ECtHR Rules Against Moldova and Russia in Six Human Rights Cases From the Transnistrian Region

The European Court of Human Rights announced its decision regarding six cases against Moldova and the Russian Federation, concerning human rights violations in the Transnistrian region. The Court has ordered the two countries to pay a total of 130,550 euros in damages and fees. 

On September 3, 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) published its decision on six cases concerning human rights violations in the Transnistrian region. All six cases were submitted to the ECtHR against the governments of Moldova and Russia and were represented by the Moldovan NGO Promo Lex.

In the six cases, the Court established violations of multiple articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECtHR) including:

  • Article 3: inhumane and degrading conditions of detention
  • Article 5: the right to freedom and security
  • Article 6: the right to a fair trial 
  • Article 13: the right to an effective remedy.

In addition, the ECtHR established that Article 2 of Protocol No. 4 – the article on freedom of movement – was also violated.  

The Court ordered Russia and Moldova to pay 121,550 euros for moral damages, and an additional 9,000 euros to cover representations costs and expenses – 130,550 euros, all total. 

ZDG sums up the history of the six aforementioned cases: Beșleaga and Bevziuc (Application No. 29182/14), Ursu (Application No. 25197/11), Boltenco (Application No. 28972/13), Samatov (Application No. 8064/11), Petiș and others (Application No. 6151/12) and Dobrovițcaia (Application No. 41660/10). 

Beșleaga and Bevziuc (Application No. 29182/14)

Vitalii Beșleaga and Serghei Bevziuc are citizens of Moldova and the co-founders of the mineral water production and sale company Varnița Unicum. 

Their cases came to the public’s attention on November 15, 2013, after Vitalii Beșleaga and Serghei Bevziuc were abducted by employees of the so-called Transnistrian Investigation Committee and subjected to physical violence. 

Beșleaga and Bevziuc were accused of offering a sum of money to the secessionist administration officials to unblock the activity of their enterprise on the territory of the Transnistrian region. 

Both victims were then placed in pretrial detention for ten days and were held in inhumane conditions in isolation cells at Tiraspol Prison No.3. They were later moved to various detention institutions where they were imprisoned in inhumane conditions without proper health care.

According to Promo Lex, Vitalii Beșleaga was elected as a councilor in the Varnița village local council in 2011. In April 2013, he was actively involved in the liquidation of the customs posts illegally installed by the separatist administration on the territory of the village. 

On November 4, 2014, the so-called Tiraspol Supreme Court ordered the release of the businessmen. However, immediately after being released from the Hlinaia village penitentiary, two armed men arrived at the penitentiary in cars without registration numbers, kidnapped Beșleaga and Bevziuc, and transported them – blindfolded – to an unknown location. 

Vitalii Beșleaga and Serghei Bevziuc were released on December 1, 2014. 

Ursu (Application No. 25197/11)

Alexandru Ursu is a former police lieutenant and the former district operations officer of the Hagimus police station (part of the Căușeni District Police Station). Tiraspol militiamen kidnapped him on July 21, 2009, and accused him of forging documents and executing scams involving the purchase of a real estate on the left bank of the Nistru River.

He was imprisoned between July 2009 and November 2012, in the Hlinaia village prison in the Transnistrian region. 

Boltenco (Application No. 28972/13)

In the case of Serghei Boltenco, the so-called Transnistrian authorities detained and accused the plaintiff of “work theft” in 2005.

As a result of the conditions in which he was detained, but also the lack of medical care, the state of his health got progressively worse. The complainant then suffered a heart attack, which was not properly treated. 

He was detained for eight years and released in December 2014.

Samatov (Application No. 8064/11)

In 2005, Ivan Samatov was forced into the “army” of the Transnistrian region. He was subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment and forced to perform various tasks in favor of the officers. Ivan left the military unit due to the continuous mistreatment. As a result, he was detained by the militia and returned to the same military unit, where the ill-treatment continued. 

The so-called Transnistrian authorities sentenced the plaintiff to five years detention for “desertion.”

Petiș and others (Application No. 6151/12)

In the case of Petiș and others, the plaintiffs, Mihail Petis, Maxim Ciumacenco, Mihail Doaga, and Igor Gherghelejiu were arrested all by the Transnistrian militia and placed in detention from August 27 to 31, 2009. 

The Bender City Court (part of the judicial authorities in the self-proclaimed Transnistrian region) then convicted the plaintiffs in a court ruling on May 27, 2011, sentencing them to real prison time.  

The plaintiffs were accused of committing multiple offenses, including rape of a minor, motor vehicle theft without appropriation, involving minors in criminal activity, deliberate goods destruction, and other illegal activities.   

Although Moldova’s Supreme Court of Justice declared the sentence handed down by the Bender City Court illegal and unconstitutional, the plaintiffs were still given sentences that ranged from seven to twenty years in prison. 

Dobrovițcaia (Application No. 41660/10)

In June 2010, the Bender militia in the Transnistrian region kidnapped Elena Dobrovițcaia and held her as a hostage after her mother, Zinaida Ciuhnenco, failed to appear before an investigator.

According to Zinaida Ciuhnenco, all of this happened after she hit a Bender militia car while driving in March 2009. Zinaida said that since then she has been detained three times for 72 hours in the Bender jail, where she lost consciousness several times due to the inhumane conditions of detention.  

In June 2010, Zinaida Ciuhnenco made her daughter’s case public with the help of the  Moldovan NGO Promo-LEX. The so-called Transnistrian authorities released Zinaida’s daughter several days later.

Comunicat de Presă, 

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