Court Condemns Croatia for Failing to Fulfill Its Positive Obligations under Article 3 of the ECHR

Strasbourg: Yesterday, the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the case of Beganović v. Croatia concerning the violent beating of Mr Darko Beganović, a Romani man, by a group of seven men and the failure of Croatian authorities to conduct an effective investigation and prosecute the perpetrators.

The Court held that the Croatian prosecuting authorities and the courts failed to satisfy the requirement of effectiveness of the criminal-law mechanisms for the purposes of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR) prohibiting torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. The ineffectiveness on part of the prosecuting authorities resulted in the criminal complaint against the perpetrators becoming time barred.

The applicant in the case was brutally beaten in the company of five friends by a group of seven young men on 24 April 2000. The seven men proceeded to hit him until he fell to the ground and then continued kicking him. When the beating stopped and Mr Beganović stood up, he was hit on the head with a wooden plank, which caused him to lose consciousness. As a result of the violent group beating, Mr Beganović sustained bodily injuries, including a concussion.

Domestic criminal complaints were lodged on 12 June 2000 by the applicant's counsel against the seven individuals. However, due to inactiveness and erroneous handling of the criminal complaint by the prosecutorial authorities, the complaint became time barred as of 23 April 2004.

As a result, the ERRC and its partner, local lawyer Lovorka Kušan, lodged an application with the European Court of Human Rights on 9 November 2006 claiming violations of, inter alia, Article 3 of the ECHR, based on the failure of the Croatian authorities to take the appropriate and necessary steps in the criminal proceedings against the seven perpetrators.

Mr Beganović was awarded 1,000 EUR non-pecuniary damages; the court also awarded 6,250 EUR in respect of costs and expenses.

The full text of the judgment is available HERE.

For further information, contact:

Lydia Gall, ERRC Legal Advisor,
lydia.gall@errc.org, + 36.1.413.2200

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