Thursday, 14 November 2013

Georgescu v Romania - inadmissible

The Third Section of the European Court of Human Rights have deemed the complaint in Georgescu v Romania inadmissible.

The facts

The applicant, Mr Adrian Costin Georgescu, is a Romanian national and a member of the non-governmental organisation ACCEPT which campaigns against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation in Romania.

The applicant's complaint related to his questioning by the police on 19 December 2000 as part of a murder investigation in which the victim was a homosexual.

The applicant was telephoned by a police sergeant and asked to attend police headquarters but was not informed of the reasons for this request. When he attended the police station he was interviewed, again without being given information about the nature of the investigation. During the interview the interviewing officer asked the applicant questions about his sexual orientation. 

The applicant claimed that he was emotionally traumatised by the police interview. 

On 27 December 2000 and 15 January 2001, the applicant filed two complaints in respect of abuse of office and abusive behaviour in respect of his treatment by the police. Failure of these complaints resulted in the applicant, assisted by ACCEPT, filing a complaint with the Supreme Court of Justice. That complaint was recorded at the Supreme Court of Justice on 29 November 2001 but the applicant was not contacted or informed of the outcome of his complaint.

In 2010 the applicant asked the High Court of Cassation and Justice (former Supreme Court) about the progress of the complaint. By letter dated 28 January 2010, the High court informed the applicant that there was no record of his complaint.

Complaint

The applicant complained, inter alia, that the investigations on 19 December 2000 by the police violated his rights under Articles 3, 8, 13 and 14 of the Convention.

The applicant complained that during the interrogation he was subject to inhuman and degrading treatment because of the content of the interrogation and the fact that he was photographed and his fingerprints were taken. He also complained that he was the victim of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Court decision

Drawing on its judgment in Smith and Grady v the United Kingdom the Court held that the interrogation and investigation did not reach the minimum level of severity to fall within the scope of Article 3 of the Convention.

In respect of the other aspects of the complaint under Articles 8, 13 and 14 the Court did not consider the merits. 

Rather, the Court rejected the applicant's complaint under Article 35 of the Convention for being out of time because it was made six months after the final decision of the domestic authorities. 

Although the applicant had filed a complaint with the Supreme Court and had not heard back from them, the Court held that he should have realised that the case was not progressing and contacted the Supreme Court. The Court stated that, instead of undertaking this action, the applicant 'remained completely passive for more than a year without demonstrating the existence of specific circumstances that could justify [...] his inaction'. 

On the basis of its conclusion under Article 35, the Court deemed the application inadmissible. 


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