Mîţu v. the Republic of Moldova (Application no. 23524/14)

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


35. At the same time, the Court cannot overlook the fact that, as also acknowledged by the Government, once both occupants of the flat were under the unit’s control, the applicant was pushed to the ground with a boot against her back in order to stop her raising her head to see her husband. In the Court’s view, at that point it can no longer be said that the officers were acting in the heat of the moment or that they could still have held a genuine belief that their lives or safety were endangered. (…) Rather, this appears to have been a form of reprisal against the applicant for disobeying the order to remain still and thus witnessing the alleged ill-treatment of her husband (see,mutatis mutandis,Dedovskiy and Others v. Russia, no. 7178/03, §§ 83-85, ECHR 2008 (extracts), and Vladimir Romanov v. Russia, no. 41461/02, §§ 65-70, 24 July 2008).  

36. The Court considers that this kind of treatment, even if prompted by the applicant’s actions (raising her head), was not made strictly necessary by that conduct, which did not cause any danger. Since any such treatment in such conditions diminishes human dignity, it constitutes an interference with the right set forth in Article 3 in this respect (see paragraph 30 above), namely protection from degrading treatment within the meaning of that provision.

37. (…) When the authorities have sufficient time to prepare an operation potentially involving the use of force, the Court must carefully scrutinise themanner in whichit was planned (see, mutatis mutandisMcCann and Others, cited above, § 194), with a view to determining whether all reasonable measures were taken in order to minimise or even avoid the use of force. 

38. In the present case (…) despite the availability of that information, it appears that several officers went to his flat without any back-up planin the event that the occupants refused to open the door. Moreover, when it was eventually decided to call the special forces, the latter were completely unaware of the operation until the unit commander was called at around 1.45 p.m. (…) This means that the unit had to improvise many of its actions, making the possibility of the use of excessive force more likely than if the entire operation had been thoroughly planned. 


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