EIT: Italiassa kidutettu vankeja
EIT on aiemmin vain muutaman kerran todennut huonon kohtelun yltäneen Euroopassa kidutuksen asteelle.The case of Cirino and Renne v. Italy (application nos. 2539/13 and 4705/13) concerned the complaint by two detainees that in December 2004 they were ill-treated by prison officers of the Asti Correctional Facility, and that those responsible were not appropriately punished. In today’s (26.10.2017) Chamber judgment1 in the case the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
violations of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights, both as regards the treatment sustained by the applicants(substantive aspect) and as regards the response by the domestic authorities (procedural aspect).The Court held that the ill-treatment inflicted on the applicants – which had been deliberate and carried out in a premeditated and organised manner while they were in the custody of prison officers – had amounted to torture.
In the Court’s view, the domestic courts had made a genuine effort to establish the facts and to identify the individuals responsible for the treatment inflicted on the applicants. However, those courts had concluded that, under Italian law in force at the time, there was no legal provision allowing them to classify the treatment in question as torture. They had had to turn to other provisions of the Criminal Code, which were subject to statutory limitation periods. As a result of this lacuna in the legal system, the domestic courts had been ill-equipped to ensure that treatment contrary to Article 3 perpetrated by State officials did not go unpunished.
Following an altercation between Mr Cirino and a prison officer on 10 December 2004, in which Mr Renne intervened, the applicants were separately placed in solitary confinement. According to their submissions, which were later confirmed by the findings of the domestic courts, they were stripped of their clothes and remained naked for several days in cells in which the bed had no mattress, sheets or covers, where there was no sink and the window had no window panes. They were also subjected to the rationing of food and water. Both applicants were beaten by groups of prison officers on a daily basis, during the day and at night. On 16 December 2004 Mr Renne was admitted to hospital, where an examination revealed a fractured rib and widespread bruising.
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That treatment had been deliberate and carried out in a premeditated and organised manner. Furthermore, the domestic courts had established that the treatment had been inflicted in the context of a broader pattern of abuse of “problematic” detainees that could be found in the Asti Correctional Facility at the time. There had thus been a purposive element underlying the illtreatment, namely to punish the detainees concerned.
Having regard to those considerations, the Court concluded that the treatment inflicted on the applicants had amounted to torture. There had accordingly been a violation of Article 3 in its substantive aspect.
Click here to download the judgment.