Shmorgunov and others v. Ukraine (Applications nos. 15367/14 and 13 others)

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

369.  In this connection, the Court notes that the available international material essentially corroborates the above assessment of the largely peaceful nature of the protest on 30 November 2013; that the majority of protesters offered little or no resistance to the police at that stage, unlike during the subsequent protests on other dates between December 2013 and February 2014 (see, among others, paragraphs 24-39 above); and that the police used excessive force to disperse the protesters and when apprehending some of them, despite the absence just referred to of resistance (see, in particular, paragraph 30 of the report of the CPT of 13 January 2015, reproduced at paragraph 250 above, and also other reports summarised and partly reproduced at paragraphs 259 (the report of Amnesty International of 18 February 2015) and 261 (the report of Human Rights Watch of 2 December 2013) above). 

370.  The fact that the police openly used force to disperse even the initial peaceful demonstrations is further demonstrated by a great deal of video and photographic material available showing scenes of the events. 

371.  In so far as the available material concerns specifically the ten applicants, the Court finds no evidence or information indicating that the police’s recourse to physical force against them was made strictly necessary by their conduct. No charges were ever brought against them in relation to the events of 30 November 2013. Nor is there evidence or information in the available material indicating that the force was used against them in compliance with the domestic law. 

372.  Against this background and having regard to the fact that the ten applicants concerned were subjected to beatings, including with rubber and/or plastic batons, which was done publicly and accompanied by verbal abuse in some cases (see paragraphs 47 and 48 above), the Court finds that they were subjected to ill-treatment contrary to Article 3 of the Convention. 

373.  Even though the injuries of some of the applicants were serious, on the basis of the evidence available, the Court does not consider that the illtreatment to which they were subjected was of such nature and severity as to be characterised as torture (see, mutatis mutandis, Gäfgen, cited above, § 108). With regard to Mr R. Ratushnyy, having regard to his injuries and all relevant circumstances, the Court does not consider that a different conclusion is called for in this regard on account of the fact that he was a minor at the time, albeit his ill-treatment may have had a considerable psychological impact on him (see Bouyid, cited above, § 109). 

374.  The Court thus finds that Mr P. Shmorgunov, Mr B. Yegiazaryan, Mr Y. Lepyavko, Mr O. Grabets, Mr O. Bala, Mr F. Lapiy, Mr A. Rudchyk, Ms O. Kovalska, Mr R. Ratushnyy and Mr A. Sokolenko (applications nos. 15367/14, 16280/14, 18118/14, 20546/14, 24405/14, 42271/14 and 19954/15) were subjected to ill-treatment in violation of Article 3 of the Convention. 


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