GÜLEÇ v. TURKEY (54/1997/838/1044) 27 July 1998: – alleged unlawful killing by security forces during a demonstration and lack of an appropriate investigation into the circumstances.

Turkey – alleged unlawful killing by security forces during a demonstration and lack of an appropriate investigation into the circumstances.

II. ARTICLE 2 OF THE CONVENTION

A. The applicant's son's death

Reference to Court's case-law concerning role of Commission in establishment of facts.

Case file had not revealed any reason to cast doubt on establishment of facts as set out in Commission's report.

Demonstration was far from peaceful – confronted with acts of violence which were, admittedly, serious, security forces called for reinforcements and armoured vehicles were deployed – allegation that shots were fired at crowd corroborated by fact that nearly all wounded demonstrators had been hit in legs, which was perfectly consistent with ricochet wounds from bullets with a downward trajectory which could have been fired from turret of an armoured vehicle.

Use of force might have been justified in present case under paragraph 2 (c) of Article 2, but a balance must be struck between aim and means – gendarmes had used a very powerful weapon, apparently not having any batons, riot shields, water cannon, rubber bullets or tear gas – lack of these all the more incomprehensible and unacceptable because province of Sirnak was in a region where a state of emergency had been declared, and where, at the material time, disorder could have been expected.

Question whether there were terrorists among demonstrators: Government produced no evidence to support assertion.

Force used to disperse demonstrators, which had caused death of Ahmet Güleç, not absolutely necessary within the meaning of Article 2.

Conclusion: violation (unanimously).

B. The investigation conducted by the national authorities

Reference to Court’s case-law concerning procedural obligation contained in Article 2 requiring Contracting States to conduct an effective investigation when individuals are killed by State’s agents.

Authorities responsible for the investigation convinced that victim’s death was caused by a shot fired by PKK terrorists but did not verify whether this was so.

Neither the prevalence of violent armed clashes nor the high incidence of fatalities could displace the obligation under Article 2 to ensure that an effective, independent investigation was conducted into deaths arising out of clashes involving the security forces or, as in the present case, a demonstration, however illegal it might have been – authorities had not complied with this obligation in present case.

Conclusion: violation (unanimously).

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