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*Law of Aliens

Published on November 7th, 2018 | by Georgia Kleanthi

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SUMMARY: European Court of Human Rights No 70040/13 of of January 9th 2018 VASILE VICTOR STANCIU v. ROMANIA

Keywords: Prohibition of torture, Degrading treatment, Effective investigation, Inhuman treatment

Court:European Court of Human Rights

Claimants: VASILE VICTOR STANCIU v. ROMANIA

Legal Framework:

-Article 3 (Prohibition of torture, Degrading treatment)

No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

Case Facts:

The applicant was a Romanian national who lives in Bucharest and was born in 1957. The case concerned his allegation of police brutality.

Claims:

The applicant was taken into custody to the local police station after he had refused to show his identification papers when the police went to his home to settle a conflict he was having with a neighbor. He claimed that he was beaten on arrival at the police station. After he was released, the same day, subsequently went to the doctor’s. The medical report issued noted that he had injuries consistent with him having been hit with a hard object. A few weeks later Mr Stanciu was fined for refusing to identify himself.

A month later the applicant lodged a criminal complaint against two police officers accusing them of ill treatment and seeking compensation. The officers denied the accusation. The neighbour’s husband confirmed that Mr Stanciu had been verbally abusive, then immobilised and handcuffed before being taken away by the police, but had not been ill-treated.

The investigators relying on the findings came to the conclusion that the use of force had not been excessive. The applicant complained that the subsequent investigation into the incident had been ineffective. He argued in particular that if he had been aggressive towards the police, charges would have been brought against him; instead he had only been issued with a fine.

Decision:

The Court noted that, the Government relied on the findings of the domestic authorities. Consequently, they did not dispute that on 11 December 2011 the applicant had been under the control of State agents at the time of the incident or that the injuries suffered by the applicant, as recorded by the available medical evidence, had been the result of the police officers’ intervention.

The Court also noted that the applicant acknowledged that he had refused to present his identification papers, while using language considered by the police officers to be defiant. The statement given by the neighbour’s husband confirms the use by the applicant of language that was to a certain extent inappropriate and disrespectful. However, there is no evidence in the file to suggest that during the whole incident, the police officers involved were in any way assaulted, much less injured by him. In these circumstances, the Court couldn’t accept that any restraint was needed in order to pre-empt further outbursts from the applicant, and to prevent him from becoming physically violent. Consequently, the Court considered that neither the domestic court nor the Government have sufficiently and convincingly shown that, the force employed by the police officers against the applicant, irrespective of the time when the incident might have taken place, was proportionate

The Court, unanimously found that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.

For the full text of the decision here





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