Judgment 7432/17

Applicant name GURBANOV
Applicant type Natural person
Number of applicants 1
Country Armenia
Application no. 7432/17 
Date 05/10/2023
JudgesGeorges Ravarani, President,
Carlo Ranzoni,
Armen Harutyunyan,
Stéphanie Mourou-Vikström,
María Elósegui,
Erik Wennerström
Mattias Guyomar
Institution Court
Type Judgment
Outcome Art. 8 No violation
Reason Positive obligation
Type of privacy Private life; relational privacy
Keywords Return body; religious burial
Facts of the caseThe application concerns the applicant’s complaints relating to the delayed return by the Armenian authorities of his son’s body. It was alleged that this amounted to inhuman treatment under Article 3 of the Convention in relation to the applicant and his family members, whose rights to respect for their private and family life had also been breached on the same account; it had also prevented them from burying the body in accordance with their religious tradition, in breach of Article 8 of the Convention. Complaints alleging that no effective remedies for the above-mentioned breaches were available and that the underlying reasons for the refusal to return the body were discriminatory were raised under Article 13 and Article 14 of the Convention respectively.
AnalysisThe Court stresses that the claims as to an unjustified delay in the return of his son’s body, as well as to unjustified examinations the body had been subjected to, meaning, among other things, that it had been impossible for the family to bury their son in accordance with Muslim rituals, have to be assessed under Article 8 ECHR and not under Article 3 ECHR. Under the right to privacy, the Court finds both an interference of the right to private and to family life.

The Armenian investigative authorities decided that a criminal investigation into the cross-border shooting incident which had led to the deaths of three Armenian soldiers and one Azerbaijani soldier (the applicant’s son) was necessary. The investigation included making findings about the crime scene and forensic reports on the bodies and was conducted in compliance with the relevant national criminal legislation, and it aimed to elucidate the circumstances of the soldiers’ deaths. The Armenian investigators decided to examine the applicant’s son’s body for signs of ill-treatment in the presence of a neutral authority as a precaution given the conflictual relations with the Azerbaijani authorities. All these forensic examinations were conducted within some thirty days.
Other Article violation? No violation Article 3, 13 and 14 ECHR
Damage awarded
Documents Judgment