Boboc and Others v. the Republic of Moldova (Application no. 44592/16 – see list of applicants in the appendix)

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

50.  It is also clear from the materials of the domestic criminal investigation that Mr Boboc was struck repeatedly by several officers, including I.P., while lying on the ground. It is also apparent that he did not resist any of the officers or conduct himself in an aggressive or otherwise dangerous manner. The Court concludes that the use of force against him was entirely unprovoked and not required by the circumstances. Therefore, the officers’ actions could not be regarded as having been taken pursuant to any of the exceptional grounds mentioned in paragraph 2 of Article 2. Furthermore, it was not demonstrated that the use of force against Mr Boboc was absolutely necessary. 

51.  In the light of the clear conclusions made by experts showing a direct link between the force applied to Mr Boboc and his death (see paragraph 14 above) and the absence of any disagreement between the parties as to the cause of Mr Boboc’s death (see, a contrario, Kurnaz and Others v. Turkey, no. 36672/97, §§ 43-45, 24 July 2007), the Court concludes that there has been a violation of the substantive limb of Article 2 in the present case. 

55.  More generally, the Court agrees with the applicants that the present case cannot only concern the actions of specific officers such as I.P., but must necessarily be examined from the point of view of the planning and control of the policing operation during the relevant events in April 2009 (see paragraph 44 above). As established by the parliamentary inquiry commission (see paragraph 8 above), there have been widespread allegations of mass arrests and ill-treatment during the April 2009 events. The materials in the file concerning Mr Boboc’s death reveal that officers, both uniformed and plain-clothed, with or without face coverings, engaged in unprovoked beatings in the very centre of the capital, in plain view of approximately 50 persons whom they were beating and of possible onlookers, and while also being aware of security cameras installed on the Government building situated nearby. Such conduct denotes the absence of any fear of repercussions. This, together with the testimony by I.P. that he had been ordered to arrest protesters at any cost, including by using force and illtreatment (see paragraphs 21 above), and that of the head of the Chișinău criminal police, R.S., that he was not kept informed and was simply a participant in the events (see paragraph 17 above), raises the question of the role of the various State authorities’ leadership in the events of April 2009 and of the manner in which the operation was planned and executed. 

56.  However, the manner in which the prosecution and the courts dealt with this particular case reflects the authorities’ apparent position that such issues were unimportant to the full investigation of the death of Mr Boboc. The Court considers that excluding the applicants from all criminal investigations except that concerning I.P. prevented their participation in dealing with one of the fundamental issues concerning the death of their relative, namely the alleged official tolerance, or even instigation by the leadership of the various State institutions, of the type of conduct which resulted in Mr Boboc’s death. Moreover, having been acquitted by the firstinstance court, I.P. was not subjected to any preventive measure pending the appeal lodged by the prosecution, such as seizing his passport. This allowed him to abscond and to effectively avoid any punishment. 

57.  The Court considers that, in view of the unexplained delays in dealing with important issues such as examining video recordings of the events and dealing with the case in general, the failure to set up a system for post-factum identification of masked officers, as well as the complete denial of access to the investigations other than the one concerning I.P., the authorities did not ensure an effective investigation into all aspects of Mr Boboc’s death. 

58.  There has accordingly been a further violation of Article 2 of the Convention in its procedural limb. 


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