European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights

Romania: Court set for ruling on ‘ski rage’ human rights complaint

Tomorrow, judges will announce their decision on a ‘ski-rage’ human rights complaint against Romania.

The European Court of Human Rights’ judgement in the case Hoalgă and Others v. Romania (no. 76672/12), is expected to be revealed during the morning of Tuesday 14 March.

The applicants, Adrian Hoalgă, Adrian Cornel Leleşan and Rusalin Viorel Săcârcea, are Romanian nationals who were born in 1978, 1976 and 1979 respectively and live in Petroş and Haţeg.

In the afternoon of 1 January 2011, an altercation arose between the applicants and four gendarmes in the ski resort of Parâng. One of the applicants’ relatives had reportedly been stopped by the
gendarmes while he was sledging on a ski run.

The applicants were immobilised, handcuffed and taken to the resort’s gendarmerie station. They lodged criminal complaints against the four gendarmes stationed in the ski resort, alleging ill-treatment.

The applicants applied to join the proceedings as civil parties and submitted forensic medical certificates and photographs taken before the incident and after their detention at the gendarmerie station, showing visible signs of violence to various parts of their bodies.

The case was referred to the military prosecutor’s office, which instituted criminal proceedings against the gendarmes.

In the light of all the evidence, the military prosecutor gave a decision on 28 November 2011, finding that the gendarmes had acted in accordance with the law and were therefore not guilty of misconduct, as there had been no intent to commit an offence.

Lastly, the prosecutor found that they had not detained Mr Hoalgă, Mr Leleşan and Mr Săcârcea unlawfully.

The applicants appealed against that decision. The chief military prosecutor upheld the decision, and that ruling in turn was upheld at final instance by the Timişoara Military Court.

Relying on Articles 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) and 6 (right to a fair trial/right to be presumed innocent), Hoalgă, Leleşan and Săcârcea allege that they were subjected to ill-treatment as a result of the unjustified and disproportionate use of force by the gendarmes on 1 January 2011.

Under Article 5 (right to liberty and security/right to a speedy decision on the lawfulness of detention), they complain that they were detained without any legal basis between 3.30 p.m. and 11.30 p.m. on 1 January 2011.

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