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Mamazhonov v. Russia, No. 17239/13, ECtHR (First Section), 23 October 2014


Judicial cooperation in criminal matters. Serious risk of torture or ill-treatment in case of extradition of the applicant to the Requesting State. Burden of proof. 

Normative references

Art. 3 ECHR


1. Contracting States have the right, as a matter of international law, to control the entry, residence and expulsion of aliens, and the right to asylum is not explicitly protected by either the Convention or its Protocols. However, the expulsion or extradition by a Contracting State may give rise to an issue under Article 3 ECHR, and hence engage the responsibility of that State under the Convention, where substantial grounds have been shown for believing that the individual concerned, if deported, faces a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR. 
2. It is in principle for the applicant to adduce evidence capable of proving that there are substantial grounds for believing that, if the measure complained of were to be implemented, he would be exposed to a real risk of being subjected to treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR. Where such evidence is adduced, it is for the Government to dispel any doubts about it.
3. As regards the general situation in a particular country, the Court can attach a certain importance to the information contained in recent reports by independent international human rights protection associations or governmental sources. Furthermore, the Court assesses the general situation in the requesting country, taking into account any indications of improvement or worsening of the human-rights situation, possibly in respect of a particular group or area that might be relevant to the applicant’s personal circumstances. At the same time, reference to a general problem concerning human rights observance in a particular country cannot alone serve as a basis for refusal of extradition: where the sources available to the Court describe a general situation, an applicant’s specific allegations in a particular case require corroboration by other evidence, with reference to the individual circumstances substantiating his fears of ill-treatment.
4. In a case where diplomatic assurances have been provided by the receiving State, they constitute a further relevant factor the Court will consider. However, assurances are not in themselves sufficient to ensure adequate protection against the risk of ill-treatment. There is an obligation to examine whether assurances provide, in their practical application, a sufficient guarantee that the applicant will be protected against the risk of ill-treatment.