European Court of Human Rights judgments on police ill-treatment remain not executed
In its communication submitted to the Committee of Ministers, the HHC warns that Hungary has been failing to address systemic deficiencies with regard to handling ill-treatment by the police, and so has been failing to execute the respective judgments of the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Court of Human Rights found in multiple cases that Hungary had violated the right to life or the prohibition of torture when failing to carry out adequate and effective investigations into allegations of ill-treatment by police officers.
The “complex and long-standing nature of the problems raised” in the judgments led the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (in the framework of supervising the execution of ECtHR judgments) to transfer the respective Gubacsi group of cases to the so-called enhanced procedure in September 2018. In its decision, the Committee of Ministers invited the Hungarian authorities to deliver a firm message of “zero tolerance” of ill-treatment, and noted with regret the lack of information on the measures taken or envisaged to remedy the shortcomings identified by the ECtHR as regards investigations into allegations of ill-treatment.
The Gubacsi group of cases will be on the Committee of Ministers’ agenda again in June 2020, where the Committee of Ministers will also consider the latest action report by the Hungarian Government, submitted in September 2019.
However, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee is of the view that the Government’s action report still does not cover key areas and continues to fail to address systemic deficiencies, and that the Hungarian Government has failed to comply with the guidance provided by the decision of the Committee of Ministers earlier. Therefore, we submitted a communication to the Committee of Ministers in April 2020, arguing that to prevent, investigate and sanction police ill-treatment adequately and more effectively, Hungary should address outstanding deficiencies in the following key areas:
- legal and practical deficiencies in relation to the video recording of police work;
- shortcomings in police training, interrogation techniques, and assessment of police work;
- lack of independent and adequate medical examination of detainees claiming ill-treatment;
- presence of police officers at medical examinations of detainees as a main rule;
- substantive shortcomings in the investigations into ill-treatment;
- eligibility for service of convicted law enforcement officers;
- low success rate of reporting ill-treatment;
- low success rate of indictments related to ill-treatment; and
- judicial leniency towards law enforcement officers with regard to sentencing.
In our communication, we also list a number of recommendations for measures the Hungarian Government should take to tackle police ill-treatment effectively.
The HHC’s full communication is available here:
Communication of the HHC to the Committee of Ministers in the Gubacsi v. Hungary group of cases (April 2020)