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2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/211

 Guarantees by both the Belgian State and Berlaymont 2000 as to the execution of the works and
burden-sharing in case of ‘unforeseen events’ and in the event of proven fraud by third parties.

The signing of the Convention with the Belgian government took place on 23 October 2002. The
Commission is currently establishing a programme of progressive occupation of the building from early

(2003/C 110 E/234) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3380/02

by Rosemarie Müller (PSE) to the Commission
(21 November 2002)

Subject: Silver fibre high-tech clothing for neurodermatitis sufferers

I understand from various scientific reports that high-tech clothing with medical uses has been developed
over the past few years and is now obtainable on the market. One of the most promising developments is
silver fibre clothing which can give significant relief to neurodermatitis sufferers and visibly improve their
skin condition.

One of the disadvantages of this approach to treatment, however, is that therapeutic clothing of this kind
is rather expensive, but the reports suggest that if the cost of such clothing were eligible for
reimbursement from sickness insurance schemes it could even be to the latter’s financial advantage as it
would result in considerable savings in costly ointments and medicines for neurodermatitis sufferers.

In the light of this is the Commission aware of this new method of treatment?

Is it taking specific account of this method in the development of health policy?

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(12 December 2002)

No. The Commission is not informed of this product nor of its characteristics and possible health effects.
The public health policy of the Community falls under Article 152 of the EC Treaty on the basis of which
the Parliament and Council have recently adopted a six year action programme (1). This programme has
three main areas of priority; improving health and knowledge, rapid reaction to health threats, and action
on health determinants.

The reduction of health care costs to which clothing of the type referred to could possibly contribute is
considered a matter of Member State competence and would not be covered by the above-mentioned
public health programme.

(1) Decision No 1786/2002/EC of the Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 adopting a programme of
Community action in the field of public health (2003-2008)  Commission statements, OJ L 271, 9.10.2002.

(2003/C 110 E/235) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3383/02

by Olivier Dupuis (NI) to the Commission
(28 November 2002)

Subject: Torture in the Russian Federation

Two 17 year-old Russian nationals, Andrei Victorovitch Osenchugov and Alexei Vladimirovitch Shishkin,
were arrested on 5 March 2002 on suspicion of robbery and were transferred two days later, on the order
of the prosecutor of the Sormovski District of the city of Nizhny Novgorod, to the Nizhny Novgorod
regional pre-trial detention center (sledstvennyi izolyator) IZ -52/1, in Novgorod.
C 110 E/212 Official Journal of the European Union EN 8.5.2003

At the pre-trial detention centre, Mr Osenchugov and Mr Shinshkin were allegedly tortured by two other
adult inmates, one of whom was Mr Petrov Michail Germanovitch, without the prison guards intervening,
with the aim of forcing them to confess to other thefts. The parents of the young detainees asked the
detention centre’s director to investigate the matter, but no action was taken and the director simply
argued that there were no grounds for such an investigation. Subsequently, the Public Prosecutor’s Office
instituted criminal proceedings on the ill treatment inflicted on Andrei Victorovitch Osenchugov and
Alexei Vladimirovitch Shishkin and opened an official inquiry. However, on 21 October 2002, at the end
of a trial riddled with legal irregularities (e.g. the submissions made by the witnesses for the defence were
not recorded in the minutes of the proceedings), Judge Grigoriev of the Sormovski District Court in
Nizhny Novgorod found Mr Osenchugov and Mr Shinshkin guilty of theft, on the basis of the confessions
obtained under torture, and sentenced them to eight years’ imprisonment.

What information does the Commission have on this further serious violation of fundamental rights in the
Russian Federation? What steps has it undertaken or does it intend to undertake to obtain a retrial for
Mr Osenguchov and Mr Shinshkin in accordance with internationally recognised rules on fair legal
proceedings? In view of the numerous other cases which illustrate the fundamental problems affecting the
administration of justice in the Russian Federation, does the Commission not consider that its entire policy
vis-à-vis the Russian federation needs to be reviewed?

Answer given by Mr Patten on behalf of the Commission

(20 December 2002)

The Commission does not have any specific information regarding this case. The Commission is, however,
well aware of the shortcomings affecting the judicial and penitentiary system in Russia and equally shares
the concern of the Honourable Member concerning reports by prominent human rights non-governmental
organisations of torture and other abuses of inmates.

The Commission has consistently stressed that it is in Russia’s interest to develop a society based on
respect for democratic principles and human rights. The development and consolidation of an indepen-
dent, objective and efficient judiciary is indispensable in this respect. EC financial assistance is increasingly
directed to supporting ongoing judicial reform in Russia, including training of judges, court administrators,
bailiffs and other legal professionals. As much as EUR 10 million is being allocated through TACIS each
year for this purpose. In parallel, the promotion of human rights in Russia will continue to be a priority in
the framework of the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), under which Russia
has been identified as a ‘focus country’ for the period 2002/2004.

At a more political level, within the framework of its intensive political dialogue with Russia, the Union
will continue to raise its concerns regarding human rights in Russia, including the right to due process and
the need to prevent torture. In this context, the Union will continue to stress that the effective partnership
that the Union and Russia are trying to establish must necessarily be based on a series of fundamental core
values, among which full respect for human rights, in accordance with the major international and
European human rights conventions that Russia has ratified. In parallel, the Union will continue to
promote further work in this direction within the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

(2003/C 110 E/236) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3399/02

by Gerhard Hager (NI) to the Commission

(29 November 2002)

Subject: Appeal proceedings Nos 98/4010 and 98/4826

Further to the answer to my Written Question E-2470/02 (1), can the Commission confirm whether, as
stated in its answer, appeal proceedings Nos 98/4010 and 98/4826 have now been concluded and give
details of the outcome?

(1) OJ C 52 E, 6.3.2003, p. 176.