Y and Others v. Bulgaria (Application no. 9077/18)

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


105.  Had the authorities carried out a proper risk assessment, in particular on 17 August 2017, it is likely they would have appreciated – based on the information available to them at that time – that Mr V., who was alleged to have access to a handgun and had been repeatedly displaying the signs of an angry, violent and obsessive attitude towards Mrs V., could pose a real and immediate risk to her life, as those notions are to be understood in the context of domestic violence […]  Perhaps more importantly, on 17 August 2017 Mrs V. credibly complained, by way of both a call to the national emergency number and of a written complaint lodged with the local police department, that Mr V. had breached the terms of the final protection order in her favour (see paragraphs 28 and 30-31 above). The authorities thus ought to have appreciated the reality and immediacy of the risk to Mrs V.’s life. The fact that they did not appears to have been at least in part due to the lack of specific training of the relevant officers. It does not seem that the ones who took charge of Mrs V.’s complaints had been specifically trained on the dynamics of domestic violence, as required under the Court’s case-law (see Kurt, cited above, § 172).

106.  The only operational measures taken to protect Mrs V. were the interim and final protection orders issued in her favour (see paragraphs 21-23 above). But those orders then remained without any tangible effect. The former was not acted upon in any way by the police department in charge of enforcing it, and the latter was apparently not even brought to the attention of the police (see paragraphs 25-27 above).

109.  In the circumstances of this case, it is not for the Court to say what measures or combination of measures should have been taken by the Bulgarian authorities to protect Mrs V. from the risk posed by Mr V. to her life. It suffices to note that, as outlined above, the authorities ought to have known at the latest on 17 August 2017, after Mrs V.´s emergency call and her ensuing complaint to the police, that this risk was real and immediate, and that they failed to take any measures at their disposal which, judged reasonably, might have been expected to avoid that risk. Nor is there any evidence that the authorities sought to somehow coordinate their actions in that respect. For instance, it does not appear that the Sofia district prosecutor’s office attempted immediately to contact the Sofia police when it received the complaint which Mrs V. lodged with it the morning before she was killed (see paragraph 34 above). A proper preventive response often requires coordination among multiple authorities (see Kurt, cited above, § 180).

111.  The above considerations lead to the conclusion that there has been a breach of Article 2 of the Convention.


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