The ECHR found violations of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Заголовок: The ECHR found violations of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rig Сведения: 2018-07-14 14:12:00

The ECtHR judgment of 26 October 2017 in the case of Azzolina and Others v. Italy (аpplications Nos. 28923/09 and 67599/10).
The case successfully examined аpplications of ill-treatment of police officers with demonstrators who were detained and placed in custody during the G8 summit. There has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

In 2009 and 2010, the applicants were assisted in the preparation of аpplications. Subsequently, the аpplications were combined and communicated to Italy.

 

CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE


The applicants were detained in various parts of the city of Genoa during the G-8 summit in 2001, when an anti-globalization summit was organized and various demonstrations took place. The applicants were taken to the barracks used as temporary places of detention. There they were subjected to acts of violence, humiliation and other forms of ill-treatment.
In the Cestaro judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (Cestaro v. Italy) (of 7 April 2015, complaint No. 6884/11, "Fact sheet on the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights" No. 184), which concerned one episode of violent acts committed by security forces during the same summit, the Court found a violation of the substantive and procedural aspects of Article 3 of the Convention. He came to the conclusion that these actions amounted to torture, and stressed the shortcomings of the relevant criminal legislation.


ISSUES OF LAW


Concerning compliance with Article 3 of the Convention. (a) The substantive aspect. The European Court referred to the facts established by the domestic courts, which did not contradict any of the case materials:

- on arrival at the barracks the applicants were forbidden to look at the officers guarding them, some of the applicants wrote the letter X. All the applicants were ordered to stand still, arms and legs apart, and look at the fences inside the barracks. They were forced to stand in the same humiliating pose inside the cells;

- Inside the barracks the applicants were forced to walk with their heads down, in this position they were forced to pass through the "tunnel of employees", that is, through the corridor in the barracks, where police officers stood on both sides, threatening and beating them, shouting political and sexual insults in relation to them;

- During the medical examinations, the applicants were forced to endure insults, humiliation, and sometimes threats from medical personnel and the police officers present;

- the personal belongings of the applicants were confiscated or broken;

- Since the barracks were such a small area, and the violent actions were committed so often, all the police officers present knew about the violence committed by their colleagues and / or subordinates;

- the disputed facts can not be regarded as limited in time and occurred at a time when such violent behavior could be caused (albeit unjustifiably) by a strong tension and tense situation: the events in the case continued for a long period, that is, between night from 20 to July 21 and July 23, which means that several police teams consistently performed service in the barracks in the absence of a significant reduction in the frequency or intensity of episodes of violence.

The applicants, who did not provide physical resistance, suffered a lengthy and systematic sequence of acts of violence that caused severe physical and psychological suffering. Not being isolated facts, physical and psychological violence was indiscriminate, permanent and to some extent organized, which entailed "a kind of dehumanization process that reduced the individual to the object against which violence was committed."

These events occurred in a deliberately tense, nervous and noisy environment, while staff shouted at the detainees and sometimes sang fascist hymns.

Present police officers, from the lowest level to the command staff, severely violated their primary ethical duty to protect persons sent under their supervision and who were in a vulnerable position.

It is impossible to ignore the facts that the applicants were not only directly victims of ill-treatment, but also helpless witnesses to the uncontrolled use of violence against other detainees.

The applicants, who were treated as objects, spent the entire period of their detention in an atmosphere of "lawlessness", when the most basic guarantees were suspended. The above violence was exacerbated by other violations of the applicants' rights:

- none of them could contact a relative, a lawyer or, if necessary, a consular representative;

- their personal belongings were broken in their presence;

- no access to the toilet was allowed, in any case, from the attempts to access the toilet the applicants were held by the insults, violence and humiliation faced by those who requested such access;

- Lack of food and bedding, even if this was due to supply shortages, and not a deliberate decision, further intensified their stress and suffering.

These repeated acts of violence, reflecting the desire for punishment and revenge, should be regarded as acts of torture.

 

DECISION

 

There has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention (unanimously).

(b) The procedural aspect. Noting the entry into force in 2017 of new legislation, which is not applicable to the facts of the present case, which provided for the specific composition of the crime, "the tortures", the Court found, on similar grounds with the Chestaro case, that the authorities of the respondent state did not provide an adequate criminal and disciplinary response to the acts torture. In particular, he took into account the fact that the persons involved in torture were not suspended from performing their duties during criminal proceedings.


DECISION


There has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention (unanimously).


COMPENSATION


In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded EUR 85,000 to the first applicant and EUR 80,000 to each of the remaining applicants in respect of non-pecuniary damage, the amounts awarded by the domestic courts were deducted when they had already been paid. The claim for compensation for pecuniary damage was rejected.

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