Application no. 30389/04
by Gennadiy STEPANOV
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 6 December 2007 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mrs E. Steiner,
Mr S.E. Jebens,
Mr G. Malinverni, judges,
and Mr A. Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 20 July 2004,
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Gennadiy Nikolaevich Stepanov, is a Russian national who was born in 1951 and lives in Barnaul in the Altay Region. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were initially represented by Mr P. Laptev, the former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights, and subsequently by their new Representative, Mrs V. Milinchuk.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 26 June 2002 the applicant was arrested and charged with criminal offences classified as “serious” in the domestic classification.
On 19 May 2003 the investigation was completed. On 22 May 2003 the applicant and his counsel were granted access to the case-file materials.
On 9 June 2003 the Altay Regional Court extended the applicant’s detention until 25 August 2003, that is for a total length of thirteen months and thirty days, on the ground that he needed additional time to study the case file.
On 9 June 2003 the Altay Regional Court determined that the case file was incomplete and ordered that the investigation carry out certain additional inquiries.
On 29 July 2003 the investigators amended the list of charges. Subsequently they interviewed the applicant with a view to supplementing the case-file.
On 14 August 2003 the applicant and his counsel were granted access to the case-file materials. On the same day the investigator submitted a new application for an extension of the applicant’s detention for the period necessary for studying the case-file.
Counsel for the applicant objected to the prosecutor’s request, claiming, in particular, that the prosecution had failed to grant access to the file materials thirty days before the expiry of the authorised detention period, as required by Article 109 § 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. In these circumstances, the applicant should have been released immediately after the expiry of the authorised period.
On 22 August 2003 the Altay Regional Court granted the prosecutor’s application. It held that the thirty-day time-limit had been respected, without giving reasons for that finding, and extended the applicant’s detention by two months, until 25 October 2003.
On 25 October 2003 the Altay Regional Court heard a new application by the prosecutor for an extension of the applicant’s detention. As the applicant and his counsel had only studied sixteen binders out of sixty-six, it ordered to extend the detention until 25 December 2003.
On 10 December 2003 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation dismissed the applicant’s appeal against the extension order of 25 October 2003.
On the same date the Altay Regional Court granted a further application for extension of the applicant’s detention until 25 February 2004, finding that the time already allowed for studying the case file was insufficient.
On 28 January 2004 the Supreme Court upheld the extension on appeal.
The applicant complained under Article 5 § 1 of the Convention that he has been unlawfully held in custody for more than twenty months whereas the domestic law limited the maximum period of detention to twelve months in case of “serious” offences. Furthermore, since access to the file materials was granted on 14 August 2003, that is less than thirty days before the expiry of the authorised detention period on 25 August 2003, this was an additional ground for finding his detention unlawful.
By letter of 23 February 2007, the Government’s observations were forwarded to the applicant who was requested to submit any observations together with any claims for just satisfaction in reply by 27 April 2007. No response was received from the applicant.
By letter of 11 June 2007 sent by registered mail, the applicant was advised that the period allowed for submission of his observations had expired and that no extension of time had been requested. His attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, which provides that the Court would strike a case out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the applicant does not intend to pursue the application. No response has been received.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicant may be considered as no longer wishing to pursue his application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to strike the case out of the Court’s list of cases.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
André Wampach Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President
GENNADIY STEPANOV v. RUSSIA DECISION
GENNADIY STEPANOV v. RUSSIA DECISION