A and B v. Georgia (Application no. 73975/16)

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


44. […] However, in the light of the relevant circumstances of the case, in particular the existence of indices pointing to possible gender based discrimination as at least partly informing the response of law enforcement to the complainant and the complaints and the fact that they permitted the alleged perpetrator to participate in the questioning of the complainant and victim of the alleged domestic abuse, the Court considers that there was a pressing need to conduct a meaningful investigation into the response of law enforcement and their inaction, which might have been motivated by gender-based discrimination, in the face of C’s complaints (compare Tkhelidze, cited above, § 60). The fact that the alleged perpetrator of the violence of the abuse was a member of law enforcement himself, and that the threats he had used against the victim and her family referred to this fact and what he considered to be his impunity, rendered the need for a proper investigation all the more pressing.

48. The Court also observes that whilst the domestic legislative framework provided for various temporary restrictive measures in respect of alleged abusers (compare Tkhelidze, cited above, 55), the relevant domestic authorities did not resort to them at all. It does not appear from the various reports and records drawn up by the police officers that the victim was ever advised by the police of her procedural rights and of the various legislative and administrative measures of protection available to her. The Court further considers that the inactivity of the domestic law-enforcement authorities appears to be even more concerning when assessed against the fact that the abuser was himself a police officer. What is more, whilst the law-enforcement authorities were perfectly aware that he was using various attributes of his official position to commit abuse against C (intimidating her with his service pistol on many occasions, repeatedly claiming impunity for his acts on account of his belonging to the law-enforcement machinery, threatening to bring false charges against C’s father and brother if the victim reported the abuse to the police, and so on), not only did the police not put an end to that demonstration of ultimate impunity and arbitrariness (see Ushakov and Ushakova v. Ukraine, no. 10705/12, § 83, 18 June 2015), they, on the contrary, allowed the alleged abuser to participate in the questioning of his victim and soon after promoted the abuser to a higher police rank (see paragraphs 14 and 15 above). The Court finds this aspect of the case to be particularly troubling because it expects Member States to be all the more stringent when investigating and, where appropriate, punishing their own law-enforcement officers for the commission of serious crimes, including domestic violence and violence against women in general, than they are with ordinary offenders, because what is at stake is not only the issue of the individual criminal-law liability of the perpetrators but also the State’s duty to combat any sense of impunity felt by the offenders by virtue of their very office, and maintain public confidence in and respect for the law-enforcement system (see, mutatis mutandisVazagashvili and Shanava v. Georgia, no. 50375/07, § 92, 18 July 2019, and Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary, no. 17247/13, § 157, 26 May 2020).

49. The Court thus concludes that the present case can be seen as yet another vivid example of how general and discriminatory passivity of the law-enforcement authorities in the face of allegations of domestic violence can create a climate conducive to a further proliferation of violence committed against victims merely because they are women. In disregard of the panoply of various protective measures that were directly available, the authorities did not prevent gender-based violence against the applicants’ next-of-kin, which culminated in her death, and they compounded this failure with an attitude of passivity, even accommodation, as regards the alleged perpetrator, later convicted of the victim’s murder. The respondent State has thus breached its substantive positive obligations under Article 2 of the Convention read in in conjunction with Article 14.


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