Advocacy update

Domestic Court Reinforces Kyrgyzstan’s Obligation to Implement UN Human Rights Committee Decision

February 28, 2020
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A city court in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan upheld a 2019 district court’s ruling that enforced a decision of the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) pertaining to the death of Rakhmonderdi Enazarov, which occurred while Enazarov was in police custody in 2005.

On February 24, 2020, the city court concluded that Kyrgyzstan was legally obliged to implement the decision of the HRC in Ernazarov v. Kyrgyzstan in light of its participation in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), an international human rights treaty which Kyrgyzstan acceded to in 1994. It also ordered the Ministry of Finance to compensate the brother of the victim.

The Open Society Justice Initiative filed the original petition to the HRC, together with local counsel, arguing that Enazarov’s death in custody and the failed investigation violated human rights standards.

The HRC’s March 2015 decision concluded that Kyrgyzstan violated the ICCPR by failing to protect the victim’s right to life and protect him from ill-treatment while in detention. It also found that the government failed to conduct an effective investigation into his death. The HRC decision called for an impartial, effective and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the death, prosecution of those responsible, and full reparation, including appropriate compensation.

This is the second case where Kyrgyz courts have awarded compensation based on a HRC decision, even without a criminal conviction of the perpetrators. Domestic courts reached a similar decision in the case of Akmatov v. Kyrgyzstan that brought a complaint to the HRC pertaining to a man who was beaten to death by police, in which the Open Society Justice Initiative acted as co-counsel. However, while the ruling in Akmatov’s case was confirmed by the Kyrgyz Supreme Court in July 2019, the decision on Enazarov can still be appealed.

“It is heartening to see that the courts in Kyrgyzstan have reiterated government’s duty to implement UN Human Rights Committee decisions,” said Masha Lisitsyna, who leads anti-torture work at the Open Society Justice Initiative. “But there is still long way to go when it comes to providing appropriate compensation that reflects the gravity of victims’ suffering. The government of Kyrgyzstan must investigate and prosecute those responsible and take clear measures to stop future abuses.”

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