ECHR ruling of November 6, 2018 in the case of Milicevic v. Montenegro (application N 27821/16).
In 2016, the complainant was assisted in preparing a application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Montenegro.
The case was successfully considered the application of the applicant on the inability of the authorities to protect him from being attacked by a mentally ill person who had threatened him before. The case has violated the requirements of Article 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
At the end of January 2013, the complainant informed the police that X., who had been registered with a psychiatrist for a long time in connection with the diagnosis of "schizophrenia", had threatened him. Two days after that, X. attacked the applicant with a hammer and injured his head. The applicant filed a criminal complaint against X., who was subsequently convicted of causing bodily harm, as well as another assault committed in October 2012, when X. stabbed V.J. After that, X. was convicted of both attacks, and he was ordered to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment.
Subsequently, the complainant’s claim for non-pecuniary damage caused by the alleged inability of the Montenegrin authorities to take any preventive measures was dismissed. The court of the respondent state did not discern any grounds for bringing the state authorities to justice.
QUESTIONS OF RIGHT
Regarding compliance with Article 8 of the Convention. Montenegrin legislation criminalizes encroachment on personal security. If the prosecutor’s office refused to initiate a criminal case on any grounds, the injured party had the right to carry out the prosecution as a “subsidiary prosecutor”. Thus, the legislation of the respondent State provided sufficient protection.
Although it was recognized that the authorities intervened after the attack by X. on the applicant, it was impossible to lose sight of the fact that the authorities' inaction and their inability to provide the applicant with protection after X’s threats or to ensure that X was provided with appropriate psychiatric assistance the way he attacked VJ led to the realization of X's threats against the applicant.
In particular, the authorities of the respondent state knew that X. had been on psychiatric records for a long time, that he had other cases of violent behavior, including attacks on neighbors, arson of his own house, flooding of his neighbors' apartment, and that X . always carried a knife or other similar weapon with him. The Montenegrin authorities also knew about the previous criminal record of X. and that within the framework of the consideration of that criminal case, the courts established a causal link between the mental state of X. and the crimes committed by him. In addition, four months before the attack on the applicant, X. left the hospital without permission, violating the doctor’s recommendations. A few days later, he attacked V.J. without any reason. The case file did not contain evidence that after the attack on V.J. in relation to X., a medical examination was conducted to establish whether X. had taken the drugs prescribed to him, indicating that there was no cooperation between the police and the medical services. An indictment was made on the fact of the attack, but for more than three months, that is, prior to the attack on the applicant, no action was taken in connection with this incident. Moreover, the authorities were aware that X. had threatened the applicant since the latter had informed the police about this. Thus, the authorities of the respondent state should have been aware of the real and inevitable risk of an attack on the applicant.
The lack of sufficient measures taken by the Montenegrin authorities in response to X’s conduct constituted a violation of the respondent State’s positive obligations to ensure the applicant’s right to privacy under Article 8 of the Convention.
The case was a violation of Article 8 of the Convention (adopted unanimously).
In application of Article 41 of the Convention. The European Court awarded the applicant EUR 4,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.