On November 24 2017, the European Court of Human Rights communicated the application of Ingushetia resident Asya Gubasheva, filed on May 19 2017. Gubasheva’s complaint is about non-enforcement of a court decision giving her custody of her daughter (Article 8) and lack of legal protection (Article 13). The Russian bailiffs’ inaction has meant that Gubasheva has not seen her daughter for more than three years now. The ECHR recognized the mother and her four-year-old daughter as applicants.
In 2014, Gubasheva’s daughter visited her father, Gubasheva’s ex-husband, who then forbade Gubasheva to see her daughter again. The girl was two years old at the time. There was no further contact between the two. Gubasheva turned to the district court and on February 2 2015 the Sunzhensky district court decided that the child should be returned to her mother. The bailiffs have yet to enforce the decision and the girl is still with her relatives at the home of Gubasheva’s ex-husband, who himself does not live at this address and, according to relatives, has moved several times and is currently in Grozny.
The applicant filed a complaint with the court in Ingushetia in the autumn of 2016 for the bailiffs’ failure to enforce the decision. In its decision on this complaint the court stated that “the measures taken by the bailiffs are clearly insufficient to enforce the court decision” and ordered the girl’s return to her mother. This decision was also not enforced. After this, the applicant had no option but to turn to the European Court of Human Rights.
“Unfortunately, this is not the only such case. We are waiting now for ECHR decisions on the applications of Leila Muruzheva and Elita Magomadova, in which the circumstances are very similar to Asya Gubasheva’s case”, said Olga Gnezdilova, a lawyer with Justice Initiative. “It is not only in the North Caucasus that court decisions on custody of children and visiting rights are not enforced. We see no legal mechanisms whatsoever for influencing the bailiffs. The ECHR has also noted this situation. In Asya Gubasheva’s case we hope not just for an ECHR ruling but also, above all, for the swift implementation of the decision of the Sunzhensky district court in Ingushetia, which decided that the child should live with her mother”, she said.
Lawyers at Justice Initiative say that the ECHR will give priority examination to Gubasheva’s case.