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Romania: Human rights failings lead judges to make €21,500 award

Human rights failings uncovered in an investigation into a police identity check, which left a man with injuries, have led Strasbourg judges to make a €21,500 award against Romania.

In today’s Committee judgment in the case of Bădoiu v. Romania (application no. 5365/16) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), under its procedural head, of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As Just satisfaction (Article 41), the court held that Romania was to pay the applicant 19,500 euros (EUR) in respect of nonpecuniary damage, and EUR 2,000 for costs and expenses.

The court found in particular that the investigative authorities had not established with sufficient precision what had happened during the identity check or at the police station in order to clearly determine the origin of, and persons responsible for, the applicant’s injuries.

Those failings were exclusively attributable to the authorities.

The applicant, George Vichente Bădoiu, is a Romanian national who was born in 1983 and lives in Arad (Romania).

On 8 November 2010, at around 11 p.m., a police car stopped near a group of friends including Bădoiu, and a team of three police officers carried out an identity check. The government’s and the applicant’s versions differed as to the circumstances.

Bădoiu filed a complaint against the three police officers, who had allegedly manhandled him. On 6 December 2010, the police officers stated that the applicant had refused to show his identity card, that he had agreed to get in their car to go to the police station but had become violent during the journey and, on his arrival, had assaulted a police officer. The police had been obliged to use force to control and handcuff Bădoiu.

After checking his identity, they had charged him with a petty offence and then released him. Bădoiu and his friends denied any violence against the police.

Bădoiu also disputed the presence of a police witness at the scene of the identity check and accused him of giving false testimony at the instigation of the police.

Two expert reports by the Institute of Forensic Medicine of Arad and Timisoara confirmed the findings of an initial forensic examination carried out on 12 November 2010, namely that Bădoiu’s injuries had required eight or nine days of treatment and had been caused by blows from hard objects.

On 5 September 2012 the prosecutor’s office questioned the police. They presented a version of the facts that was different from the first: they claimed that the applicant had become violent during the identity check, which had forced them to handcuff him. At the police station, the applicant had allegedly thrown himself to the ground and had banged his head several times deliberately against a metal grating.

 

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