To the Russian authorities
On the Matter of Acknowledging and Preventing Torture and Establishing the Rule of Law
* Acknowledge that torture in pretrial detention is a problem of serious dimensions and create a committee to investigate such torture. Acknowledge the scale of police torture, initiate broad public and internal debate involving the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Procuracy General, the State Duma, the presidency, the ombudsman and relevant nongovernmental organizations about causes of and solutions for the problem. A committee should be created, involving the above-mentioned actors, to draw up plan of action to end torture practices. This plan should form the basis for a public and comprehensive government program aimed at combating torture and ill-treatment;
* Work in good faith. Police detectives, police and procuracy investigators, procurators, and judges should work in good faith, placing their responsibilities before the law over their institutional interests. Thus, investigators should conduct criminal investigations fully and objectively; procurators should vet investigations for objectivity, comprehensiveness and lawfulness; procurators should investigate torture complaints fully and objectively; and courts should consider evidence in criminal cases fully and objectively;
* Produce a bill of rights. The government or Ministry of Internal Affairs should produce a bill of rights for defendants, including the right not to testify against oneself, the right to a lawyer, the right not to be tortured or ill-treated, the right to be informed of the reasons for one's arrest, the right to know the location to which one is being taken, the right to know the identity of any law enforcement officials with whom one deals, and the like, and should instruct police officers to give copies of the bill of rights to any person they detain or call in for informal questioning. This bill should further be hung in a visible place in any cell or investigation room;
* End misleading detentions. The Ministry of Internal Affairs should issue instructions calling on all police officers to strictly observe due process when detaining persons. "Voluntary" visits to the police office for informal questioning should be truly voluntary and should take place only duringworking hours. Police should not mislead individuals or their relatives about the nature and purpose of such questioning. In case of detention or arrest under articles 89, 90 or 122 of the criminal procedure code, police should present an arrest or detention warrant at the earliest possible time. Police should always identify themselves and inform those in custody of their rights. Police should always allow detainees to call a lawyer immediately. At the request of the detained person, police should promptly provide his family with information regarding the whereabouts of their relative and any request made for a lawyer. Police should never use administrative detention as a means of detaining individuals when there are not sufficient grounds for holding them as criminal suspects. The Ministry of Internal Affairs should meticulously investigate any credible complaints about violation of these rules and apply strict disciplinary measures against offending officers;
* Transparency for interrogation staff. To enable detainees to identify an alleged abuser, all interrogators, as well as medical and other staff coming into contact with detainees under interrogation, should wear badges bearing their name and/or identification number;
* Instruct medical personnel. The Ministry of Justice should adopt legislation requiring medical personnel in detention facilities to pay close attention to injuries on detainees or other signals of mistreatment that may be due to abuse by a public servant, to examine and document such injuries or signs in the greatest possible detail, and to promptly report such cases to the proper authorities;
* Criminalize torture properly. The legislature should introduce, as recommended by the U.N. Committee against Torture, a separate crime of torture in the Russian criminal code, using the definition of torture as contained in article 1 of the Convention against Torture. Russia should further adopt amendments to its criminal code to ensure that article 117 criminalizes the causing of physical or psychological suffering by non-violent means. It should also amend article 302 of the criminal code to explicitly include torture by persons other than officials when performed at the instigation, or with the acquiescence, of officials;
* Prompt judicial review of detention. To protect against arbitrary detention, detainees should be brought before a judge or judicial authority within forty-eight hours (the procuracy cannot be considered judicial authority). Thejudge should assess the lawfulness and necessity of the detention, as well as the treatment received by the detainee, and authorize any continuation of detention;
* Lawyers at police stations. Lawyers' collegia and the Ministry of Internal Affairs should take steps to ensure that an independent duty lawyer is present at all police stations during working hours. Police officials should be instructed to introduce any person who is brought to the police station (voluntarily or following a detention or arrest) to the duty lawyer. At the request of the individual, the lawyer should be allowed to be present during (informal) questioning;
* Establish a training program. Establish a training program for law enforcement agents on international and domestic human rights standards; law enforcement agents should be held accountable for deviations from these standards. This program should pay special attention to, inter alia, the problems of torture and ill-treatment, unlawful detentions, and proper professional conduct. It should convey a clear explanation to all police and procuracy officers of what acts constitute torture;
* The ombudsman. The ombudsman should continue to actively monitor the problem of torture and carefully investigate all complaints received. He should exercise his right, granted in the law on the ombudsman, to make suggestions and recommendations to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Procuracy General, the State Duma, and the Russian government to end widespread torture practices in Russia. He should call on the State Duma to appoint a special parliamentary commission to investigate the problem of torture and to schedule parliamentary hearings on the issue aimed at developing a set of concrete measures for ending torture practices and preventing them in the future. And he should intervene in the case of Sergei Mikhailov and demand immediate transfer of his case to the Supreme Court for review of his death sentence;
* Invite international experts to investigate torture and the fairness of criminal proceedings. The government should invite U.N. Special Rapporteur Nigel Rodley to return to Russia and request the OSCE's Advisory Panel of Experts on the Prevention of Torture to scrutinize the findings in Human Rights Watch's report and to advise the government and its institutions on how to implement them;
* Submit third periodic report to the United Nations Committee against Torture. The government should submit its third periodic report on the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Torture, which was due in 1996, as a matter of priority;
* Publicize findings of international bodies. Make public the findings of the November 1998 visit to Russia by the Committee for the Prevention of Torture of the Council of Europe as well as the findings of forthcoming visits by this body; and
* Withdraw reservations to the European Convention on Human Rights. Reservations to article 5(3 and 4), the right to be brought promptly before a judge upon detention, and the right to speedy proceedings to determine the lawfulness of his detention should be withdraws as a matter of priority.
On the Matter of Reforming the Criminal Justice System
* New criminal procedure code. The legislature should adopt a new criminal procedure code that is fully consistent with principles enshrined in the Russian constitution and United Nations standards (including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, the Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors, and the Basic Principles on the Independence of the Judiciary); in particular, a new code should create mechanisms to realize the equality of arms (between the prosecution and the defense) and the presumption of innocence. The law should further regulate the use and length of detention in a manner that is consistent with Russia's obligations under the ICCPR and other United Nations standards;
* Reform the procuracy. In accordance with requirements for Russia's admission to the Council of Europe, the legislature should reform the procuracy to ensure that policing and judicial tasks are performed by separate bodies that are fully independent of each other;
* Introduce public control. The government should introduce legislation and develop mechanisms to permit independent bodies and nongovernmental organizations to monitor police and detention facilities, including interrogation rooms. They should be authorized to conduct unannounced visits. Legislation should strengthen the independence of medical examinersand other authorities in a position to evaluate human rights practices in police and prison facilities, so that they may work independently from prosecutors and police;
* Improve access to forensic experts. The legislature should amend the current criminal procedure code and the draft criminal procedure code to allow suspects, defendants, and their lawyers direct access to forensic medical examinations without an investigator's or judge's authorization; and
* Appoint specialized forensic experts. State forensic medical centers should appoint specialists for cases of torture and ill-treatment from among forensic doctors at regional forensic medical centers. These specialists should confer regularly with international medical experts on torture and medical documentation of torture.
On the Matter of Accountability
* Procuracy inquiries into torture complaints should be a priority. Until the procuracy is reformed as recommended above, the procurator general should instruct procuracies throughout the country to process investigations of complaints about torture and ill-treatment as a matter of priority. As a rule, experienced procuracy officials should lead such investigations and should promptly begin criminal proceedings. Torture complaints should never be investigated by the team that is also in charge of investigating the underlying criminal case against the complainant. The complaint should also never be sent to the head of the agency against which the complaint is directed. Preferably, complaints should be investigated by the procuracy of a neighboring province, city, or district, or by a higher-level procuracy;
* Investigate complaints thoroughly. The procurator general should issue instructions containing a set of minimum requirements for informal inquiries regarding torture complaints. These instructions should oblige investigating officials to ask detailed, oral questions of the complainant, the alleged torturers, the complainant's lawyer, and any witness the complainant indicates. The contents of these interviews should be recorded in detail. Officials should demand all medical documents from the IVS, SIZOs, hospital emergency rooms, or other physicians. If the complainant has not been examined by a medical doctor, the official should order a forensic expert assessment. In conducting the investigation, officials should pay particularly close attention to the circumstances under which the individual was taken intocustody, the manner in which the detention was recorded in precinct logs, and whether there was an inappropriate use of administrative detention procedures. The Ministry of Internal Affairs should always either transfer from active duty officers who are under investigation for torture or suspend them, and fire them if convicted;
* Appoint special procurators for torture complaints. The Procuracy General should appoint specific officials at Russia's regional procuracies who would be responsible for overseeing the handling of torture complaints in the regions. These officials should keep statistics on torture and ill-treatment complaints. These officials should investigate practices at precincts that are the subject of multiple complaints to establish whether such complaints are well-founded, to determine the cause of persistent complaints, and to take corrective steps;
* The Ministry of Internal Affairs should gather statistics. The Ministry of Internal Affairs should submit an annual report to the head of state reflecting the number of reported cases of police brutality or torture in each of Russia's regions and the resulting disciplinary measures, criminal charges, and convictions. Regional internal affairs directorates should maintain such statistics;
* Track prosecution of abusive officials. The government should establish a system to track closely the progress and outcome of prosecutions against law enforcement officials in torture cases and the performance of procurators in such cases. In addition, the work of procurators in human rights cases should be part of their official job evaluations;
* Study judicial practice on torture complaints. The government should authorize an independent government body to review the work of judges as it relates to torture. This body should document credible cases in which judges accept evidence obtained through human rights violations or otherwise fail to ensure that due process rights have been observed in all aspects of the cases that come before them, regardless of whether the defendant launches a complaint. Appropriate administrative or criminal sanctions should be brought against judges who do not adequately pursue allegations of torture in the cases before them. This body should receive adequate funding from the state budget; and
* Take steps in Mikhailov case. The Procuracy General should immediately submit the case of Sergei Mikhailov to the Supreme Court to overturn his conviction. It should further bring to justice those officials who tortured Mikhailov, or instigated or tolerated his ill-treatment; investigators and supervising procurators involved also should be held responsible for this miscarriage of justice.
To the International Community
The United Nations
* The High Commissioner for Human Rights should continue to express deep concern to the Russian government about reports of widespread and systematic torture in police custody. She should press the Russian government to implement the recommendations submitted by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture in 1994, and by the Committee against Torture, which considered Russia's second periodic report in November 1996. She should also urge the government to adopt a public and comprehensive government program aimed at combating torture and ill-treatment, based on a thorough expert investigation of the problem;
* The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Sir Nigel Rodley, should conduct a second visit to Russia specifically to investigate police torture at police stations and IVSs, and to make recommendations on how to improve the situation; and
* Conduct outreach to Russian and international nongovernmental organizations involved in the treatment of, and advocacy for, victims of torture and ill-treatment in Russia and assist these organizations in applying for financial support through the U.N. Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
The Council of Europe
* The Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) should continue to monitor closely torture in Russia, including making at least yearly visits. During these trips, the CPT should carry out unannounced visits to police stations and IVSs, speak to victims, their relatives and lawyers, and to NGOs. The CPT should do everything in its power to encourage the Russian government to publish the Committee's findings;
* The Parliamentary Assembly should continue its monitoring procedure under Order No. 508 of April 25, 1996. Members of the Monitoring Committeeshould pay particular attention to torture and ill-treatment and the ineffectiveness of remedies against torture, problems which should constitute a significant part of its next report on Russia's compliance with its obligations to the Council of Europe. The Monitoring Committee and the Parliamentary Assembly should strongly encourage Russia to adopt a public and comprehensive government program aimed at combating torture and ill-treatment, based on a thorough expert investigation of the problem. If no visible progress toward solving the torture problem is made within a year of submission of the report, the Monitoring Committee should draft a motion requesting the Parliamentary Assembly to take punitive measures against Russia, which could include suspension of the credentials of the Russian delegation. The Monitoring Committee should furthermore vigorously pursue full implementation of all obligations under Opinion 193 and the withdrawal of all reservations made by Russia to the European Convention for Human Rights;
* The Legal Affairs Directorate should encourage the Russian government and parliament to adequately address the advice on the draft code of criminal procedure provided by experts appointed by the Council of Europe;
* The Council of Europe should offer all necessary technical and other assistance to the Russian government to implement a comprehensive program aimed at bringing an end to police torture and ill-treatment; and
* Law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges who are selected for training by the Council of Europe should be carefully vetted to ensure no past involvement in police brutality. Any training programs should have an extensive human rights dimension, including instruction on the prohibition of torture and the obligation to investigate. The Council of Europe should also examine whether the ideas put forth in training materials have been implemented.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
* The OSCE should continue and increase its focus on combating torture in line with its commitments;
* It should urge the Russian government to invite a mission of OSCE experts with the specific mandate of further investigating torture practices in police stations and detention centers and drafting a set of recommendations foraddressing them. The OSCE should stress to the Russian government that, in case of a refusal, OSCE member states are determined to invoke the emergency mechanism of paragraph 12 of the Moscow Document and dispatch a mission of rapporteurs to Russia;
* Law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges who are selected for training by the OSCE should be carefully vetted to ensure no past involvement in police brutality. Any training programs should have an extensive human rights dimension, including instruction on the prohibition of torture and the obligation to investigate. Any training program should be followed up to ensure implementation of training materials; and
* The OSCE should invite its Advisory Panel of Experts on the Prevention of Torture to scrutinize the findings in the present report and to advise the OSCE and its institutions on how to implement this report's recommendations.
The European Union
* The European Union should demand that the Russian government adopt an effective program to eliminate torture, make specific reference to the human rights provision of its Partnership and Cooperation Agreement;
* The European Parliament should adopt a resolution expressing its grave concern about torture in Russia. This resolution should call on the Russian government to introduce torture as a separate crime and to adopt a new criminal procedure code in line with international standards. The resolution should also call on the European Commission to monitor closely the problem of torture in Russia;
* The Council of Ministers should implement fully the relevant human rights provisions of its June 4, 1999 Common Strategy of the European Union on Russia. These include "providing support for and... encouraging the necessary institutional reforms toward a modern and effective administration within Russia's Executive, Legislature, and Judiciary at federal, regional, and local levels; in particular by developing the capacity of an independent judiciary, public administration and accountable law enforcement structures..." and "supporting Russian efforts to meet its international human rights commitments... giving assistance in safeguarding human rights...." The Council of Ministers is encouraged to report regularly and publicly on the successes of its efforts toward meeting these goals;
* Through the Technical Assistance to the CIS or any other program, the European Union should fulfill its commitment to supporting NGOs by allocating generous funds to those involved in researching torture, and treating, and advocating for victims of torture; and
* Law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges who are selected for training funded by the European Union should be carefully vetted to ensure no past involvement in police brutality. Any training program should have an extensive human rights dimension, including instruction on the prohibition of torture and the obligation to investigate. The European Union should also examine whether the ideas put forth in training materials have been implemented.
The U.S. Government
* The U.S. government should pay particular attention to documenting instances of torture in Russia in its Country Report on Human Rights Practices and raise concern about the problem at every possible opportunity in bilateral relations with Russian authorities;
* It should fully implement the Leahy amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act to ensure that no U.S. assistance benefits units of security forces that are responsible for gross violations of human rights, unless those responsible have been brought to justice. Implementation should include vetting of all Russian recipients of U.S. security assistance, providing technical assistance to Russian authorities to ensure that abusive police are brought to justice, and negotiating monitoring agreements with Russian government entities that receive assistance. The U.S. government should, as a matter of priority, actively seek information on abuses by law enforcement officials not only from the relevant government agencies, but also from Russia's central and regional media, human rights organizations, and other sources. It should condition any technical assistance programs in law enforcement on the provision of information by the Russian procuracy on criminal investigations against abusive law enforcement officials, and should consider offering financial or technical to in set up a centralized system to gather such information;
* It should conduct outreach to Russian and international nongovernmental organizations involved in the treatment of, and advocacy for, torture victimsin Russia. Such outreach should encourage NGOs to apply for funding under the Torture Victims Relief Act of 1998. The U.S. government should also continue to support appropriations to this important program as well as to the U.N. Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture;
* The U.S. Agency for International Development should allocate considerable funding to NGOs that have a serious commitment to torture research and advocacy; and
* Law enforcement officials, lawyers, and judges who are selected for training by the U.S. government should be carefully vetted to ensure no part in police brutality. Any training program should have an extensive human rights dimension, including instruction on the prohibition of torture and the obligation to investigate. The U.S. government should also examine whether the ideas put forth in training materials have been implemented.