Russian government responded to ECtHR’s questions on Mskhiladze’s case

On December 12, 2016 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has notified the authorities of the Russian Federation about the legal complaint “Mskhiladze v. Russia”, which had been filed to the court by ADC “Memorial” together with lawyer Olga Tseytlina. ECtHR invited Russia to submit its comments and to answer questions related to this case. In particular, questions were raised about Mskhiladze’s detention in the center for temporary detention of foreign nationals, his access to legal protection, the timely consideration of his appeal against the earlier ruling on his detention and extension of detention period. These questions were raised in connection with the requirements of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The complaint, which was communicated by the ECtHR in January 2017, deals with the indefinite period of detention of stateless persons in the centers for temporary detention of foreign nationals in Russia, because of the clearly impossible goal of further expulsion of these people from the country (as stateless persons cannot be expelled to any other country). N.G.Mskhiladze, a native of Georgia, has been held in a detention center for foreign nationals in St. Petersburg since March 2015.

In its official response to the questions of the ECtHR the Russian government has recognized that in this case there have been violations of the requirements of Article 5 Section 4 of the Convention because of the lengthy consideration of the appeal against the ruling of the Kirov district court dated December 15, 2015 and the ruling of the St. Petersburg city court dated January 26, 2016. However, when asked about the period of detention, the Russian government stated that de facto indefinite detention of Mskhiladze in the centre for detention of foreign nationals was appropriate and referred to the absence of Russian legal regulations which allow the court to release stateless persons. The conditions in the detention center where the applicant was held, according to the Russian government, are up to relevant provisions of the Convention, although Russian authorities have not introduced any improvements, which had been required by the ECtHR following the consideration of the case “Kim vs. Russia”.

Thus, out of the four violations alleged by the legal appeal to the ECtHR, Russia has recognized only one, concerning the duration of the review of Mskhiladze’s complaints by the court. The indefinite period of detention and the conditions in which the applicant had been held, have been claimed by the Russian government to be in line with the requirements of the Convention.