Euroopa Inimõiguste Kohus
10.02.2011

Facts

The applicant, Mr. Premininy, was placed in temporary detention facility. Possibly because of his own provocative behaviour, the applicant was ill-treated by his fellow inmates. He sustained concussion and numerous abrasions. The prison doctor attributed the injuries to systematic beatings over a period of a week. He was subsequently found to be suffering from mental-health problems as a result of continual physical and psychological abuse in detention.

Complaint

Mr. Premininy complained that there had not been an effective investigation into his ill treatment in violation of Article 3 of the Convention. 

Court's ruling

The Court reiterated that Article 3 requires that authorities conduct a prompt and effective official investigation into any alleged ill-treatment even if such treatment has been inflicted by private individuals. For the investigation to be regarded as “effective”, it should in principle be capable of leading to the establishment of the facts of the case and to the identification and punishment of those responsible. Authorities must take the reasonable steps available to them to secure the evidence concerning the incident, including, inter alia, eyewitness testimony, forensic evidence, and so on. 

The Court also stated that it is the state’s utmost responsibility to prevent and address violence among inmates in prisons. In the case at hand the Court noted that the authorities must have been aware of the ill-treatment therefore they had an obligation to carry out an effective investigation into the events. Although the applicant was entirely reliant on the prosecuting authorities in collection of evidence, the opening of investigation was particularly slow. Additionally the Court doubted the detention facility’s ability to carry out independent investigation. 

The initial finding was that applicant had a sporadic conflict with his cellmates which required no further action. Such finding was duly appealed to the prosecutor which took over a year to quash the decision resulting in loss of time and inability to gather more evidence. Taking into account other serious shortcomings in conducting the investigation, the court concluded that it was not prompt, expeditious or sufficiently thorough. Therefore there was a violation of state’s procedural obligations under Article 3.