Case of European Court of Human Rights, October 28, 1998 (case Assenov and Others v. Bulgaria)

Resolution Date:October 28, 1998

Preliminary objection dismissed (abuse of process) Preliminary objection dismissed (non-exhaustion of domestic remedies) No violation of Art. 3 (ill-treatment) Violation of Art. 3 (effective investigation) No violation of Art. 6-1 Violation of Art. 13 No violation of Art. 3 (detention) No violation of Art. 5-1 Violation of Art. 5-3 (judge or other officer) Violation of Art. 5-3 (trial within a... (see full summary)


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No.

October 1998

Assenov and Others v. Bulgaria - 24760/94

Judgment 28.10.1998

Article 3

Degrading treatment

Inhuman treatment

Alleged ill-treatment by police: no violation

[This summary is extracted from the Court’s official reports (Series A or Reports of Judgments and Decisions). Its formatting and structure may therefore differ from the Case-law Information Note summaries.]


A.              Preliminary objections

  1.               Alleged non-exhaustion of domestic remedies – Having exhausted all available remedies within criminal justice system without obtaining prosecution of police officers alleged to have ill-treated him, applicant not required to attempt to obtain redress by bringing civil action for damages.

    Conclusion: objection dismissed (unanimously).

  2.               Alleged abuse of process – No evidence of abuse of right of petition.

    Conclusion: objection dismissed (unanimously).

    B.              Merits

  3.               Article 3 of the Convention

    (a)              Alleged ill-treatment by police – Impossible to establish on basis of available evidence whether or not applicant’s injuries caused by police as alleged.

    Conclusion: no violation based on allegation of ill-treatment by police (eight votes to one).

    (b)              Adequacy of investigation – Where individual raises arguable claim to have been ill-treated in breach of Article 3, that provision read in conjunction with Article 1 requires by implication that there should be an effective official investigation.

    Conclusion: violation based on failure to carry out effective official investigation (unanimously).

  4.               Article 6 § 1 of the Convention – Applicant alleged that any civil action for damages brought by him in respect of alleged ill-treatment by police would have been stayed under Article 182(d) of the Code of Civil Procedure – case-law submitted to Court indicated that civil courts not bound by decision of prosecuting authorities to terminate criminal investigation.

    Conclusion: no violation (unanimously).

  5.               Article 13 of the Convention – Where individual has arguable claim to have been ill-treated in breach of Article 3, notion of effective remedy entails, in addition to thorough and effective investigation as required also by Article 3, effective access for complainant to investigatory procedure and payment of compensation where appropriate.


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