Andreou v. Turkey (Application no. 45653/99)

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

54. As to the question whether the shooting was justified by the aim of quelling a “riot or insurrection”, the Court is of the opinion that the firing of rounds into the crowd constituted a disproportionate use of force in the circumstances surrounding the events of 14 August 1996. Even though the fact that the demonstrators, who had sticks and iron bars, were throwing stones at the Turkish forces carried the risk of potentially more violent developments, such firing could have caused serious injuries to demonstrators, bystanders or UN forces members. Indeed, the applicant, another civilian and two peacekeepers were hit by the bullets. In this connection, the Court attaches a certain weight to the fact that, according to the eyewitnesses, the opening of fire was totally unwarranted and not even preceded by a warning shot. It thus appeared to be a preventive measure, taken in order to discourage any possible recourse to violence before the crowd had the time to react to the shooting of Mr Solomou.

55. The Court further notes that it cannot be held that the shooting of the applicant was justified “in defence of any person from unlawful violence”. Nothing shows that she had been carrying weapons, had behaved in a violent manner, and offered any resistance to the police or was posing a threat to public order, let alone to an extent that could have justified putting her life at risk and inflicting on her a serious gunshot wound in the abdomen. Nor can it be argued that she was, at the material time, “lawfully detained” or that the use of force was “absolutely necessary” to “effect a lawful arrest”. Indeed, she had not crossed the ceasefire line and had been hit by the bullet while standing outside the UN buffer zone close to the National Guard checkpoint (see paragraph 16 above). It follows that the respondent State’s agents used excessive force against the applicant which had not been rendered strictly necessary by the state of heightened tension surrounding the demonstration of 14 August 1996 and/or by the applicant’s own behaviour.

56. Finally, the Court observes that the respondent Government failed to indicate whether the members of its security forces had been given clear instructions and appropriate training in order to avoid and arbitrary and/or abusive use of potentially lethal force.


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