Lakatos and Others v. Russia: State admits violations of European Convention

Authorities from the Russian Federation have admitted to violating terms by detaining, arresting, and mistreating aliens after the ADC Memorial filed against them last year. Russia admitted violations of Articles 3, 5.1, 5.4 and 13 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECPHRFF) and offered to make an amicable agreement and to pay just compensation.

The applicants of the complaint “Lakatos and Others v. Russia” are Magyar Roma people, Anna Lakatos, Pavel Gabor and Aladar Forkos who arrived in Russia from Ukraine and do not have any identification documents. In September 2009 they were arrested and found guilty of violating the migration regime of the Russian Federation. The court fined them 2,000 roubles and decided to expel them from the territory of Russia. They were placed into the Detention centre for foreigners of St Petersburg and the Leningradskaya region. They were detained there in inhuman conditions for over one year. The arrestees were deprived of effective remedy.

The workers of the ADC Memorial tried to defend the rights of the applicants in Russia, filing appeals to courts and the city prosecutor’s office. After all domestic remedies were exhausted, on May 26, 2010 the ADC Memorial lawyers, Olga Tseitlina and Andrei Petrov, filed a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights on inhuman treatment and failure to take the necessary measures to expel the arrestees from Russia which caused long detention in the Detention centre for foreigners. Violation of the right to check the legal grounds for detention and lack of remedy (violations of Articles 3, 5.1, 5.4 and 13 of the ECPHRFF) were also appealed.

On September 2, 2010 the complaint was declared admissible by the European Court of Human Rights. The Court reported to the Russian authorities about the complaint and offered to give explanations and answer some questions.

In the beginning of 2011, a memorandum relating to the complaint, in which Russia admits to the described violations was received. The Russian authorities admitted that the detention conditions in the Detention Centre for foreigners do not meet with requirements of Article 3 of the European Convention. The authorities also admitted that “the preparing of expulsion was not conducted with proper diligence” and that there were no proceedings to check the legal grounds for detention.

It should be noted that in many similar cases states-respondents do not admit even to violations confirmed by several court verdicts (for instance, conditions of custody in pre-trial prisons of St Petersburg and Moscow, procedures of appeal from places of detention and other examples).

Russia offered to come to an amicable agreement and to pay just compensation.

Recognition of violations in the case Lakatos and Others v. Russia is an example of an effective international remedy and should facilitate reversal of Russia’s tendencies to violate statements of the European Convention.