ECtHR fines Turkey for malpractice in 2002 rape case

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ruled that Turkey violated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the case of G.U., who was allegedly raped by her stepfather in 2002.

Without expressing an opinion on the stepfather’s guilt, the court found that the competent authorities had failed to explore the available possibilities for establishing all the surrounding circumstances and had not taken into consideration G.U.’s particular vulnerability and the special psychological factors involved in the rape of minors committed in a family setting,” the court said in its ruling.

According to the ECtHR, the investigation and trial of the case had numerous instances of malpractice and thus violated the victim’s rights, including the “prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment/lack of an effective investigation” and “right to respect for private and family life.”

G.U. went to a police station in 2002 alleging that she had been raped by her stepfather, identified as M.S.

The report of a local hospital where she was taken by police for examination said that “her hymen had been torn some time previously but that it was impossible to determine when, and that there was no physical trace of rape.”

After a local court refused to grant her request that the proceedings be held in private, the trial, in which the perpetrator was acquitted, was held in open court. G.U. then applied to the ECtHR complaining about the lack of an effective procedure, based on Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights “prohibiting inhuman or degrading treatment/lack of an effective investigation.” She also alleged that she was the victim of a crime in which the perpetrator went unpunished.

The final ruling of the ECtHR said “the investigation carried out in the case, and particularly the approach taken by the local court, did not satisfy the requirements inherent in the obligations appertaining to the State with regard to the enactment of criminal-law provisions and their effective application.”

The ECtHR ordered Turkey to pay G.U. 15,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages and 2,000 euros for costs and expenses.

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