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Failure to investigate alleged police violence

Jasar v. "the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia"  | 2007

Failure to investigate alleged police violence

The court notes that the national authorities took no steps to identify who was present when the applicant was apprehended or when his injuries were received, nor is there any indication that any witnesses, police officers concerned or the doctor, who had examined the applicant, were questioned about the applicant's injuries.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, February 2007

Background

Pejrusan Jasar was in a bar in Štip. A row started, which Mr Jasar said had been on the other side of the bar to him. When police arrived, they decided to take everyone present into custody.

According to Mr Jasar, he was taken into a cell in the local police station and told to bend over. A police officer then allegedly kicked him in the head, before punching him and beating him with a truncheon.  A medical report the following day confirmed that Mr Jasar had suffered a series of injuries. 

Mr Jasar complained to the authorities. However, the public prosecutor took no steps to investigate. Mr Jasar could not obtain any further evidence and was blocked from bringing a criminal complaint to court himself.

Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights

The European court ruled that there had never been any investigation of Mr Jasar’s allegations of police brutality. This had violated his basic rights.

Follow-up

As a result of this case and a series of similar findings by the European court, various steps were taken to make sure that allegations of police brutality are properly investigated in the country.

  • In 2010 a new Public Prosecution Law was introduced, containing legal reforms specifically designed to address the shortcomings identified by the European court. It included a requirement that public prosecutors must come to a decision on a criminal complaint within three months of receiving it. If a public prosecutor fails to do this, they will be obliged to inform the complainant and a superior prosecutor;
  • A binding instruction issued in 2013 specified that all cases of alleged ill-treatment or torture by the authorities should be reported to the Prosecutor General;
  • Training was organised for judges, prosecutors and police officers, explaining the European court’s standards for properly investigating allegations of police brutality. 

Mr Jasar was awarded 3,000 euros in compensation.