Shchiborshch and Kuzmina v. Russia (Application No. 5269/08)

Key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.

240. In paragraph 228 above the Court has found insufficient evidence to conclude that Mr Shchiborshch’s death was directly caused by the use of force by the police. However, even assuming that the lethal injuries were the consequence of his own actions, the Court considers this to be the result of the way in which the involuntary hospitalisation operation was carried out, in particular: (i) emergency psychiatric assistance was called for with an inexplicable delay; (ii) both police units, who had received no special training in dealing with mentally disturbed individuals, acted on their own in the absence of qualified medical personnel, contrary to domestic law; (iii) the police used force as if dealing with any armed offender and without regard to Mr Shchiborshch’s delirious state or to the fact that he did not pose an immediate danger to either himself or others; (iv) the storming of the kitchen in which Mr Shchiborshch had barricaded himself, in the course of which he sustained injuries that proved lethal, was not subject to any preliminary planning and assessment but was hastily decided at the scene in the absence of any call for urgent action. Taking into consideration all these circumstances, the Court cannot but conclude that the police operation in the present case was conducted in an uncontrolled and unconsidered manner and that the measures taken by the police lacked the degree of caution to be expected from law-enforcement officers in a democratic society.


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