Anzhelo Georgiev and Others v. Bulgaria (Application No. 51284/09)

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

Paragraph 73: “The Court finds it unsatisfactory and particularly striking that the prosecution authorities could conclude, without supporting evidence other than statements of police officers involved in the operation, that the employees actively had disobeyed the officers’ orders in a manner which required the use of physical force. To make such an assumption runs contrary to the principle under Article 3 that, when the police confront an individual, recourse by them to physical force which had not been made strictly necessary by the individual’s own conduct is in principle an infringement of his or her rights (…).”

Paragraph 75: “What is more, the authorities have not identified either the CSCOC officers who had used electroshock weapons or the precise type of electroshock weapons used or the duration for which they had been applied to company employees. The Court observes that electroshock discharges applied in contact mode (known also as “drive-stun” mode) are known to cause intense pain and temporary incapacitation (see paragraphs 42 and 43 above). It further notes that at the time of the facts Bulgarian law lacked any specific provisions about the use of electroshock devices by the police and did not lay down any instructions for their usage (…). The Regulations of the Bulgarian Ministry of Interior on the use of auxiliary means of restraint by police officers were issued in 2011, circumscribing the use of electroshock weapons to a limited number of situations (see paragraph 36 above) and following a warning. As the regulations were issued almost three years after the events, they were not applicable at the time of the operation.”

Paragraph 76:”However, the fact that there were no specific instructions related to the use of electroshock weapons did not in itself absolve the police authorities from their obligation to abide by the standard under Article 3 of the Convention of strict necessity of the use of force. […]. The Court further points out with respect to the use of electroshock weapons that the CPT, it its 20th General Report (see paragraph 41 above), expressed strong reservations in particular in respect of the use of electrical discharge weapons used in contact mode, as the ones that allegedly have been used on the second and third applicants. The Court, like the CPT, considers that properly trained law enforcement officers have many other control techniques available to them when they are in touching distance of a person who has to be brought under their control.”