Harutyunyan v. Armenia (Application no. 36549/03)

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

65. […] First of all, in the Court’s opinion, where there is compelling evidence that a person has been subjected to ill-treatment, including physical violence and threats, the fact that this person confessed – or confirmed a coerced confession in his later statements – to an authority other than the one responsible for this ill-treatment should not automatically lead to the conclusion that such confession or later statements were not made as a consequence of the ill-treatment and the fear that a person may experience thereafter. Secondly, such justification clearly contradicted the finding made in the judgment convicting the police officers in question, according to which “by threatening to continue the ill-treatment, the police officers forced the applicant to confess” (see paragraph 29 above). Finally, there was ample evidence before the domestic courts that witnesses T. and A. were being subjected to continued threats of further torture and retaliation throughout 1999 and early 2000 (see paragraphs 29 and 32-33 above). Furthermore, the fact that they were still performing military service could undoubtedly have added to their fear and affected their statements, which is confirmed by the fact that the nature of those statements essentially changed after demobilisation. Hence, the credibility of the statements made by them during that period should have been seriously questioned, and these statements should certainly not have been relied upon to justify the credibility of those made under torture.

66. In the light of the foregoing considerations, the Court concludes that, regardless of the impact the statements obtained under torture had on the outcome of the applicant’s criminal proceedings, the use of such evidence rendered his trial as a whole unfair. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.


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