Tomasi v. France (Application no. 12850/87)

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


114. According to the Government, on the other hand, the “minimum level of severity” required by the Court’s case-law (see the Ireland v. the United Kingdom judgment cited above and the Tyrer v. the United Kingdom judgment of 25 April 1978, Series A no. 26) had not been attained. It was necessary to take into account not only that the injuries were slight, but also the other facts of the case: Mr Tomasi’s youth and good state of health, the moderate length of the interrogations (fourteen hours, three of which were during the night), “particular circumstances” obtaining in Corsica at the time and the fact that he had been suspected of participating in a terrorist attack which had resulted in the death of one man and grave injuries to another. In the Government’s view, the Commission’s interpretation of Article 3 (art. 3) in this case was based on a misunderstanding of the aim of that provision.

115. The Court cannot accept this argument. It does not consider that it has to examine the system of police custody in France and the rules pertaining thereto, or, in this case, the length and the timing of the applicant’s interrogations. It finds it sufficient to observe that the medical certificates and reports, drawn up in total independence by medical practitioners, attest to the large number of blows inflicted on Mr Tomasi and their intensity; these are two elements which are sufficiently serious to render such treatment inhuman and degrading. The requirements of the investigation and the undeniable difficulties inherent in the fight against crime, particularly with regard to terrorism, cannot result in limits being placed on the protection to be afforded in respect of the physical integrity of individuals.

116. There has accordingly been a violation of Article 3 (art. 3).


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