Tech & Rights

Another Police Violence Case in Romania Brings Condemnation from Human Rights Court

The beating of a 19-year-old woman by Romanian police has led to yet another judgment against the country by the European Court of Human Rights, which condemned Romania for improperly investigating the incident.

by The Association for the Defense of Human Rights in Romania – the Helsinki Committee

Anca Doiciu arrived at a police station in Predeal, Romania, on January 3, 2001. Her fiancé had been arrested following an altercation with a taxi driver and she was asked to come and provide a witness statement.

The police became violent during their interview with her fiancé. Doiciu, 19 at the time, tried to defend him, but was herself beaten.

Four colleagues watched as a police officer identified as L.I. beat her so severely that she was concussed and had contusions to her face and nose. Her injuries required two weeks of medical care.

‘One slap’

Doiciu submitted a criminal complaint against officer L.I. to the military prosecutor's office, since in 2001 the police had not yet been demilitarized.

According to the ensuing investigation of the military prosecutor, the 19-year-old woman had jumped on the policeman to beat him, and he'd only given her one slap. In April 2002, after an investigation lasting a little over a year, the case ended with the policeman receiving an administrative fine because of the “lack of seriousness of the facts."

The fine was subsequently canceled and officer L.I. was promoted to the position of principle chief agent (station sergeant) around two years later.

Anca Catalina Doiciu continued to fight her case in front of Romanian courts until 2008, without obtaining a favorable decision. In that year, her case finally reached the European Court of Human Rights.

Article 3 violations

On May 5, 2015, the Court of Human Rights issued its decision, finding that Romania had violated the Convention on Human Rights when it failed to provide justice to Doiciu.

Pointing in particular to Article 3, which prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment, the court found violations in both the ill-treatment of the applicant and the ineffective investigation that followed.

The court stated that even under the most difficult circumstances, such as when it comes to fighting terrorism, inhuman treatment and torture are prohibited by the Convention, particularly when victims try to provoke policemen.

"With today's decision, the European Court of Human Rights once again tells Romania that torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are prohibited when committed by state agents, regardless of the circumstances, and that allegations of such treatments should be investigated internally with maximum speed and reliability," said Diana Olivia Hatneanu, an attorney for APADOR-CH who represented Doiciu before the court.

The court awarded Doiciu 11,000 euros for non-pecuniary damage and roughly 2,500 euros for costs and expenses.

Lawyers from APADOR-CH also represented the applicant in another case of Romanian police abuse, Flamanzeanu v. Romania, which was issued in November 2014.

A sad statistic of recent police abuse against Romanian citizens can be found here.

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