2009/01/13 "Keep Strictly to Criminal Procedure Code"
  • Press Release No. 04/1147
  • 13/01/2009

Today, January 13, the Solnechnogorsk Garrison Military Court considered the appeal against the actions of an investigator from the Investigation Department of the Solnechnogorsk Garrison filed by the Mother's Right Foundation on behalf of Valentina Ivanovna Kanutkina (the Tambov Region). Her son, Yevgeny Kanutkin (b. 1986), was called up in Summer 2007 and in November, after the training camp, joined the Educational Centre of the RF Military Academy located in the Moscow Region. He died on May 16, 2008. The mother was told that her son had died on the training ground - a shell had exploded in his hands. On September 25, 2008, the investigator of the Solnechnogorsk Garrison, Gennady Viktorovich Semiletov, denied the mother's claim of victim status. The Mother's Right Foundation appealed against his resolution.

The interests of the mother of the deceased were protected by the Mother's Right Foundation lawyer, Christina Shipilina. She gave an account of the Foundation's position: the investigator's resolution denying the mother's claim was not legal. According to the resolution, the mother of the deceased can be recognized as a victim only after the guilty persons are found out. According to section 1, article 49, of the RF Constitution; section 2, article 6, of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; article 14 of the RF Criminal Procedure Code, everyone charged with a criminal offence should be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law. According to the investigator's opinion, the mother's victim status will be recognized only after the defendants' sentences will have come into force. Article 42 of the RF Criminal Procedure Code (being informed promptly, giving testimony, applications, adducing evidence, etc.) won't be valid because before the court will recognize Kanutkina as a victim, the defendants' sentence will have been already passed, consequently her testimony, applications, and etc. will be of no importance.

Denying the mother of the deceased a victim status, the investigator ignores the RF Criminal Procedure Code which provides a victim's participation, and rights, and obligations in the preliminary investigation. When they did not recognize Kanutkina's victim status, she was denied ‘effective' defense which could have helped to find out the real circumstances of her son's death.

According to article 13 of the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, relatives should have access to the investigation proceedings. The Mother's Right Foundation lawyer demanded that Semiletov's denial should be considered illegal and that he should recognize the mother's victim status.

The court session was attended by the investigator of the Solnechnogorsk Garrison, V.G. Semiletov, whose resolution was appealed, and the Deputy Public Prosecutor of the Solnechnogorsk Garrison, V.V. Yevseyev. They both deviated from the subject saying that Kanutkin had only himself to blame and that his mother's victim status should not be recognized. The Mother's Right Foundation lawyer reasonably declared that they should stick to the point - the mother's rights and not her son's death. If they had reasons to file Yevgeny's death case (whether they had found out those guilty or not), the mother should be recognized as a victim.

After a long discussion, judge Emil Tagirovich Serazitdinov announced the decision satisfying all the claims mentioned in the letter of complaint by the Mother's Right Foundation.

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