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Master’s Program WS 2014/15
“International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law”
Module IHL020: Civil and Political Rights
Case 1
I. Facts
Amalia Lander took part in a demonstration on 6 March 2008 to mark the Women’s Day
celebrations in a public square in the city of Isora – the capital of Torania, during which a
large number of police officers formed a ring around the crowd. When the celebrations ended
with a press release issued by a number of women’s organisations claiming equal rights for
women and the crowds began to disperse, police officers started hitting people, including
Amalia Lander, with their truncheons and the ends of their weapons and sprayed them with
tear gas. As a result of the blows to her head, face and other parts of the body, Amalia Lander
fell to the ground. Whilst she was on the ground police officers continued to kick and hit her
with their sticks. The police officers also swore at her and insulted her.
Amalia Lander was seriously injured and was left semi-conscious. She had to be helped by a
member of the public to leave the area. The incident was widely publicised in the national and
international media. A video footage gives evidence of the events. The footage is a
compilation of news aired by national television channels, as well as the official video
recording of the events by a police cameraman. The footage shows police officers wearing gas
masks hitting with their truncheons a large number of demonstrators who try to run away
from the area. Demonstrators fallen to the ground are also kicked and hit with truncheons. A
male demonstrator who uses his body to protect a woman on the ground is kicked in the face
by a police officer. When police officers notice a number of demonstrators hiding in bushes,
they spray them with tear gas before hitting them with their truncheons. Two women on the
ground trying to protect themselves from attacks by police officers are sprayed with tear gas.
Women who had taken refuge in nearby shops and cafes are dragged out by the police and
beaten up.
According to the report prepared by an expert who was appointed by the domestic
investigating authorities to examine the video footage and prepare a report, police officers had
not issued any warnings to the demonstrators to disperse before attacking them. The
demonstrators had not resisted the police intervention and had not attacked the police but had
simply tried to run away from the area. Police had hit the demonstrators – including those
who had fallen to the ground – with their truncheons, kicked them, punched them and sprayed
them with tear gas.
On 8 March 2008 Amalia Lander submitted a written request to the regional prosecutor and
requested a medical examination. She alleged that excessive force had been used by the police
officers during the incident and as a result of that force various parts of her body had been
injured. The prosecutor referred Amalia Lander to the Forensic Medicine Institute for a
medical examination.
According to the report of the medical examination carried out at the regional branch of the
Forensic Medicine Institute the same day, a large number of ecchymosed areas of various
sizes were present on her body including her left upper arm, right forearm, left femur,
buttocks and knees. The doctor concluded that Amalia Lander’s injuries would prevent her
from working for a period of five days.
On 11 March 2008 Amalia Lander lodged an official complaint with the city of Isora
prosecutor against the Governor of City of Isora and the police officers responsible for her illtreatment.
She pointed out that, according to the applicable legislation, no prior notice or
permission was necessary to read out a press release on women’s rights. She requested that
the Governor and the police chiefs who abused their duties by not allowing her to enjoy her
right to assembly, as well as the police officers who had ill-treated her, be put on trial. She
complained that excessive force and tear gas had been used by the police officers against her
and against her fellow demonstrators when they were dispersing and leaving the area of their
own accord. Footage shown on television channels and photographs published in newspapers
had showed the scale of the incident.
On 8 April 2008 the Chief Prosecutor at the Court of Cassation concluded that Amalia Lander
had not mentioned a specific incident that could be attributed to the Governor. A decision was
thus made not to prosecute the Governor.
The disciplinary board of the police considered on 6 June 2008 that six of the police officers
had kicked the demonstrators and had also hit them with their truncheons. It held that the
police officers’ actions amounted to “degrading behaviour”, and decided to “condemn” the
actions of three police chiefs for failing to train the six police officers properly. It also
imposed a fine – equivalent to three days’ salary – on the six police officers in question.
On 12 December 2008 the city of Isora prosecutor decided not to bring criminal proceedings
against forty-four police officers for the offence of abuse of duty in respect of victims and
complainants whose bodies did not bear any injuries. In the prosecutor’s decision thirty-nine
persons, including Amalia Lander, were named as victims and complainants. Amalia Lander
lodged an objection against the prosecutor’s decision in which she repeated her complaints
about the excessive use of force against her. Amalia Lander’s objection was rejected on 28
September 2010 by the Court.
In the meantime, on 9 December 2008 the city of Isora prosecutor filed an indictment with the
city of Isora Criminal Court of First Instance and accused a total of fifty-four police officers
of the offence of causing injuries by exceeding the limits of their powers on the use of force.
In this indictment forty-nine persons, including Amalia Lander, were listed as victims and
complainants.
References were made in the indictment to a report which had been forwarded to the
prosecutor on 28 April 2008 and which pertained to an investigation conducted by four senior
police inspectors in the immediate aftermath of the events. According to the indictment, it was
concluded in the inspectors’ report that seven of the fifty-four police officers named as
“suspects” in the indictment had used excessive force against fifteen of the complainants and
victims, including Amalia Lander. The inspectors considered that the seven officers had not
used their truncheons in accordance with the applicable regulations and had even kicked a
number of female demonstrators who had already been neutralised.
The trial which began before the Fourth Division of the city of Isora Criminal Court of First
Instance (hereinafter the “trial court”) in 2008, was concluded on 12 May 2013. The trial
court concluded in its judgment that the police officers M.C., A.O.P., S.B., Y.K. and E.B. had
used excessive force against the demonstrators and committed the offence of ill-treatment
defined in section 245 of the Criminal Code. It sentenced these officers to terms of
imprisonment ranging from five to ten months. The officer C.U., who was found to have
broken a bone of one of the demonstrators, was found guilty of the offence of causing
grievous bodily harm while using his powers as a public official and sentenced to twenty-one
months’ imprisonment. The remaining forty-eight defendant police officers were acquitted for
lack of evidence.
The criminal proceedings against the police officers were discontinued on 8 April 2014 on
account of the statute of limitations. Amalia Lander lodged a complaint with the
Constitutional Court by referring expressly to her rights (see complaint of 11 March 2008)
and the discontinuation of criminal proceedings against the police officers. The Court
dismissed her complaint on 30 September 2014.
II. Relevant domestic law of Torania
Criminal Code
Section 245: Any law-enforcement officer who, in the course of duty and in circumstances
other than those prescribed by law, ill-treats, injures or hits a person or inflicts on them bodily
harm, shall be sentenced to between three months’ and five years’ imprisonment and
temporarily barred from public service.
Law on Meetings and Demonstration Marches
Section 10: In order for a meeting to take place, the governor’s office or authorities of the
district in which the demonstration is planned must be informed, during opening hours and at
least seventy-two hours prior to the meeting, by a notice containing the signature of all the
members of the organising board.
Section 22: Demonstrations organised in public squares must comply with security
instructions and not disrupt individuals’ movement or public transport.
Section 24: Demonstrations and processions which do not comply with the provisions of this
law will be dispersed by force on the order of the governor’s office and after the
demonstrators have been warned.
Task:
Please advice Ms Amalia Lander whether an application to the Human Rights Committee
would be successful as regards to the admissibility and the merits.
Torania ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Optional
Protocol to the ICCPR on 30 April 1998.
Task:
1. Students from non-European countries: case 1
Please advice whether an application to the Human Rights Committee would be successful
as regards to the admissibility and the merits.
2. Students from European countries: case 2
Please advice whether an application to the European Court of Human Rights would be
successful as regards to the admissibility and the merits.
Recommendations:
• Indication of original sources of international treaties/documents (UNTS, CETS, etc.)
• Interpretation of legal norms (see interpretation rules: Art. 31, 32 VCLT)
• Analysis of material law: scope of protection, interference, justification
• Discussion of scholar’s opinion
• Discussion of relevant case law
Proposal for structure:
I. Introduction (short)
II. Admissibility
1.
2.
3.
4.

III. Merits
1. Art.
a)
b)
c)
2. Art.

IV. Conclusion (short)
V. Bibliography
VC


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