Judgment of ECtHR on Badalyan v Azerbaijan case

On July 22, 2021 the Court held, by six votes to one, that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention, held, unanimously, that there has been a violation of Article 5 of the Convention as well as held by six votes to one that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 30,000 (thirty-thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non pecuniary damage, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement.
The Court found that the respondent Government have failed to provide a satisfactory and convincing explanation to show that the applicant’s serious mental injuries identified immediately upon his release and diagnosed later were neither entirely, mainly or partly caused by the conditions of his detention and the treatment he underwent while in the respondent State’s captivity. It therefore concludes that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention.
The Court noted that the respondent Government have not put forward any materials or concrete information to show that the applicant was to be regarded as a prisoner of war. It is also for that reason that the Court above has dismissed the respondent Government’s argument that the Convention as a whole is inapplicable (see paragraphs 19 and 23 above). No other arguments have been advanced to the effect that Article 5 of the Convention does not apply to the applicant’s case, and the respondent Government have not argued that his detention was in conformity with any of the sub-paragraphs in Article 5 § 1 or that the applicant was afforded any of the procedural guarantees in the following paragraphs. In the circumstances of the instant case, the foregoing observations suffice for the Court to conclude that there has been a violation of that provision
On 9 May 2009 the Arthur Badalyan went with a group of friends to the village of Navur near the town of Berd, close to the border to Azerbaijan, to pick mushrooms in the forest. He disappeared and was captured by Azerbaijani forces. His relatives contacted Armenian authorities, after which he was registered as a missing person in Armenia and a search for him was made in the relevant area. However, his whereabouts remained unknown to his family and the Armenian authorities until, in November 2010, a registration of Armenian captives was held in Azerbaijan with the arrangement of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Badalyan was registered by the ICRC on 5 November 2010 and was thereafter regularly visited in detention until 17 March 2011 when he was released to the Armenian authorities through the mediation of the ICRC as part of an exchange of captives.
Badalyan claims that he was held captive for 22 months in a closed cell. He was not given enough food and often he was not allowed to go to the toilet, thus having to care for his needs in the cell. Moreover, he was subjected to harsh torture and mental anguish, as he was deemed to be a military prisoner, and was regularly harassed to divulge information. He was often beaten on his legs, so that he could not feel or move them. Electric wires were frequently attached to his fingers and the power switched on, causing severe pains. His cell door was hit with metallic objects, as a result of which he now suffers from a hearing disorder.