European Court of Human Rights: review of the Grand Chamber judgment of 2 February 2021 in the case of X and Others v. Bulgaria (аpplication no.22457/16)

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DOI: 10.21128/2226-2059-2021-3-68-74

Keywords: best interests of the child, duty to protect children, effective investigation, international judicial cooperation, positive obligations under Article 3, sexual abuse

Abstract

In X and Others v. Bulgaria, the European Court of Human Rights analysed the procedural obligation under Article 3 of the Convention to investigate cases where children may have been victims of sexual abuse. The Court reiterated that this obligation needs to pursue an obvious line of inquiry. The Grand Chamber also decided that in such cases, the requirement to conduct an effective investigation must be interpreted in light of obligations that arise from other applicable international instruments, and more specifically, the Lanzarote Convention. In this regard, the procedural obligation under Article 3 of the Convention may include inter alia an obligation for the investigating authorities to cooperate with the authorities of another State, as well as a necessity to conduct investigative measures of a more covert nature. However, the Bulgarian authorities neglected to pursue certain lines of enquiry in the applicants’ case. In particular, they failed to use international cooperation mechanisms and did not carry out numerous investigative measures, including covert measures. According to the Court, the Bulgarian authorities did not take all reasonable measures to shed light on the facts of the case and did not undertake a full and careful analysis of the evidence provided. Consequently, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of procedural limb of Article 3 of the Convention.

Citation: (2021) Evropeyskiy Sud po pravam cheloveka: obzor postanovleniya Bol'shoy Palaty ot 2 fevralya 2021 goda po delu X and Others v. Bulgaria (zhaloba no.22457/16) [European Court of Human Rights: review of the Grand Chamber judgment of 2 February 2021 in the case of X and Others v. Bulgaria (аpplication no.22457/16)]. Mezhdunarodnoe pravosudie, vol.11, no.3, pp.68–74. (In Russian).

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