Prohibition of torture, behaviour of State agents outside the context of interrogation

Cestaro  v.  Italy

On 7 April 2015 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) issued its judgment in the Cestaro v. Italy case. Mr Cestaro was among the protesters surrounding the G-8 summit in Genoa, Italy from 21st to 22nd July 2001. He and other protesters housed in a school, which was stormed by the Italian police at that time. Mr Cestaro and others were brutally ill-treated while peacefully and legally lodging in the school. Mr Cestaro was subjected to repeated kicks and beatings with the baton, which is considered a potentially lethal weapon. As a result, Mr Cestaro suffered multiple fractures and a permanent impediment in his right arm and right leg. The applicant maintained in the Convention proceedings that the respondent State had breached the substantive and procedural limbs of Article 3 of the Convention.

The ECHR ruled that the treatment by the police amounted to torture. 

The case is interesting in that the Court qualified the assault on the applicant as torture, thus confirming that that notion can attach to the conduct and behaviour of State agents outside the context of interrogation in custody (Vladimir Romanov v. Russia, and Dedovskiy and Others v. Russia).

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Prohibition of degrading treatment, armed forces

 Lyalyakin v. Russia

The applicant, a 19-year-old soldier was, after being caught trying to escape, given a reprimand on a parade ground dressed only in his military briefs.

The Court noted that the respondent State had not explained why the undressing and exposure of the applicant during the lining up of the battalion had been necessary to prevent his or other soldiers’ escape.

The Court therefore found that the applicant had been subjected to degrading treatment, in breach of Article 3. The court held that Russia was to pay Lyalyakin 15,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 825.72 in respect of costs and expenses.

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