Slovakia Requests an Advisory Opinion to the European Court of Human Rights on Investigations Against Police Officers
The consultative mechanism provided for by Protocol n. 16 ECHR is applied for the third time
The Supreme Court of Slovakia has asked the European Court of Human Rights to provide an advisory opinion under art. 1 Protocol No. 16 ECHR, which allows the highest courts and tribunals of the Contracting State to request the European Court to give (non-binding) advisory opinions "on questions of principle relating to the interpretation or application of the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention or the protocols thereto". The consultative mechanism provided for by Protocol No. 16 – which wasn’t ratified by Italy – is thus applied for the third time: France made the first request in October 2018 and the Court delivered its opinion on the 10th of April 2019, while Armenia made the second request in August 2019 and the Court delivered its opinion on the 29th of May 2020.
The request of the Supreme Court of Slovakia was made in the context of a criminal proceeding brought against a police officer (convicted for assaulting a woman), who in his appeal contested that the investigations against him had been carried out by a Department of the Ministry of the Interior, which allegedly did not meet the criteria of impartiality and independence. The Supreme Court therefore asked for guidance from the European Court on whether the Department in question meets the criteria laid down by the ECHR under Article 2 (right to life), Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial) concerning the investigation of crimes committed by police officers, in particular that such investigations have to be carried out by an independent and impartial authority.
To read the Court's press release, click here.