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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.


8.5.2003 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 110 E/213

Answer given by Mr Byrne on behalf of the Commission

(23 December 2002)

Complaints Nos 98/4010 and 98/4826 were closed on 16 October 2002. The information provided by
the complainants was insufficient in demonstrating the disproportionate nature of the Austrian regulation.
The complainants indicated their intention to provide a scientific study. No such study was received. Given
the length of the procedure, the Commission decided to close the case. If a scientific study is provided at a
later stage, a new case can be opened then.

(2003/C 110 E/237) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3442/02


by Jean-Maurice Dehousse (PSE) to the Commission

(26 November 2002)

Subject: Negotiations and use of languages

The press, and specifically La Quinzaine Européenne (No 27 of 18 November  1 December 2002) claims
that ‘President Romano Prodi and Commissioner Günter Verheugen … have apparently given orders that
all the accession negotiations are to take place in English.’

Is this claim wholly or partially correct?

If so, what are the reasons for such ‘orders’?

Answer given by Mr Verheugen on behalf of the Commission

(20 December 2002)

The Commission can assure the Honourable Member that neither the President of the Commission nor the
Member of the Commission in charge of Enlargement have ever given orders that all the accession
negotiations are to take place in English.

Accession conferences are intergovernmental conferences. As a consequence, the language regime for these
conferences is determined by the participating States and not by the Commission.

In the experience of the Commission since the beginning of the Accession Negotiations and at the different
levels, there has been no restriction of the language regime to English or indeed to another official
language of the Union and all official languages of the Union have been available for use.

(2003/C 110 E/238) WRITTEN QUESTION P-3448/02


by Eluned Morgan (PSE) to the Commission

(27 November 2002)

Subject: Pensions and insolvency

Could the Commission explain what has been done in the past if Member States have not complied with
Council Directive 80/987/EEC of 20 October 1980 on the approximation of the laws of the Member
States relating to the protection of employees in the event of the insolvency of their employer (1)? What
does the Commission intend to do if the directive is not honoured by the UK Government in relation to
the workers at Allied Steel and Wire Ltd?

(1) OJ L 283, 28.10.1980, p. 23.