The ECHR judgment of 01 February 2018 in the case of Hadjieva v. Bulgaria (application No. 45285/12).
In 2012, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated in Bulgaria.
In the case, a complaint was successfully considered on the lack of supervision of a 14-year-old girl while her parents were in custody. In the case of violation of the requirements of Art. 8 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with respect to one episode of events and found no violation of the other.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
On 4 December 2002 the applicant, who was 14 at that time, was at home when internal affairs officers arrived to detain her parents at the request of the Turkmen authorities for extradition. At that time, the parents were not at home, they were detained on their return home and taken to a place of detention. The applicant remained at home alone. She met with her parents on December 17, 2002, when they were released on bail. Subsequently, the applicant applied for compensation from the authorities in connection with the stress and suffering caused to her by the absence on the part of the authorities of the organization of any care for her for the period of her parents' absence. Having dismissed the applicant's complaint, the appellate court found that, even if the applicant remained alone after the detention of her parents, responsibility for this can not be attributed to employees of the internal affairs agencies, the prosecutor's office or the court, since her mother, in a hearing on 6 December 2002, two days after the detention, did not say that someone should take care of her daughter.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 8 of the Convention.
(a) The period between detention and the first court hearing. The current situation clearly posed a danger to the applicant's well-being, since at the time of her parents' detention she was 14 years old. According to the provisions of domestic law, the Bulgarian authorities appear to have been obliged from the moment the applicant's parents were apprehended or to allow parents to look after the applicant, or to settle the situation on her own initiative. The Government of the respondent State were also required to provide the applicant with the necessary assistance, support and services at her home, or in the foster family or in a specialized institution. The Government did not claim that any of these actions were carried out by the competent authorities during the pre-trial hearing, which was held two days after the detention of the applicant's parents. Consequently, in relation to the said two-day period, the authorities failed to fulfill their positive obligation to ensure that the applicant was provided with protection and care during the absence of her parents.
(b) The period from the date of the hearing to the release of the applicant's parents. Authorized public authorities had no reason to suspect or suspect after the court session on December 6, 2002 that the applicant remained alone and no one cares for her in the absence of her parents. Under such circumstances, the obligation of the authorities to transfer the children of detained persons under guardianship, if there was no one to care for them, did not matter for the completion of the hearing. The applicant's parents were educated, professionally employed people who clearly had the means to take care of their daughter. At none of the stages of the case, none of the parents warned the authorities that their daughter was left alone at home, and did not express her concern about the well-being of her daughter in their absence. Indeed, the applicant's mother apparently reported in court that someone cares about her daughter. In addition, the interests of the applicant's parents were represented by the lawyer whom they had chosen, who participated in the judicial proceedings to review the case of the said persons. The lawyer represented the interests of the applicant's parents during the entire period of their detention and was their neighbor in the place of residence.
Consequently, in the absence of any action on the part of the applicant's parents or on their behalf at the time being referred to, the reference of the domestic courts to the record of the hearing on the detention of the applicant's parents and their conclusion that neither the internal affairs bodies, nor the prosecutor's offices, nor the courts should have been more interested in the situation with the applicant, did not constitute inadequate actions in the context of Article 8 of the Convention.
In the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 8 of the Convention (regarding the period from the moment the applicant's parents were detained and until the first hearing) (adopted by four votes "for" with three "against").
No violation of the requirements of Article 8 of the Convention (regarding the period from the date of the hearing to the release of the applicant's parents) was accepted in the case (unanimously).
In application of Article 41 of the Convention, the Court awarded the applicant 3,600 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.