ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ Европейского суда по правам человека от 04.12.1995"РИБИЧ (ribitsch) ПРОТИВ АВСТРИИ" [рус. (извлечение), англ.]


[неофициальный перевод]
ЕВРОПЕЙСКИЙ СУД ПО ПРАВАМ ЧЕЛОВЕКА
СУДЕБНОЕ РЕШЕНИЕ
РИБИЧ (RIBITSCH) ПРОТИВ АВСТРИИ
(Страсбург, 4 декабря 1995 года)
(Извлечение)
КРАТКОЕ НЕОФИЦИАЛЬНОЕ ИЗЛОЖЕНИЕ ОБСТОЯТЕЛЬСТВ ДЕЛА
A. Основные факты
Г-н Рибич, 1958 г. рождения, гражданин Австрии, проживает совместно с женой в Вене. 21 мая 1988 г. его квартира была подвергнута обыску сотрудниками полиции в связи с уголовными расследованиями фактов и обстоятельств смерти двух человек от повышенной дозы героина. В последующие дни проводились дополнительные обыски и допросы заявителя и его жены.
В полдень 31 мая 1988 г. заявитель и его жена были арестованы по подозрению в незаконном обороте наркотиков и содержались под стражей в полиции до утра 2 июня 1988 г. После освобождения заявитель сообщил нескольким лицам, включая одного журналиста, о плохом обращении, которому он якобы подвергся, находясь в полиции. 2 июня заявитель был обследован в больнице города Мейдлинга, а 3 июня его осмотрел врач - терапевт. В медицинском заключении больницы было зафиксировано наличие нескольких кровоподтеков на правой руке г-на Рибича, что было подтверждено врачом - терапевтом во время судебного разбирательства. Коллега журналиста сделал фотографии этих травм. После освещения инцидента по радио против полицейских, замешанных в этом деле, было начато уголовное расследование. Заявитель принимал в нем участие в качестве гражданской стороны.
Во время судебного разбирательства 13 октября 1989 г. районный уголовный суд г. Вены заслушал обвиняемых полицейских, свидетелей, заявителя, его жену и врача - терапевта, который обследовал заявителя ранее. В результате судебного разбирательства один из полицейских был приговорен за нанесение телесных повреждений к двум месяцам тюремного заключения, отстранен от выполнения служебных обязанностей и получил предписание суда выплатить заявителю одну тысячу австрийских шиллингов. Суд принял версию событий, представленную г-ном Рибичем, и исключил возможность того, что его телесные повреждения могли носить случайный характер. Двое других полицейских были оправданы.
14 сентября 1990 г. Земельный суд отменил Решение районного суда и оправдал полицейского. Тщательно рассмотрев обстоятельства дела, суд пришел к выводу, что представленная полицейским версия событий, согласно которой заявитель ударился о дверь полицейской автомашины, не была опровергнута и что по крайней мере некоторые утверждения заявителя не могут быть доказаны с уверенностью, необходимой для осуждения в уголовном порядке. Кроме того, суд напомнил, что г-н Рибич ранее, в 1988 г., уже привлекался к ответственности за незаконный оборот наркотиков.
26 ноября 1990 г. Конституционный суд по жалобе заявителя вынес Решение, что арест и заключение под стражу заявителя, равно как и обыск без ордера в его доме, были незаконными и нарушили его право на свободу и неприкосновенность жилища; однако Суд отклонил жалобу заявителя относительно ненадлежащего обращения.
B. Разбирательство в Комиссии по правам человека
В жалобе, поданной в Комиссию 5 августа 1991 г., заявитель утверждал, что происшедшее с ним в полиции подпадает под действие статьи 3 Конвенции и положений других ее статей. 20 октября 1993 г. Комиссия признала приемлемой жалобу о нарушении статьи 3 Конвенции, остальную часть жалобы она отклонила.
Предприняв безуспешную попытку добиться мирового соглашения, Комиссия представила 4 июля 1994 г. доклад, в котором изложила факты по делу и выразила мнение, что статья 3 Конвенции была нарушена (десятью голосами против шести).
Комиссия передала дело в Суд 9 сентября 1994 г.
ИЗВЛЕЧЕНИЕ ИЗ СУДЕБНОГО РЕШЕНИЯ
ВОПРОСЫ ПРАВА
I. О предполагаемом нарушении статьи 3 Конвенции
27. Г-н Рибич утверждал, что, находясь под стражей в отделении безопасности федеральной полиции г. Вены, он подвергся плохому обращению, несовместимому со статьей 3 Конвенции, которая гласит:
"Никто не должен подвергаться пыткам и бесчеловечному или унижающему достоинство обращению или наказанию".
28. Правительство оспорило это утверждение. Комиссия признала его достаточно обоснованным.
29. Заявитель утверждал, что ряд свидетелей, включая журналиста, психолога и врачей (см. п. 13 и 16 выше), видели телесные повреждения, имевшиеся у него после освобождения из полицейского участка, в частности кровоподтеки на внутренней и внешней сторонах предплечья правой руки. Эти повреждения могли иметь только одно объяснение, а именно: действия допрашивавших его полицейских, которые до этого грубо оскорбляли его и угрозами принуждали сделать признание (см. п. 15 и 16 выше).
30. Правительство не оспаривало того, что телесные повреждения были получены г-ном Рибичем во время его нахождения в полиции, однако отметило, что внутреннее расследование не выявило незаконных действий со стороны полицейских. Вместе с тем Правительство сослалось на выводы районного суда г. Вены, его оценку доказательств, в частности путем дополнительного судебно-медицинского заключения, а также показаний г-на Рибича и их достоверности. Правительство заявило, что для доказательства нарушения Конвенции необходимо, чтобы факт плохого обращения был доказан "вне всяких сомнений".
31. Комиссия выразила мнение, что государство несет моральную ответственность за любое лицо, содержащееся под арестом, поскольку оно полностью находится во власти полиции. В случае получения телесных повреждений в этот период именно Правительство должно предоставить доказательства, ставящие под сомнение описание событий, сделанное пострадавшим, особенно в тех случаях, когда его показания подтверждены медицинскими документами. В данном деле объяснения Правительства недостаточны для того, чтобы обоснованно усомниться в показаниях заявителя относительно ненадлежащего обращения, которому он подвергся, находясь под стражей в полиции.
32. Суд напоминает, что, согласно положениям Конвенции, установление и проверка фактов являются в основном прерогативой Комиссии (статья 28 п. 1 и статья 31). Однако Суд не ограничивается фактами, установленными Комиссией; он свободен в их оценке в свете всех представленных ему материалов (см. Решение по делу Класса от 22 сентября 1993 г. Серия A, т. 269, с. 17, п. 29). Суд указал далее, что в принципе он не должен противопоставлять свое видение фактов позиции внутренних судов, но тем не менее и он связан выводами внутренних судов не больше, чем выводами Комиссии.
Рассмотрение обстоятельств дела Судом должно быть особенно тщательным в тех случаях, когда выводы Комиссии отличаются от выводов внутренних судов. Суд должен быть особенно внимателен, когда речь идет о правах, содержащихся в статье 3 Конвенции, которая категорически запрещает пытки и унижающее достоинство обращение или наказание, независимо от поведения потерпевшего. В отличие от большинства статей Конвенции и Протоколов N 1 и 4 в статье 3 не предусмотрены никакие исключения, и в соответствии со статьей 15 п. 2 не может быть отступлений от статьи 3 даже в случае чрезвычайного положения, угрожающего существованию нации (см. Решение по делу Ирландия против Соединенного Королевства от 18 января 1978 г. Серия A, т. 25, с. 65, п. 163).
33. В данном деле Суд отмечает следующие факты:
1) Наличие телесных повреждений у г-на Рибича было установлено еще 2 июня 1988 г. в медицинском заключении, выданном в больнице Мейдлинга, и было подтверждено 3 июня 1988 г. врачом - терапевтом, д-ром Шейдлбауэром, и рядом других свидетелей. Во время слушания дела в первой инстанции д-р Шейдлбауэр заявил, что он считает весьма маловероятным, чтобы эти травмы были получены заявителем при ударе о дверь легковой автомашины; во время апелляционного разбирательства специалист в области судебной медицины, назначенный Земельным уголовным судом, заявил, что такой удар может объяснить "только одну из нескольких травм, которые, возможно, были нанесены". Не оспаривается, что заявитель имел ряд кровоподтеков на внешней и внутренней сторонах предплечья правой руки (см. п. 13, 16, 17 и 20 выше).
2) В объяснениях, представленных полицейским инспектором Марклем, имеются противоречия. Его отчет, ошибочно датированный 1 июня 1988 г., был якобы составлен по рекомендации вышестоящего начальника, г-на Гросса, хотя последний заявил, что ему не было известно о каких-либо телесных повреждениях (см. п. 15 и 17 выше). Показания г-на Маркля относительно того, когда заявитель впервые показал ему ушибы на правой руке, являются противоречивыми. Наконец, он не предпринял каких-либо действий по заявлениям свидетелей о том, что г-н Рибич продавал стиральный порошок, который выдавал за героин (см. п. 17 выше).
3) Водитель автомашины, полицейский Фролих, заявил, что он не видел, чтобы г-н Рибич падал (см. п. 15 выше).
4) После тщательного изучения доказательств районный уголовный суд г. Вены признал полицейского Маркля виновным в нанесении телесных повреждений. Суд посчитал заслуживающей доверия версию событий, представленную г-ном Рибичем, опираясь, в частности, на ее совпадение с показаниями врача - терапевта. И наоборот, суд охарактеризовал как "вызывающую сомнения" линию защиты, принятую г-ном Марклем, показания которого казались противоречивыми и сбивчивыми (см. п. 17 выше).
5) В свою очередь Земельный уголовный суд г. Вены оправдал г-на Маркля, поскольку он не имел достаточных оснований "отвергнуть показания обвиняемого или принять хотя бы частично показания гражданской стороны - г-на Рибича - с уверенностью, которая могла бы послужить основанием для осуждения в уголовном порядке". Излагая мотивы своего решения, суд выразил сомнение в достоверности показаний заявителя на основании, не связанном с рассматриваемым им делом, что в октябре 1988 г. г-н Рибич был осужден за преступление, связанное с наркотиками, что он был безработным, что он жил не по средствам и что вместо того, чтобы подать жалобу, "предпочел выступить с обвинениями по австрийскому радио". Обосновывая свое расхождение с оценкой доказательств судом первой инстанции, Земельный уголовный суд высказал предположение о том, что вряд ли полицейский, у которого были веские основания знать о повышенном внимании к делу средств массовой информации, позволил бы себе вопреки логике совершить преступные действия (см. п. 22 выше).
6) Конституционный суд не рассматривал существо жалобы г-на Рибича на плохое обращение. Он отметил незаконность обысков и ареста заявителя и его жены (см. п. 23 выше).
34. Не вызывает сомнений, что г-н Рибич получил телесные повреждения, находясь под стражей в полиции, что в любом случае являлось противозаконным, поскольку он полностью находился под контролем полиции. Оправдание полицейского Маркля судом, связанным принципом презумпции невиновности, не освобождает Австрию от ответственности по Конвенции. Поэтому Правительство было обязано представить правдоподобное объяснение того, каким образом заявитель получил телесные повреждения. Однако Правительство всего лишь сослалось на результаты внутреннего уголовного разбирательства, при котором, как выяснилось, не были соблюдены строгие требования, предъявляемые к доказательствам, необходимым для того, чтобы добиться осуждения в уголовном порядке. Также очевидно, что в этом контексте важную роль сыграло утверждение, что телесные повреждения у заявителя были вызваны ударом о дверь автомашины. Подобно Комиссии, Суд считает такой довод неубедительным; он полагает, что даже если г-н Рибич падал, когда его перевозили под охраной, такое объяснение было бы весьма неполным и поэтому недостаточным для объяснения полученных повреждений.
На основании всех имеющихся в его распоряжении материалов Суд пришел к выводу, что Правительство не представило убедительных доказательств того, что телесные повреждения заявителя были получены каким-либо иным образом, чем - полностью, в основном или частично - вследствие того обращения, которому он подвергся, находясь под стражей.
35. Г-н Рибич утверждал, что то, что он претерпел, находясь под стражей в полиции, является бесчеловечным и унижающим достоинство обращением. Полученные им удары, а также оскорбления и угрозы, которым подверглись он и его жена, находившаяся в заключении одновременно с ним, причинили сильные физические и моральные страдания. Более того, ряд свидетелей подтвердили, что заявителю были нанесены телесные повреждения и он перенес серьезную психологическую травму (см. п. 16 выше).
36. Принимая во внимание исключительную незащищенность заявителя во время незаконного содержания под стражей в полиции, Комиссия заявила, что у нее не вызывает сомнений, что заявитель подвергся физическому насилию, которое представляет собой бесчеловечное и унижающее достоинство обращение.
37. Правительство не оспаривало, что телесные повреждения заявителя, если предполагать установленным, что они действительно были нанесены во время его нахождения под стражей в полиции, были достаточно тяжелыми и тем самым подпадающими под действие статьи 3.
38. Суд подчеркивает, что в отношении лица, лишенного свободы, любое применение физической силы, которое не было крайне необходимо из-за его собственного поведения, унижает его человеческое достоинство и является в принципе нарушением статьи 3 Конвенции. Суд вновь напоминает, что сложность проведения расследований и неоспоримые трудности борьбы с преступностью не должны вести к ограничениям защиты физической неприкосновенности лица (см. Решение по делу Томази от 27 августа 1992 г. Серия A, т. 241-A, с. 42, п. 115).
39. В данном деле телесные повреждения, полученные г-ном Рибичем, свидетельствуют о том, что он претерпел обращение, которое может быть охарактеризовано как ненадлежащее, бесчеловечное и унижающее достоинство.
40. Соответственно, имело место нарушение статьи 3.
II. Применение статьи 50 Конвенции
41. Статья 50 Конвенции предусматривает:
"Если Суд установит, что решение или мера, принятые судебными или иными властями Высокой Договаривающейся Стороны, полностью или частично противоречат обязательствам, вытекающим из настоящей Конвенции, а также если внутреннее право упомянутой Стороны допускает лишь частичное возмещение последствий такого решения или такой меры, то решением Суда, если в этом есть необходимость, предусматривается справедливое возмещение потерпевшей стороне".
42. В соответствии с положениями этой статьи заявитель потребовал выплатить компенсацию за моральный вред и возместить судебные расходы и издержки.
A. Моральный вред
43. Г-н Рибич заявил, что он понес моральный вред, который он оценил в 250000 (двести пятьдесят тысяч) австрийских шиллингов.
44. Правительство не сделало никаких замечаний по этому поводу.
45. Представитель Комиссии заявил, что такая сравнительно высокая сумма должна быть присуждена с тем, чтобы способствовать обращению в суд лиц, находящихся в таком же положении, что и г-н Рибич.
46. Суд считает, что заявителю причинен неоспоримый моральный вред. Принимая во внимание различные относящиеся к делу обстоятельства, Суд, действуя на справедливой основе, как это предписывает статья 50, обязывает выплатить заявителю 100000 (сто тысяч) австрийских шиллингов.
B. Судебные расходы и издержки
47. Г-н Рибич также потребовал оплатить понесенные им судебные расходы и издержки. За слушания дел в судах Австрии он потребовал выплаты 78780 (семидесяти восьми тысяч семисот восьмидесяти) австрийских шиллингов. За рассмотрение дел в органах Конвенции он потребовал выплатить 385375 (триста восемьдесят пять тысяч триста семьдесят пять) австрийских шиллингов за вычетом 20185 (двадцати тысяч ста восьмидесяти пяти) австрийских шиллингов за судебную помощь, которую он получил в Комиссии.
48. Правительство заявило, что, учитывая нормы гонораров Коллегии адвокатов Австрии, большинство требуемых сумм представляются чрезмерно высокими.
49. Представитель Комиссии не сделал никаких замечаний по этому вопросу.
50. На справедливой основе в соответствии с применяемыми им критериями Суд присуждает заявителю сумму в 200000 (двести тысяч) австрийских шиллингов за вычетом 18576 (восемнадцати тысяч пятисот семидесяти шести) французских франков, которые уже были выплачены Советом Европы в качестве судебной помощи.
ПО ЭТИМ ОСНОВАНИЯМ СУД
1. Постановил шестью голосами против трех, что имело место нарушение статьи 3 Конвенции;
2. Постановил шестью голосами против трех, что государство - ответчик должно выплатить заявителю в течение трех месяцев 100000 (сто тысяч) австрийских шиллингов за моральный ущерб;
3. Постановил единогласно, что государство - ответчик должно выплатить заявителю в течение трех месяцев 200000 (двести тысяч) австрийских шиллингов в погашение издержек и расходов за вычетом 18576 (восемнадцати тысяч пятисот семидесяти шести) французских франков, конвертированных в австрийские шиллинги по валютному курсу на день вынесения настоящего Решения;
4. Отклонил единогласно оставшуюся часть требования о справедливом возмещении.
Совершено на английском и французском языках и оглашено во Дворце прав человека в Страсбурге 4 декабря 1995 г.
Председатель
Рольф РИССДАЛ
Грефье
Герберт ПЕТЦОЛЬД



В соответствии со статьей 51 п. 2 Конвенции и статьей 53 п. 2 Регламента Суда A к настоящему Решению прилагается совместное особое мнение судей.
СОВМЕСТНОЕ ОСОБОЕ МНЕНИЕ СУДЕЙ РИССДАЛА,
МАТШЕРА И ЯМБРЕКА
1. В данном случае мы не можем согласиться с мнением большинства членов Палаты, в частности из-за того, что придерживаемся отличного взгляда на обстоятельства дела.
В мае 1988 г., после того как два человека скончались от повышенной дозы героина, специальное подразделение федеральной полиции г. Вены проводило расследования среди окружения наркоманов с целью выявить, кто снабдил умерших наркотиками. В ходе этих расследований помимо других лиц был допрошен г-н Рибич, который был известен как наркоман, а также как лицо, подозреваемое в сбыте наркотиков. Два человека, один из которых был близким другом одного из скончавшихся, опознали г-на Рибича как поставщика дозы героина, вызвавшей смертельный исход.
31 мая 1988 г. полиция арестовала заявителя и провела обыск в его квартире. После того как полицейские обнаружили там некоторое количество наркотиков, г-н Рибич был препровожден в полицию для допроса в штаб-квартире подразделения безопасности федеральной полиции г. Вены, где он находился в период с полудня 31 мая до утра 2 июня 1988 г.
Впоследствии г-н Рибич заявил, что он подвергся ненадлежащему обращению во время содержания под стражей в полиции. Он не подал жалобу в компетентные органы, однако сообщил о происшедшем нескольким друзьям и родственникам, включая одного журналиста. Именно по совету этого журналиста г-н Рибич обратился в больницу и проконсультировался у своего врача - терапевта. Несколько дней спустя этот журналист организовал программу на австрийском радио с освещением произошедших событий.
В отличие от подобных случаев в других государствах (см., в частности, Решение по делу Класса от 22 сентября 1993 г. Серия A, т. 269) компетентные органы по собственной инициативе начали расследование произошедших событий, как только они были о них информированы.
Результаты расследования были направлены в прокуратуру, которая начала судебное разбирательство против трех полицейских за нанесение телесных повреждений.
В Решении, вынесенном районным уголовным судом г. Вены, один из трех полицейских был признан виновным, приговорен к двум месяцам тюремного заключения и отстранен от выполнения своих обязанностей; двое других полицейских были оправданы. Мотивы Решения районного суда были подробно изложены. В основном судья полагался на показания свидетелей - г-на Рибича и других лиц, которые могут считаться его друзьями и родственниками, а также на документы, выданные сотрудниками больницы и врачом - терапевтом, в которых говорилось о травмах, нанесенных г-ну Рибичу, и других симптомах, которые он описал. Судья отказался удовлетворить просьбу защиты о проведении судебно-медицинской экспертизы для выяснения причин, вызвавших эти травмы.
При апелляции, которая была подана осужденным полицейским, Земельный уголовный суд прежде всего распорядился, чтобы Институт судебной медицины университета г. Вены представил судебно-медицинское заключение. Основная цель этого документа заключалась в установлении, насколько это возможно, причин травм, отмеченных врачами, и симптомов, на которые жаловался заявитель. Выводы заключения сводились к тому, что эти травмы и симптомы могли быть вызваны самыми различными причинами; вполне возможно, что они были вызваны причинами, отличными от тех, которые принял районный суд. Земельный уголовный суд, состоящий из трех профессиональных судей, тщательно рассмотрел представленные ему доказательства, подробно изучил показания заявителя и других свидетелей и оправдал полицейского на основании убедительных фактов. Кроме того, в Австрии не принято, чтобы апелляционные суды отменяли решения нижестоящего суда, если не имеется серьезных сомнений в том, что эти решения достаточно обоснованны.
Конституционный суд отклонил апелляцию заявителя, сделав замечание, что он не нашел оснований поставить под сомнение процедуру, которой следовал Земельный суд, его оценку свидетельских показаний или принятое им Решение.
Конституционный суд мог бы пересмотреть весь ход разбирательства и провести свою собственную оценку обстоятельств дела. Однако, как было указано в предыдущем абзаце, Суд не нашел для этого никаких оснований и тем самым поддержал по существу Решение Земельного суда.
Наше заключение: государство - ответчик по своей собственной инициативе распорядилось провести расследование, результатом которого было тщательное рассмотрение дела независимыми судами на трех различных уровнях юрисдикции. В задачи Европейского суда не входит заменять своей оценкой оценку фактов внутренними судами, если только они провели ее не должным образом, что не имело места в данном деле.
Мы не можем сделать вывод, что были нарушены положения статьи 3 Конвенции, поскольку имелись обоснованные сомнения относительно утверждений заявителя о ненадлежащем обращении, вызвавшем телесные повреждения во время его нахождения под стражей в отделении венской федеральной полиции, хотя и оказалось невозможным получить неопровержимые доказательства того, что травмы и симптомы, о которых говорил заявитель после освобождения из полицейского заключения, были вызваны какими-либо иными причинами, чем теми действиями, о которых он заявил.
2. В свете сомнительного поведения заявителя, а также принимая во внимание тот факт, что в районном суде он потребовал выплатить всего лишь 1000 (одну тысячу) австрийских шиллингов, которые были ему присуждены, мы не считаем возможным голосовать за выплату какой-либо дополнительной компенсации за моральный ущерб.



EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
CASE OF RIBITSCH v. AUSTRIA
JUDGMENT
(Strasbourg, 04.XII.1995)
In the case of Ribitsch v. Austria <*>,
The European Court of Human Rights, sitting, in accordance with Article 43 (art. 43) of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") and the relevant provisions of Rules of Court A <**>, as a Chamber composed of the following judges:
--------------------------------
Notes by the Registrar
<*> The case is numbered 42/1994/489/571. The first number is the case"s position on the list of cases referred to the Court in the relevant year (second number). The last two numbers indicate the case"s position on the list of cases referred to the Court since its creation and on the list of the corresponding originating applications to the Commission.
<**> Rules A apply to all cases referred to the Court before the entry into force of Protocol No. 9 (P9) and thereafter only to cases concerning States not bound by that Protocol (P9). They correspond to the Rules that came into force on 1 January 1983, as amended several times subsequently.
Mr R. Ryssdal, President,
Mr F. Matscher,
Mr J. De Meyer,
Mr I. Foighel,
Mr J.M. Morenilla,
Sir John Freeland,
Mr B. Repik,
Mr P. Jambrek,
Mr P. Kuris,
and also of Mr H. Petzold, Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 27 June and 21 November 1995,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:
PROCEDURE
1. The case was referred to the Court by the European Commission of Human Rights ("the Commission") on 9 September 1994, within the three-month period laid down by Article 32 para. 1 and Article 47 (art. 32-1, art. 47) of the Convention. It originated in an application (no. 18896/91) against the Republic of Austria lodged with the Commission under Article 25 (art. 25) by Mr Ronald Ribitsch, an Austrian national, on 5 August 1991.
The Commission"s request referred to Articles 44 and 48 (art. 44, art. 48) and to the declaration whereby Austria recognised the compulsory jurisdiction of the Court (Article 46) (art. 46). The object of the request was to obtain a decision as to whether the facts of the case disclosed a breach by the respondent State of its obligations under Article 3 (art. 3) of the Convention.
2. In response to the enquiry made in accordance with Rule 33 para. 3 (d) of Rules of Court A, the applicant stated that he wished to take part in the proceedings and designated the lawyer who would represent him (Rule 30). The lawyer was given leave by the President to use the German language (Rule 27 para. 3).
3. The Chamber to be constituted included ex officio Mr F. Matscher, the elected judge of Austrian nationality (Article 43 (art. 43) of the Convention), and Mr R. Ryssdal, the President of the Court (Rule 21 para. 3 (b)). On 24 September 1994, in the presence of the Registrar, the President drew by lot the names of the other seven members, namely Mr {Thor Vilhjalmsson} <*>, Mr I. Foighel, Mr J.M. Morenilla, Sir John Freeland, Mr B. Repik, Mr P. Jambrek and Mr P. Kuris (Article 43 in fine of the Convention and Rule 21 para. 4) (art. 43). Subsequently, Mr J. De Meyer, substitute judge, replaced Mr {Thor Vilhjalmsson}, who was unable to take part in the further consideration of the case (Rule 22 paras. 1 and 2 and Rule 24 para. 1).
--------------------------------
<*> Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.
4. As President of the Chamber (Rule 21 para. 5), Mr Ryssdal, acting through the Registrar, consulted the Agent of the Austrian Government ("the Government"), the applicant"s lawyer and the Delegate of the Commission on the organisation of the proceedings (Rules 37 para. 1 and 38). Pursuant to the orders made in consequence on 17 October 1994 and 6 March 1995, the Registrar received the Government"s memorial on 28 February 1995 and the applicant"s memorial on 14 March 1995. On 24 March the Secretary to the Commission informed the Registrar that the Delegate would submit his observations at the hearing. On 21 April he produced certain documents requested by the Registrar on the President"s instructions.
5. In accordance with the President"s decision, the hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Building, Strasbourg, on 21 June 1995. The Court had held a preparatory meeting beforehand.
There appeared before the Court:
(a) for the Government
Mr W. Okresek, Head of the International Affairs Division, Constitutional Department, Federal Chancellery, Agent,
Mr W. Szymanski, Head of the Legal Service, Federal Ministry of the Interior,
Mr {J. Rohrbock}, Adviser, Federal Ministry of the Interior, Advisers;
(b) for the Commission
Mr H.G. Schermers, Delegate;
(c) for the applicant
Mr H. Pochieser, Rechtsanwalt, Counsel.
The Court heard addresses by Mr Schermers, Mr Pochieser and Mr Okresek, and their replies to its question.
On 3 July 1995 the Registrar received the Government"s written reply to the applicant"s claims under Article 50 (art. 50); the applicant"s observations relating thereto were received on 27 July.
AS TO THE FACTS
6. Mr Ronald Ribitsch, an Austrian national born in 1958, lives with his wife in Vienna.
I. Background to the case
7. At the material time the Security Branch of the Vienna Federal Police Authority ({Sicherheitsburo} der Bundespolizeidirektion) included three units assigned to investigating drug offences. One of these, led by Chief Inspector {Pottinger}, had particular responsibility for cases involving fatalities.
8. On 21 May 1988, following the deaths of two people from heroin overdoses, the girlfriend of one of the deceased went to the headquarters of Mr {Pottinger"s} unit and made a statement alleging that her boyfriend had told her that he intended to obtain drugs from the applicant.
Acting on this information several of the unit"s officers questioned the applicant on the same day and searched his home, although they had no warrant. The search revealed nothing and the applicant and his wife were authorised to leave for Turkey on holiday that very day.
9. On 22 May 1988 one of the deceased was recognised as a rock singer who was very well known in Austria. This led to pressure from the media to find the dealer who had sold the heroin that had caused the deaths. Mr {Pottinger"s} unit conducted numerous inquiries between 22 and 31 May 1988.
10. On the latter date another Security Branch unit, led by Chief Inspector Gross, and including at the material time Police Officers Markl, Trnka and {Frohlich}, received an anonymous telephone call accusing Mr Ribitsch of selling heroin to one of the deceased.
At about 12.30 p.m. a number of officers belonging to this unit arrested the applicant and his wife for drug trafficking and searched their home, although they had neither a search warrant nor an arrest warrant. The search revealed 0.5 g of hashish.
II. The applicant"s detention in police custody
11. Mr Ribitsch and his wife were held in police custody at the headquarters of the Security Branch of the Vienna Federal Police Authority from about 12.30 p.m. on 31 May 1988 to about 9.30 a.m. on 2 June 1988.
12. There are two conflicting versions of what occurred during the period of police custody.
According to the applicant, the officers questioning him grossly insulted him and then assaulted him repeatedly in order to wring a confession from him. He received punches to the head (Kopfnuss), kidneys and right arm and kicks to the upper leg and kidneys. He was pulled to the ground by the hair and his head was banged against the floor. Ninety per cent of his injuries were inflicted by blows from Police Officer Markl. When released he had bruises on his right arm and one thigh and was suffering from a cervical syndrome, vomiting, diarrhoea and a violent headache.
A different version was given by Mr Markl in a report that was dated 1 June 1988 but purported to give an account of events which, according to the report itself, had occurred on 1 June from about 3.20 p.m. onwards, on 2 June at about 8 a.m. and on 2 June at about 9.30 a.m. The report stated that in the afternoon of 1 June the applicant was taken from police headquarters to an acoustic research institute so that his voice could be compared with that of a person who had made an anonymous phone call to the Vienna emergency services. As he was getting out of the police car, and while he had handcuffs on his wrists, Mr Ribitsch had slipped and his right arm had banged into the rear door. Mr Markl, who had opened the door for him, managed to grab hold of his left arm, but was not able to prevent him from falling. However, his fall had largely been broken and he had landed "gently" on his behind. It was only the next morning, when being questioned, that the applicant informed the police of his injury, although he refused medical attention.
13. On being released from police custody the applicant informed several members of his family, a psychologist and a journalist of the ill-treatment he had allegedly suffered. On the latter"s advice he went to Meidling Hospital in the afternoon of 2 June, where he was examined from 5.35 p.m. onwards, and to his general practitioner the following day. The hospital report recorded bruises measuring 2 to 3 cm in the middle of the outside of the right arm, and an appended neurological report recorded bruises on the outside and inside of the right arm. No other injury to his limbs was found. An X-ray showed no broken bones. The doctor"s report stated that the applicant had several bruises on his right arm and symptoms characteristic of a cervical syndrome, that he was suffering from vomiting and a violent headache and that he had a temperature of 37.5° C. A photographer took a photograph of Mr Ribitsch"s injuries.
III. The criminal proceedings brought against the police
officers in the Vienna District Criminal Court
14. On 7 June 1988, following a programme on Austrian radio about the methods allegedly used by the police when they questioned Mr and Mrs Ribitsch, the Vienna Federal Police Authority began an inquiry into the officers concerned and sent the results to the public prosecutor"s department on 25 October 1988.
On 22 November the applicant lodged a civil party claim for damages under Article 47 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Strafprozessordnung).
A. The preliminary inquiries
15. On 26 June 1989 the judge of the Vienna District Criminal Court (Strafbezirksgericht) conducted the preliminary inquiries (Vorermittlungen) and heard Mr and Mrs Ribitsch as witnesses and Police Officers Trnka, Gross, {Frohlich} and Markl as accused (Beschuldigte).
In its report the Commission gave the following account of the statements they made:
"23. The applicant stated that on 31 May 1988 he had been arrested by four police officers, inter alia Markl and Trnka. Following the taking of photographs and fingerprints, the questioning had started in the afternoon and evening. At the first questioning five police officers had been present, who had interrogated him in turns. The applicant also indicated that the police officers, with the exception of Police Officer {Frohlich}, were drinking wine. In the course of the questioning, their superior Mr Gross had started to pull his handle-bar moustache and to go around the room with him, and then also slapped him in the face. As he still had not confessed, Police Officer Markl had begun to hit him. He knew about this officer"s identity as he had seen him signing the record. Police Officer {Frohlich} had been sitting at the typewriter. He had been the only officer behaving correctly. Police Officer Markl had continued to hit him in the course of the ensuing interrogations. Markl had been the one hitting him most of the time, though, while he had been lying on the floor, others had also kicked him. On the second day, even a legally qualified person had been present for a short time and had seen that he had been beaten. Police Officer Markl further had attempted to provoke him to hit back. 90% of his injuries had been caused by Markl. The haematoma on his right upper arm had been caused by Markl"s punches. Markl had further kicked him and caused a haematoma on his right or left lower leg; the print of the shoe had later been seen on his trousers. Police Officer Markl had also grasped his hair and had thrown him to the floor. Upon questioning, the applicant stated that there had been no accident when he was taken by car to have his voice compared.
24. Police Officer Trnka stated that he had been working with, inter alia, the Police Officers Markl and {Frohlich}. He could not remember whether he had been present upon the applicant"s arrest. He had conducted the questioning of the applicant"s wife. The applicant had been questioned in another room, he had sometimes been there to put questions to the applicant. He had learnt about the injuries sustained by the applicant in the media. He himself had not beaten or kicked the applicant, nor seen that his colleagues had done so. The police officers had not drunk alcohol in the course of the interrogations. Moreover, though working hard, they had always taken a break at least between midnight and 7 a.m.
25. Police Officer Gross explained that he had been leading the particular work unit since 1983, Police Officer Markl had been in this unit for two years, Police Officer {Frohlich} for one year and Police Officer Trnka for five years. He had been present at times at the interrogations of both the applicant and his wife. He had not touched the applicant or pulled his moustache, though he remembered that the applicant had a peculiar moustache. At the relevant time, they had worked overtime, but there had not been any particular pressure upon them. He had been informed at that time that the applicant had stumbled in the course of getting out of a police car, Police Officer Markl or {Frohlich} had informed him of this. He had not known about any injuries. He had instructed his colleagues to draft a report on the incident. There had been no alcohol in the room where the interrogations had taken place.
26. According to Police Officer {Frohlich}, who had joined the work unit in April 1988, Police Officer Markl had conducted the questioning of the applicant in the presence of always two or three colleagues. Upon questioning, he confirmed that a legally qualified person, namely a superior, had been present for a short time at one of the interrogations. No alcohol had been drunk in the course of the questioning. They had worked overtime, but there had been no particular pressure. {Frohlich}, stating that he had been present at most of the questioning, denied that the applicant had been bodily assaulted. {Frohlich} continued that on 1 June 1988 he had, together with Police Officer Markl, taken the applicant to have his voice compared. {Frohlich} had driven and Markl had been at the rear with the applicant who had been handcuffed with his hands in front of his body. The applicant had probably stepped out of the rear left door. {Frohlich} indicated that he had not seen the applicant stumble, but heard something like it. When he had turned around, he had seen Markl already holding the applicant. The applicant had said that he was not hurt. The next day the applicant had mentioned the bruise on his upper arm. One of them had informed Police Officer Gross about the bruise, and Gross had advised them to draft a report on the incident.
27. Police Officer Markl stated that he had joined the work unit of Police Officer Gross in May 1988. He had at the time interrogated the applicant, but he had certainly not been alone: in order to avoid unfounded allegations, other colleagues had been present for at least part of the time. Markl denied having used violence against the applicant, and supposed that the applicant and his wife, for unknown reasons, wanted to take revenge on them. As to the course of the interrogations, Markl specified that at the beginning the applicant had denied any involvement in the offences at issue; only in the further course of questioning had he given the decisive hint as to the identity of the actual culprit. As regards the injuries sustained by the applicant, Markl confirmed his statements in his report of 1 June 1988. During the drive, he had been sitting next to the applicant, who had been handcuffed with his hands in front of his body, in the rear of the police car. Markl continued that he had opened the door on the applicant"s side from the outside. The applicant had stumbled while getting out and fallen, knocking his right arm against the doorframe. Markl had only been able to stop him falling. The applicant had said that he was all right. Only the next day had he mentioned a bruise on his right upper arm. Markl could not remember any other injuries or a footprint on the applicant"s trousers. Markl clarified that he had written the report concerning the accident on 2 June, but had put the date of the incident. Markl further confirmed that a superior, possibly presented as a legally qualified person, had shortly been present at one of the interrogations. Markl also indicated that he worked normally 60 to 70 hours overtime per month; at the relevant time he had possibly done 80 to 90 hours overtime. Moreover, they had not consumed any kind of alcohol during their work."
B. The trial
16. On 13 October 1989 the trial of Police Officers Trnka, Gross and Markl on charges of assault occasioning bodily harm opened in the Vienna District Criminal Court, composed of a single judge. During the trial the judge examined the accused and several witnesses, namely Mr and Mrs Ribitsch, Police Officer {Frohlich}, Mr Pretzner, the head of the three units of the Security Branch of the Vienna Federal Police Authority, and all those who had seen the applicant"s injuries or been informed by him of the ill-treatment he had undergone. These included Dr Scheidlbauer, the general practitioner, Dr Tripp, the psychologist, Mr Buchacher, the journalist, and Mr Lehner, the photographer.
In its report the Commission gave the following account of their statements:
"30. Police Officer Markl referred to his earlier statements. Upon questioning, he explained that due to information given to him, the investigations concerning the case in question had been transferred from another work unit at the Vienna Federal Police Authority. Following their arrest, the applicant and his wife had been brought to the Police Authority. Questioned about the further development of matters regarding the applicant, Police Officer Markl stated that the applicant"s identity had been established and he had been questioned about the offences concerned. Markl confirmed that Police Officer {Frohlich} had been present in the course of the interrogation. However, he could not remember whether Police Officers Gross and Trnka had been also there. The applicant had claimed to be innocent, and even claimed that he had nothing to do with drugs and in particular opium. He had complained that the police was again creating difficulties. Moreover, the applicant had repeatedly indicated that he would cause troubles and ridicule them. Police Officer Markl then described the events when the applicant had been taken out of the building of the Police Authority: The applicant had been handcuffed with his hands in front of his body, he had been sitting in the rear of the police car. Upon arrival, Markl had opened the door where the child lock had been in position as a precautionary measure. When getting out of the car, the applicant had lost his balance, had fallen and hit his right arm against the door frame. He had shown his injury, a round bruise, but had not wanted to see a doctor. Upon further questioning by the public prosecutor, Markl stated that, upon the arrest, a piece of hashish had been found upon the applicant, nothing upon his wife. However, police informers had told them that the applicant had been dealing with heroin and had been selling washing powder to drug addicts. This information had not been recorded as the informers were not prepared to make a statement for the record. Upon further questioning, Markl indicated that, having first denied any relationship to one of the victims, the applicant and his wife had later admitted a close relationship.
31. Police Officer Trnka first made some more general remarks about the organisation and distribution of work between the three units dealing with drug offences. He remembered that he had been present at the arrest of the applicant and his wife and that he had interrogated the applicant"s wife. Though he had not assisted in the questioning of the applicant in the adjoining office, he had occasionally come to put questions to the applicant. They had mainly inquired about discrepancies in the spouses" statements about their alibi. He had learnt about the injury sustained by the applicant only after his release.
32. Police Officer Gross, the head of the work unit concerned, also explained that following information obtained by Police Officer Markl on the particular case, it had been transferred from another work unit which had initially conducted the investigations. He had seen the applicant for the first time during the interrogation in the afternoon. Together with Police Officer Trnka he had questioned the applicant"s wife, but also the applicant in order to verify their alibi, as there had been discrepancies in their statements. As regards the applicant"s injury, he remembered that either Police Officer Markl or Police Officer {Frohlich} had informed him about the incident in the course of the escorted visit. He had instructed them to draft a report. Being asked in detail about the applicant"s allegations of ill-treatment, Gross stated that it appeared practically impossible to pull the applicant around by his moustache without leaving injuries to his face.
33. The applicant, heard as a witness, stated that, following his arrest in the late morning, he had first been questioned in the late afternoon by Police Officers Markl and {Frohlich}, in particular about his alibi. Violence had been used, Gross had pulled him around the room by his moustache, and he had been slightly hit on his head. In the afternoon of the second day, he had again been interrogated, and because he had refused to admit that he had given drugs to the two persons who had subsequently died, he had been beaten every half-hour. He had also been kicked while lying on the floor, and had therefore not seen the persons who had kicked him. Police Officer Markl had hit him on the upper arm and kicked him. On one occasion, a legally qualified person had been present who had not stopped the beatings. Police officers from another group had also been present; there had been continual changes. In between, he had been escorted to have his voice compared. Questioned about the escorted visit, the applicant denied that he had stumbled while getting out of the car. He also confirmed that Police Officer {Frohlich} had not hurt him.
34. The applicant continued that he had been released on 2 June 1988 at the same time as his wife; they had gone home where he had met his brother and a psychologist, Dr Tripp, with whom he was acquainted. He had only later noticed that a footprint on his trousers was consistent with an injury to his leg. After having taken a shower and changed clothes, he had met the journalist Buchacher. Subsequently he had gone to the hospital. Two fingers of his right hand had been numb. On the next day he had got a stiff neck, he had vomited. The applicant stated that he had not eaten for two days and that he had a nervous stomach. He further stated that he had health problems due to the fact that Markl had pulled him by the hair off a chair and on to the floor.
35. The applicant"s wife stated that she had been questioned by Police Officer Trnka, subsequently cross-examined by four persons and later by Police Officers Markl and {Frohlich}. She had been released at the same time as her husband who had told her immediately that he had been hit and beaten and pulled by his moustache and hair. She had seen the bruises mentioned by him, and also the shoe-print on his trousers. Her husband had said that Police Officer Markl had caused the injuries. Her husband had complained about pain in the neck, headache, and later a feeling of numbness in his right hand.
36. Police Officer {Frohlich} was next heard as a witness. He stated that following a tip-off about who had given the deceased the drugs the case had been transferred to their work unit. Because of the rivalry existing between the units, information of such kind would not be passed on. Upon his arrest, the applicant had said that he would cause difficulties. However, during his interrogation, the applicant had been quite calm. {Frohlich} denied having seen that the applicant had been hit. As regards the escorted drive, {Frohlich} indicated that he had parked the police car rather close to another car. Police Officer Markl had opened the door for the applicant. According to {Frohlich}, there had been a noise and, turning around, he had seen that Markl was holding the applicant. {Frohlich} confirmed that Police Officer Gross had advised them to draft a report on the incident.
37. The applicant"s doctor, Dr Scheidlbauer, confirmed that he had examined the applicant who had been undressed. The applicant had several haematomas, the largest on his right upper arm. Scheidlbauer had the impression that the applicant had either bumped against something or had been hit. Scheidlbauer excluded that a fall against a doorframe could have caused these haematomas. The applicant had not indicated that he had been hit by the police. Scheidlbauer had not ascertained injuries to the legs, but there were other bruises and the applicant had complained about vomiting and headache. The applicant had not had a concussion but, as a consequence of a cervical syndrome, had been unable to turn his head. Upon questioning, Scheidlbauer stated that such a cervical syndrome could have several causes, inter alia, a cold or the fact that somebody had been several times pulled by his hair. However, the cause could not be objectively established.
38. The psychologist Tripp, who had seen the applicant after his release, confirmed that the applicant had told him about his arrest and detention and about having been hit and maltreated by the police, in particular one police officer. Tripp further said that he had not looked for any injuries. He also stated that he had not for a moment had the impression that the applicant had made up his story.
39. The court next heard Mr Pretzner, the head of the section - with three work units - at the Vienna Federal Police Authority which had been responsible for the investigations in the opium poisoning cases. Pretzner first explained the organisation and distribution of work between the units and, in this context, excluded rivalry between the units. Moreover, Pretzner stated that he had been present at the questioning of the applicant by Police Officers Markl and {Frohlich} for about ten minutes. Pretzner remembered that he had advised the applicant that a confession could result in the court passing a more lenient sentence. Being confronted with the applicant"s allegations, Pretzner denied that the applicant had been tortured or beaten; rather, the atmosphere had been friendly.
40. The applicant"s sister-in-law, Mrs Hoke, described the state of the applicant and his wife following the release from detention. Mrs Hoke confirmed in particular that she had seen the bruise on his right upper arm and that the applicant had told her that he had been pulled around by his hair, thrown to the floor, punched and that two or three police officers had been present most of the time, the most brutal one having been the Police Officer Markl. She could not remember having seen a shoe-print on the applicant"s trousers.
41. [The applicant"s brother] I. Ribitsch stated that when they had met at the applicant"s apartment the applicant had told him that he had been subjected to physical violence while in detention, namely that he had been beaten, kicked and pulled by the hair to the ground. I. Ribitsch had seen several bruises on the applicant"s body, and a shoe-print on the applicant"s trousers. The applicant had also told him that he had problems with his stomach and had vomited.
42. The applicant"s sister-in-law, Mrs Hoke, and his brother I. Ribitsch were subsequently questioned about whether the applicant had mentioned an accident in the course of an escorted visit. Mrs Hoke stated that the applicant had mentioned that one of the police officers had told him that this was the cause of his injuries. I. Ribitsch had not heard about this.
43. The reporter Buchacher had been informed by the applicant"s sister-in-law, Mrs Hoke, about the applicant"s allegations of ill-treatment in the course of his police detention. Buchacher had thereupon arranged by phone a meeting with the applicant. Buchacher had been shown several injuries, haematomas on the applicant"s right arm, the largest on the outside, one or two smaller on the inside. Buchacher had photographed them the next day for the purposes of a story in a magazine. Upon questioning, Buchacher indicated that the applicant had told him that his voice had been compared, but not that he had fallen out of the police car.
44. Buchacher then turned to read from the notes which he had made in the course of the conversation with the applicant at the time according to which the applicant had given the following account: the head of the group had pulled him by the beard and hit him on the head with the flat of his hand; during the first interrogations he had been insulted, but not yet been hit. Following the escorted visit to the Acoustics Research Institute, the police officers had shaken him by the feet and hands and beaten him for about twenty minutes. There had been bottles of wine in the office and the police officers had been smelling of alcohol. Police Officer {Frohlich} had behaved correctly and not hit him, Police Officer Markl had hit him the most. They had also threatened to place his children at a children"s home. Only at the last interrogation in the morning before his release, all police officers, including Markl, had been friendly and polite.
45. Buchacher also indicated that he had seen a footprint on the applicant"s trousers which appeared to have been dragged over the floor. Buchacher continued that he had verified that the shoe-print coincided with a haematoma on the applicant"s leg below his knee. Upon questioning, Buchacher stated that he did not have the impression that the applicant had been acting.
46. The photographer Lehner, a colleague of the journalist Buchacher, confirmed that he had photographed the injuries suffered by the applicant, namely a severe bruising on his right upper arm. He also remembered injuries to the applicant"s legs. He had not taken photographs of the smaller injuries as they would not have been visible."
C. The judgment
17. At the end of the trial the District Criminal Court found Police Officer Markl guilty of assault occasioning bodily harm, within the meaning of Article 83 para. 1 of the Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch), and sentenced him to two months" imprisonment, suspended, and three years" probation. It also ordered him to pay Mr Ribitsch the sum of 1,000 Austrian schillings (ATS). The other two police officers, Mr Trnka and Mr Gross, were acquitted.
In its judgment of 13 October 1989 the court gave a brief account of the criminal investigation, referring to the pressure the officers in Mr Gross"s unit had been under to find the guilty person and the many hours of overtime they had put in on that account. It then described the ill-treatment suffered by the applicant while in police custody and excluded the possibility that his injuries could have been caused accidentally. The court based its judgment on the evidence given by Mr Ribitsch, who had made an excellent impression in the witness box, and by the witnesses, particularly the journalist who had seen the applicant on the day when he was released from police custody and had taken notes. It went on to say:
"In summary, the court therefore notes that the injuries sustained by Ronald Ribitsch were seen by several people who were not in any way involved in the events giving rise to the case. These injuries consisted of several bruises - not a slight abrasion or a small bruise - on the upper right arm. The claim that a cervical syndrome was sustained is credible, given the description of how it occurred, namely by the head being pulled violently backwards by the hair. It is a fact recognised by the courts (gerichtsbekannt) that it is impossible to prove the existence of a cervical syndrome by objective means, even using X-rays. To have consulted a medical expert for this purpose would therefore merely have led to a delay in the proceedings. A haematoma about as big as an egg, many other bruises and a cervical syndrome constitute bodily harm. This is not a question for an expert; it is a matter for the court, which it has duly determined in accordance with the consistent case-law.
It is not only the testimony that has so far been heard which is persuasive of Ronald Ribitsch"s credibility but also his excellent memory of the persons concerned. In this connection, the court would refer to the identity parade on 26 June 1989, that is more than one year after the offence (file, item 10). At this identity parade, consisting of a total of nine persons, Ronald Ribitsch did not hesitate for one moment in recognising those involved in the police interviews, and in particular the accused Markl.
Ranged against this evidence is the line of defence established by the accused, which can only be described as disquieting. Both he and his defence lawyer, as well as his superior officer, Mr Pretzner, attempted at the trial (file, page 114 in item 25) to make Ronald Ribitsch out to be a despicable, work-shy individual. Apart from the fact that an officer of the Security Branch does not have the right to beat someone up in order to induce him to make a confession, simply because he is unemployed, what is noteworthy here is the obviously misguided attitude of the accused to his legal obligations. In his efforts to portray the witness Ribitsch as a depraved individual, he suddenly claimed at the trial that the two anonymous callers had been Wilhelm Puschl and Ursula Hennemann. He had, he stated, in the meantime learned from them that "Ribitsch [was] a despicable creature (eine miese {Krote}) because he [sold] washing powder to the poorest of the poor, the drug addicts" (file, page 128 in item 25). When the court asked him whether he had reported this, he was forced to reply that he had not. He subsequently went on to entangle himself in more and more contradictions concerning the statements made by these two witnesses (file, page 129 in item 25). If the accused"s claim were really true this would mean that an officer of the Security Branch, who had good reason to suspect someone of, at the very least, deliberately inflicting grievous bodily harm by selling washing powder he passed off as heroin, did not consider it necessary in any way at all to perform his duty under Article 84 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The conclusion must be drawn that the accused Markl would prefer to allow criminal acts to be committed with potentially fatal consequences than to run the risk of having people say that he now wants to pin something on Ribitsch - which he is obviously afraid of (see page 129).
With regard to the application for a forensic doctor to be appointed with a view to showing that the injuries and the haematoma could also have been caused by a fall against the edge of the car door and that the other bruises on the inside of the upper right arm were caused when the former suspect"s arm was grabbed, the court notes as follows: The accused Markl himself states in his (wrongly dated) report (file, page 419) that when Ronald Ribitsch was taken away for the voice comparison to be made he evidently missed his footing getting out of the car, which caused him to lose his balance and his right arm to bang into the edge of the car door, which had remained open. He, Markl, who had been standing right next to him, had managed to grab his upper left arm but had not been able to prevent him from falling. However, due to his intervention the fall had been rendered much less serious, and Ribitsch had only fallen gently on to his behind. Markl therefore himself states that he grabbed Ribitsch by the left arm, so that he cannot have inflicted a bruise on the inside of the right arm by catching him in this way. However, this version of events in the report is also contradicted by the witness {Frohlich} (file, page 103 in item 25). This witness stated that there had been a big problem finding a place to park. He had had to park very close to another vehicle, so that he had had a great deal of trouble getting out of his own. It is "very strange" (lebensfremd) that, although the driver of the vehicle had great difficulty getting out of it on his side, and although, because of the tight squeeze, the suspect at the time (Mr Ribitsch) must obviously also have had trouble getting out - Markl stated that Ronald Ribitsch sat directly behind the driver - there was yet sufficient room for Ribitsch to fall against the edge of the door and then on to his bottom. If one considers Ronald Ribitsch"s size, that is impossible. Furthermore, the witness Scheidlbauer, who is a general practitioner, made a statement as an expert witness that was both credible and "easy to understand" (nachvollziehbar), namely that whilst the largest bruise had been on the upper right arm it had not been the only one there. He continued by drawing attention to a phenomenon that the courts have recognised in many previous cases, namely that a person who falls against a hard edge normally has a graze or a skin wound, whereas when a person falls against or is struck by something without sharp edges, whether it is something with a large surface area or a fist, it is not the surface that is affected but the soft tissues underneath the skin (file, page 107). Similarly, a cervical syndrome could be the result of Ribitsch"s head being violently shaken.
In law, both the objective and the subjective elements of the offence have been made out and Josef Markl is therefore guilty of the offence of assault occasioning bodily harm as defined in Article 83 para. 1 of the Criminal Code. The conditions laid down in Article 42 of the Criminal Code are not satisfied since this kind of behaviour cannot be classified as a trivial offence. Moreover, the specific, and above all general, requirements of deterrence militate against the application of this rule. Josef Markl was unable to prevent himself from committing the acts in issue in the instant case, even though he must have known that similar proceedings (where the facts were more serious) had already been brought against one of his superior officers, Mr Gross.
In sentencing the accused, the court considers the fact that the accused has no previous convictions to be a mitigating circumstance. On the other hand, his particularly brutal conduct constitutes an aggravating circumstance. Given a possible maximum sentence of nine months, the sentence imposed of two months is reasonable in view of the offender"s personality and the degree of culpability. For general reasons of deterrence - more and more accusations directed against the brutal policemen ({prugelnde} Polizisten) of the Security Branch have been made in recent years - a fine would not have been sufficient.
In view of the length of prison sentence imposed, it must, however, be assumed that the threat of its execution will be sufficient to deter Josef Markl and others from committing criminal acts. For this reason, the court has been able to impose a suspended sentence."
IV. Police Officer Markl"s appeal
to the Vienna Regional Criminal Court
18. Mr Markl appealed against the judgment to the Vienna Regional Criminal Court (Landesgericht {fur} Strafsachen).
A. The expert opinion
19. By an interlocutory decision of 2 March 1990 the court ordered an expert opinion to be produced by the University of Vienna Institute of Forensic Medicine concerning the probability of there being a causal connection between Mr Ribitsch"s injuries and the accident which had allegedly occurred when he was taken out under police escort, and the credibility from the medical point of view of the applicant"s statements regarding the ill-treatment he had undergone.
20. After interviewing both Mr Ribitsch and Mr Markl and organising a reconstruction of the applicant"s alleged fall against the rear door of the police car, the expert from the Institute of Forensic Medicine summarised his findings as follows:
"Therefore, judging by Meidling Accident Hospital"s medical records, Ronald Ribitsch had a group of bruises on the outside of his upper right arm covering an area of 2 by 3 cm. Moreover, the findings of the neurological examination also contain a description of bruising to the inside of the right arm. Thus, the only injuries established by doctors were the bruises on the outside and inside of the upper right arm described above. These bruises must be regarded as minor and are to be interpreted as the result of dull blows to these parts of the body (lokale stumpfe Gewalteinwirkung). They are not likely to

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