Opuz v. Turkey (Application no. 33401/02)

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


128. The Court reiterates that the first sentence of Article 2 § 1 enjoins the State not only to refrain from the intentional and unlawful taking of life, but also to take appropriate steps to safeguard the lives of those within its jurisdiction (see L.C.B. v. the United Kingdom, 9 June 1998, § 36, Reports 1998-III). This involves a primary duty on the State to secure the right to life by putting in place effective criminal-law provisions to deter the commission of offences against the person backed up by law-enforcement machinery for the prevention, suppression and punishment of breaches of such provisions. It also extends in appropriate circumstances to a positive obligation on the authorities to take preventive operational measures to protect an individual whose life is at risk from the criminal acts of another individual (see Osman v. the United Kingdom, 28 October 1998, § 115, Reports 1998-VIII, cited in Kontrová v. Slovakia, no. 7510/04, § 49, 31 May 2007).

129.  (…) For a positive obligation to arise, it must be established that the authorities knew or ought to have known at the time of the existence of a real and immediate risk to the life of an identified individual from the criminal acts of a third party and that they failed to take measures within the scope of their powers which, judged reasonably, might have been expected to avoid that risk. (…)

139. It can be inferred from this practice that the more serious the offence or the greater the risk of further offences, the more likely that the prosecution should continue in the public interest, even if victims withdraw their complaints.

168. The Court reiterates its opinion in respect of the complaint under Article 2 of the Convention, namely that the legislative framework should have enabled the prosecuting authorities to pursue the criminal investigations against H.O. despite the withdrawal of complaints by the applicant on the basis that the violence committed by H.O. was sufficiently serious to warrant prosecution and that there was a constant threat to the applicant’s physical integrity (see paragraphs 137-48 above).


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