A.E. v. Bulgaria (Application no. 53891/20)

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

105.  The Court cannot overlook in this context that the Sofia regional prosecutor justified his refusal to open criminal proceedings in response to the applicant’s complaints, inter alia, by reference to her refusal to undergo a gynaecological examination (see paragraph 29 above). The Court finds such an argument inadequate; it is furthermore insensitive to and disrespectful of the dignity of the alleged victim who had complained of physical, not sexual, violence. 

106.  Lastly, as noted above (see paragraph 99), where victims were particularly vulnerable, the law empowered prosecutors to open criminal proceedings even in cases of offences subject to private prosecution. On the basis of the information in the file, the Court considers that the applicant could be seen as falling into that category, yet the prosecutor in her case failed to act. 

(iv)  Conclusion 

107.  The foregoing considerations are sufficient to enable the Court to conclude that the authorities failed to provide adequate protection to the applicant, both in law and in practice. The Government’s non-exhaustion objection (based on the applicant’s failure to pursue private prosecution proceedings), which was joined to the merits (see paragraph 67 above), must therefore be rejected. 


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