1 October 2020

1383rd meeting, 29 September – 1 October 2020 (DH)


H46-9 Gubacsi group v. Hungary (Application No. 44686/07)

Supervision of the execution of the European Court’s judgments

Reference document




The Deputies

1.         recalled that this group of cases concerns ill-treatment (between 2000 and 2016) by law enforcement officers during arrest, transfer and detention, lack of effective investigations, including failure to investigate possible racist motives for ill-treatment, and violations of the right to life;

As regards individual measures

2.         reiterating the Committee of Ministers’ constant position that respondent States have a continuing obligation to conduct effective investigations into alleged abuses by members of the security forces, expressed their deep concern that, nine years after the leading case of this group became final, no information on the measures taken to ensure the conduct of effective investigations into the applicants’ relevant complaints has been submitted in respect of ten of the 12 cases at issue, and that the information according to which reopening of investigations appears to be impossible in the remaining cases does not allow the Committee to assess whether this situation is Convention-compliant;

3.         urged the authorities to ensure without further delay that a competent independent body makes every effort to examine, in compliance with the Convention standards, which investigatory steps may still be taken and to ascertain in reasoned decisions, subject to judicial review, what investigatory steps may no longer be taken for practical or legal reasons; furthermore urged the authorities to re-examine the possibility of reopening and completing, as a matter of priority, the investigations and any consequent criminal proceedings in those cases which are not yet time-barred, and keep the Committee informed of any developments;

4.         invited, in this context, the authorities to provide information on the measures taken or envisaged to ensure that complaints for police ill-treatment dismissed at the investigatory stage (without indictment) are re‑examined ex officio in cases where the European Court has found a violation;

As regards general measures

5.         noting with interest a number of legislative amendments aimed at eradicating ill-treatment (in particular the increase of criminal sentences for ill-treatment by law enforcement officers and the resultant extension of the prescription periods), invited the authorities to provide information on measures taken in order to enhance the operation and effectiveness of the National Preventive Mechanism function of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights;

6.         concerning safeguards against ill-treatment and in particular the detainees’ access to a doctor, urged the authorities to provide information on further measures a) to improve the quality of the medical examination of detained persons in police holding facilities complaining of ill-treatment, b) to establish an independent medical examination body mandated to examine alleged victims of ill-treatment; and c) to ensure the full confidentiality of detainees’ medical examinations also in practice;

7.         called on the authorities, at the highest possible level, to reiterate their zero tolerance message towards ill-treatment in law enforcement; expressed their deep concern that despite the existence of a 2010 instruction by the police leadership aiming to enhance police agents’ human rights training, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights has noted that, in practice, no such training is offered to low-ranking officers; urged the authorities to present a comprehensive plan for the provision of adequate and systematic training to all actors involved in order to prevent and combat ill-treatment by law enforcement officers;

8.         encouraged the authorities to increase their efforts towards equipping a maximum number of police vehicles with operating sound and image recording devices, to extend the use of body cameras within the police force as well as to reflect on measures leading to the installation of adequate recording devices in all police detention facilities and to keep the Committee informed of the progress achieved in this respect; further invited the authorities to present data on the number of recorded interrogations broken down by categories as foreseen by law, and to reflect on the possibility of extending the scope of instances where video recording is mandatory in line with recommendations made by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture

and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT);

9.         expressed grave concern both at the very low rates of indictment following complaints of ill‑treatment by law enforcement officers and at the reportedly lenient sentences imposed by courts in these cases; therefore deeply regretted that no reply has been provided to the Committee’s request for the provision of information on the measures taken or envisaged to remedy the shortcomings of the investigations which were identified in the present judgments; exhorted the authorities to present, without further delay, a strategic plan aimed at tackling and eradicating the problem of ineffective investigations into police ill-treatment;

10.       invited the authorities to submit a comprehensive updated action plan by 31 March 2021 and to provide the Committee with further updated information on the progress achieved and decided to resume consideration of this group of cases at one of their DH meetings in 2021.