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Failure to investigate allegations of police ill-treatment

Kmetty v. Hungary  | 2003

Failure to investigate allegations of police ill-treatment

He said he knew from the beginning that he would win [the case], as he was representing the collective interest when he became a victim of police brutality that seriously violated the rule of law.

Reported by Nol

Background

Ágoston Kmetty was a trader in Budapest Market Hall. During a bomb scare in the market, he was detained by police - allegedly for failing to obey their orders. According to Mr Kmetty, he was then taken to the police station and beaten by policemen for about three hours. No charges were brought against any officers in relation to the incident, on the basis that there had been insufficient evidence of wrongdoing. 

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The Strasbourg court held that the prosecutor had never properly investigated the incident – refusing even to question any of the officers allegedly involved. This violated Mr Kmetty’s right to have his allegation of ill-treatment properly investigated. 

Follow-up

Legal changes mean that, if a prosecutor refuses to properly investigate a crime, the victim now has the opportunity to refer the case to court to have it investigated. A court may only uphold a prosecutor’s decision not to investigate, if it gives proper reasons for doing so.