Mikeladze and Others v. Georgia (Application no. 54217/16)

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


68. Lastly, to date – that is to say almost seven years after its opening –the investigation into the alleged police abuse has not produced any conclusive findings. Such a prohibitive delay, for which no explanation has been provided, is in itself incompatible with the State’s obligation under Article 3 of the Convention to carry out an effective investigation

74. While the Government’s explanation suggests that the first applicant was injured as a result of resisting police officers (see paragraphs 45 and 56 above), apparently implying that the police had used necessary physical force to restrain and/or put the first applicant’s arrest into effect, it was incumbent on the investigation authorities to establish the mechanism of infliction of such injuries and/or the restraining technique and force used that led to the injuries, if indeed their cause was force used to arrest the first applicant and to overcome his resistance to arrest, as alleged by the Government. Although there is evidence that a police car was damaged during events leading to the first applicant’s arrest, no injuries appear to have been inflicted on any of the officers who arrested him (see paragraphs 20-21 above; compare and contrast Iljina and Sarulienė v. Lithuania, no. 32293/05, § 50, 15 March 2011 in fine, and Gablishvili and Others cited above, §§ 62-63). Nor has the criminal investigation into the alleged resistance towards police officers reached any conclusion on this account (see paragraph 26 above; also contrast Spinov v. Ukraine, no. 34331/03, §§ 49-51, 27 November 2008).

75. In such circumstances, the Court considers that the Government have not satisfactorily explained the source of the first applicant’s injuries and, therefore, have not shown that the use of force against the first applicant was lawful and strictly necessary and that his injuries were caused otherwise than by ill-treatment by the police (see Sadkov v. Ukraine, no. 21987/05, § 101, 6 July 2017; see also Yusiv, cited above, § 59, and Mikiashvili v. Georgia, no. 18996/06, § 76, 9 October 2012). Accordingly, the Court finds that there has been a violation of the substantive aspect of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of the injuries inflicted on the first applicant.

76.  However, in so far the first applicant’s complaint concerning the use of discriminatory language by the police is concerned, some witnesses denied that this happened during the arrest (see paragraph 19 above), while others confirmed it had (see paragraph 34 above). Similarly, several witnesses noted that discriminatory slurs had been uttered at the police station (see paragraphs 29-30 above), yet others flatly denied this (see paragraph 31 above). While the Court has found that the domestic authorities’ failure to address this complaint, which was at least arguable, was in breach of their procedural obligations under Article 3 taken in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention (see paragraphs 66-69 above), the case-file does not enable the Court to accept that there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt of a discriminatory treatment by the police contrary to Article 14 read in conjunction with the substantive limb of Article 3 of the Convention.

78.  In view of the foregoing, the Court concludes that, as far as the substantive limb of Article 3 of the Convention is concerned, there has been a violation of that provision, taken alone, in respect of the first applicant and no violation of that provision, either taken alone or in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention, in respect of the remaining three applicants.


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