CASE OF LÁSZLÓ KÁROLY v. HUNGARY (No. 2)
(Application no. 50218/08)
12 February 2013
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of László Károly v. Hungary (no. 2),
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque,
Helen Keller, judges,
and Stanley Naismith, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 22 January 2013,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“... [T]he private substitute prosecutor’s statement of serious and lasting ill-treatment could not be verified by any of the experts. They all, however, stated that the injuries [sustained] could result from the applicant’s resistance to the coercive measure and the fact that he had need to be forced down on the ground.”
On 28 January 2008 the Budapest Regional Court dismissed the claim. On appeal, on 18 November 2008 the Budapest Court of Appeal reversed this judgment and ordered each of the two main respondents to pay the applicant 500,000 Hungarian forints as compensation for having unlawfully prosecuted him for drunken driving and for violence against an official. Without addressing the issue of the alleged police brutality, the Court of Appeal established that there had been irregularities concerning the measuring of the applicant’s level of blood alcohol, noted that it had not been sufficiently clarified if he had been in the act of driving at all, and found that his conduct had not been proven to have physically countered the police measure in question.
On 29 March 2010 the Supreme Court upheld this judgment.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION
The Court considers that the application falls to be examined under Article 3 alone, which reads as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The Court recalls that ill-treatment must attain a minimum level of severity if it is to fall within the scope of Article 3. The assessment of this minimum is relative: it depends on all the circumstances of the case, such as the duration of the treatment, its physical and/or mental effects and, in some cases, the sex, age and state of health of the victim. In respect of a person deprived of his liberty, recourse to physical force which has not been made strictly necessary by his own conduct diminishes human dignity and is in principle an infringement of the right set forth in Article 3 (see, among many authorities, Tekin v. Turkey, 9 June 1998, §§ 52 and 53, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1998-IV).
It remains to be considered whether the State should be held responsible under Article 3 for these injuries.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Declares the application admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 5,000 (five thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 3,000 (three thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
4. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 12 February 2013, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Stanley Naismith Guido
. Approximately 2,000 euros at the time.