European Court of Human Rights: review of the Grand Chamber judgment of 16 February 2021 in the case of Hanan v. Germany (application no.4871/16)

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DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2021-3-59-67

Keywords: actions of armed forces abroad; adequacy, promptness, reasonable expeditiousness and independence of the investigation; existence of remedy to challenge effectiveness of investigation; obligation to conduct effective investigation; participation of the next-of-kin and public scrutiny; right to life


In Hanan v. Germany (application no.4871/16), the European Court of Human Rights considered the issue of the effectiveness of the German authorities’ investigation of the deaths of the applicant’s two sons as the result of an airstrike. The Court decided that the investigation satisfied the requirements of Article 2 of the Convention. The Court pointed out that all the circumstances needed to determine criminal liability of the suspected persons were established during the investigation. Delay in starting the investigation was due to the deaths having occurred in the active hostilities phase of an armed conflict. However, the investigation was able to identify the person who ordered the airstrike. The applicant, as next-of-kin of the persons killed, was not deprived of an opportunity to participate in the investigation. The Court concluded that the failure to examine the applicant as a witness did not constitute a violation of Article 2 of Convention, because he could not have provided additional information to determine the criminal liability of the person who ordered the airstrike. Also, the Court noted that the applicant had effective remedies to challenge the effectiveness of the investigation and had used these.

Citation: (2021) Evropeyskiy Sud po pravam cheloveka: obzor postanovleniya Bol'shoy Palaty ot 16 fevralya 2021 goda po delu Khanan protiv Germanii (zhaloba no.4871/16) [European Court of Human Rights: review of the Grand Chamber judgment of 16 February 2021 in the case of Hanan v. Germany (application no.4871/16)]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.11, no.3, pp.59–67. (In Russian).