  any,  by  the  victim  of  the  criminal offence
   including any claim for damages.

   (7)  Available  information  on  the  extent  of  the  material damage
   resulting from the offence.

   3.  The  Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in
   Human Beings (extracts)

   Preamble

   "...

   Considering  that  trafficking in human beings constitutes a violation
   of human rights and an offence to the dignity and the integrity of the
   human being;

   Considering that trafficking in human beings may result in slavery for
   victims;

   Considering  that  respect  for victims' rights, protection of victims
   and action to combat trafficking in human beings must be the paramount
   objectives;

   Considering  that  all  actions  or initiatives against trafficking in
   human  beings  must  be  non-discriminatory, take gender equality into
   account as well as a child-rights approach;

   ...

   Bearing  in  mind  the  following  recommendations of the Committee of
   Ministers  to  member  states of the Council of Europe: Recommendation
   No. R (91) 11 on sexual exploitation, pornography and prostitution of,
   and  trafficking in, children and young adults... Recommendation No. R
   (2000) 11  on  action  against  trafficking  in  human  beings for the
   purpose  of sexual exploitation ... Recommendation Rec (2002) 5 on the
   protection of women against violence;

   Bearing  in  mind  the  following recommendations of the Parliamentary
   Assembly  of  the  Council  of  Europe:  Recommendation 1325 (1997) on
   traffic  in  women and forced prostitution in Council of Europe member
   states;  Recommendation  1450  (2000)  on  violence  against  women in
   Europe;  Recommendation  1545 (2002) on a campaign against trafficking
   in  women;  Recommendation  1610  (2003)  on  migration connected with
   trafficking in women and prostitution;...

   ..."

   Article 1 - Purposes of the Convention

   "1.  The purposes of this Convention are:

   (a)  to   prevent  and  combat  trafficking  in  human  beings,  while
   guaranteeing gender equality;

   (b)  to protect the human rights of the victims of trafficking, design
   a comprehensive framework for the protection and assistance of victims
   and  witnesses,  while  guaranteeing  gender  equality,  as well as to
   ensure effective investigation and prosecution;

   ..."

                          Article 4 - Definitions

   "For the purposes of this Convention:

   (a)  'Trafficking   in   human  beings  shall  mean  the  recruitment,
   transportation,  transfer,  harbouring or receipt of persons, by means
   of  the  threat  or  use  of  force  or  other  forms  of coercion, of
   abduction,  of  fraud,  of  deception,  of  the abuse of power or of a
   position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or
   benefits  to  achieve  the  consent  of  a  person having control over
   another  person,  for  the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall
   include,  at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others
   or  other  forms  of  sexual  exploitation, forced labour or services,
   slavery  or  practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of
   organs;

   (b)  The  consent  of a victim of 'trafficking in human beings' to the
   intended  exploitation  set forth in sub-paragraph (a) of this Article
   shall  be irrelevant where any of the means set forth in sub-paragraph
   (a) have been used;

   ...

   (e)  'Victim'  shall  mean  any  natural  person  who  is  subject  to
   trafficking in human beings as defined in this Article."

   ...

                 Article 10 - Identification of the victims

   1   Each  Party  shall  provide its competent authorities with persons
   who  are trained and qualified in preventing and combating trafficking
   in  human  beings,  in  identifying  and  helping  victims,  including
   children,  and shall ensure that the different authorities collaborate
   with  each  other  as  well as with relevant support organisations, so
   that victims can be identified in a procedure duly taking into account
   the  special  situation of women and child victims and, in appropriate
   cases, issued with residence permits under the conditions provided for
   in Article 14 of the present Convention.

   2   Each  Party  shall adopt such legislative or other measures as may
   be  necessary to identify victims as appropriate in collaboration with
   other  Parties  and  relevant  support organisations. Each Party shall
   ensure  that,  if the competent authorities have reasonable grounds to
   believe  that a person has been victim of trafficking in human beings,
   that  person  shall  not  be  removed  from  its  territory  until the
   identification process as victim of an offence provided for in Article
   18  of this Convention has been completed by the competent authorities
   and  shall  likewise  ensure  that that person receives the assistance
   provided for in Article 12, paragraphs 1 and 2.

   ...

                     Article 12 - Assistance to victims

   1   Each  Party  shall adopt such legislative or other measures as may
   be  necessary  to  assist victims in their physical, psychological and
   social recovery....

   2   Each  Party  shall  take  due  account  of the victim's safety and
   protection needs.

   ...

        Article 18 - Criminalisation of trafficking in human beings

   Each  Party  shall adopt such legislative and other measures as may be
   necessary  to  establish as criminal offences the conduct contained in
   article 4 of this Convention, when committed intentionally.

   ..."

   The  Convention  was  signed by the Republic of Cyprus on 16 May 2005,
   was  ratified  on 24 October 2007 and entered into force on 1 February
   2008.

   4.  Report  by  the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights on
   his  visit to Cyprus in June 2003 to the attention of the Committee of
   Ministers and of the Parliamentary Assembly (CommDH (2004)2) [extracts
   concerning trafficking in human beings]

   "29.  It  is  not at all difficult to understand how Cyprus, given its
   remarkable  economic  and  tourist development, has come to be a major
   destination  for this traffic in the Eastern Mediterranean region. The
   absence  of  an immigration policy and the legislative shortcomings in
   that respect have merely encouraged the phenomenon.

   30.  The authorities have responded at the normative level. The Act of
   2000  (number 3(I),  2000)  has  established  a suitable framework for
   suppression  of trafficking in human beings and sexual exploitation of
   children.  Under  the  Act,  any action identifiable as trafficking in
   human  beings  in  the  light of the Convention for the Suppression of
   Trafficking  in  Persons  and  of the Exploitation and Prostitution of
   Others, together with other acts of a similar nature specified by law,
   are an offence punishable by 10 years' imprisonment, the penalty being
   increased  to  15 years where the victim is under 18 years of age. The
   offence  of  sexual exploitation carries a 15 year prison sentence. If
   committed  by  persons  in  the victim's entourage or persons wielding
   authority  or  influence  over  the victim, the penalty is 20 years in
   prison.  According  to  the provision of Article 4, using children for
   the  production  and  sale  of  pornographic  material  is an offence.
   Article  7  grants  State aid, within reasonable limits, to victims of
   exploitation;  such  aid  comprises  subsistence  allowance, temporary
   accommodation,   medical  care  and  psychiatric  support.  Article  8
   reaffirms  the right to redress by stressing the power of the court to
   award  punitive damages justified by the degree of exploitation or the
   degree  of  the accused person's constraint over the victim. A foreign
   worker  lawfully present in Cyprus who is a victim of exploitation can
   approach  the authorities to find other employment up until the expiry
   of  the  initial  work  permit  (Article  9).  Lastly,  the Council of
   Ministers,  under Article 10, appoints a guardian for victims with the
   principal   duties   of  counselling  and  assisting  them,  examining
   complaints  of  exploitation,  and  having the culprits prosecuted, as
   well  as for pinpointing any deficiency or loophole in the law and for
   making recommendations with a view to their removal.

   31.  At  a practical level, the Government has made efforts to protect
   women  who have laid a complaint against their employers by permitting
   them to remain in the country in order to substantiate the charges. In
   certain cases, the women have remained in Cyprus at government expense
   during the investigation.

   32.  However,  apart  from  punitive  procedures,  preventive  control
   measures  could  be introduced. By the authorities' own admission, the
   number  of  young  women  migrating to Cyprus as nightclub artistes is
   well out of proportion to the population of the island."

   5.  Follow-up  report  by  the  Commissioner  for  Human Rights on the
   progress  made  in  implementing his recommendations (CommDH (2006)12)
   [extracts concerning trafficking in human beings]

   "48.  The  Commissioner  noted  in  his 2003 report that the number of
   young  women migrating to Cyprus as nightclub artistes was well out of
   proportion  to  the population of the island, and that the authorities
   should  consider  introducing preventive control measures to deal with
   this  phenomenon,  in  conjunction  with  legislative  safeguards.  In
   particular,  the  Commissioner  recommended that the authorities adopt
   and implement a plan of action against trafficking in human beings."

   COMPLAINTS

   The  applicant  complains  under  Articles  2,  3,  4,  5 and 8 of the
   Convention  about  the  lack  of  sufficient  investigation  into  the
   circumstances  of  the  death  of his daughter, the lack of sufficient
   protection  of  his daughter by the Cypriot police while she was still
   alive and the lack of measures taken to punish persons responsible for
   exposing  his  daughter  to  the  danger  of  sexual  exploitation and
   ill-treatment  which  led  to  her  death.  He further complains under
   Article 6 of the Convention of lack of access to a court in Cyprus.

                          QUESTIONS TO THE PARTIES

   A.  Questions to the Cypriot Government

   1.  Has the applicant's daughter's right to life, ensured by Article 2
   of the Convention, been violated in the present case?

   Your Government are requested to address, in particular, the extent to
   which  the  decision taken by the police officers on 28 March 2001 not
   to  release  the  applicant's  daughter  but  to  hand  her over to Mr
   Athanasiou  was compatible with their obligations to protect her right
   to life.

   Moreover,  having  regard to the procedural protection of the right to
   life  (see  paragraph  104  of  Salman  v.  Turkey [GC], no. 21986/93,
   ECHR 2000-VII),  was  the  investigation  in  the  present case by the
   domestic authorities in breach of Article 2 of the Convention?

   2.  Was  the  applicant's  daughter  subjected to inhuman or degrading
   treatment  prior  to  her  death,  by the authorities or other private
   individuals, in breach of Article 3 of the Convention?

   Having  regard  to the procedural protection from inhuman or degrading
   treatment  (see  paragraph  131 of Labita v. Italy [GC], no. 26772/95,
   ECHR 2000-IV),  was  the  investigation  in  the  present  case by the
   domestic authorities in breach of Article 3 of the Convention?

   3.  In  all  the circumstances of the case, has there been a violation
   of  Article 4 of the Convention (see Siliadin v. France, no. 73316/01,
   ECHR 2005-VII)?

   In particular, your Government are requested to explain in detail what
   measures  were  taken  by  the  authorities  to  ascertain whether the
   applicant's  daughter had been a victim of trafficking in human beings
   and/or had been subjected to sexual or any other kind of exploitation.

   Moreover,  your  Government are requested to address in particular the
   fact that the police officers were aware that the applicant's daughter
   had sought to escape from the control of Mr Athanasiou, and the extent
   to  which  they  sought to ascertain the risks involved in handing her
   back to this person.

   4.  Was  the  applicant's  daughter's  treatment at the police-station
   consistent  with Article 5 S: 1 of the Convention? Your Government are
   requested  to  address  in particular the authorities' decision not to
   release her but to hand her over to Mr Athanasiou.

   5.  Was  the  applicant's  right  to  effective  access  to  a  court,
   guaranteed  by  Article  6  of  the Convention, ensured in the present
   case?  In particular, your Government are requested to clarify whether
   any  decision  was  taken  on the applicant's request for legal aid to
   participate in the proceedings and what steps were taken to ensure the
   applicant's  proper  notification  about  any  ongoing proceedings and
   other legal remedies that he could resort to.

   B.  Questions to the Russian Government

   1.  What is the extent of Russia's positive obligations under Articles
   1,  2 and 4 of the Convention in respect of the investigation into the
   death of the applicant's daughter and the circumstances of her arrival
   in Cyprus and the nature of employment there?

   2.  Your Government are requested to clarify the nature of the request
   made  to  the  Cypriot  authorities.  Moreover,  they are requested to
   confirm the following:

   (i)  whether   it  was  a  request  for  the  initiation  of  criminal
   proceedings  in Cyprus, a request enabling them to collect evidence to
   initiate  criminal proceedings in Russia or whether it was made with a
   view to protect the interests of a Russian national;

   (ii)  whether  any  parallel  and  independent  investigation into the
   relevant events took place in Russia;

   (iii)  whether  any evidence was collected which added to the material
   forwarded to your Government by the Cypriot authorities;

   (iv)  whether  any  steps  were  taken to obtain the testimonies of Ms
   Olga Osincesava and Ms Yianna Bibalceva (see the attached statement of
   facts) in accordance with the applicant's request to that effect.

   3.  Having  regard  to  the procedural protection of the right to life
   (see  paragraph  104  of  Salman  v.  Turkey  [GC], no. 21986/93, ECHR
   2000-VII), was an investigation into the circumstances of the death of
   the  applicant's daughter conducted by the Russian authorities and, if
   so, was it in breach of Article 2 of the Convention?

   4.  In  all  the circumstances of the case, has there been a violation
   of  Article 4 of the Convention (see Siliadin v. France, no. 73316/01,
   ECHR 2005-VII)?  In  particular,  your  Government  are  requested  to
   explain  whether  any  steps were taken to ensure that the applicant's
   daughter  had  not  been  a  victim  of trafficking in human beings or
   subjected  to  any  sexual  or other form of exploitation prior to her
   departure for Cyprus.

   15 RANTSEV v. CYPRUS AND RUSSIA - STATEMENT OF FACTS AND QUESTIONS

   RANTSEV v. CYPRUS AND RUSSIA - STATEMENT OF FACTS AND QUESTIONS 15


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