ICCPR Case Digest

CCPR/C/127/D/2719/2016

Communication

2719/2016

Submission: 2015.11.15

View Adopted: 2019.11.06

Kestutis Stasaitis v. Lithuania

Handcuffing and placing in metal cage during a hearing constitutes violation of article 7 by Lithuania

Substantive Issues
  • Exhaustion of domestic remedies
  • Presumption of innocence
  • Privacy
  • Right to defence
  • Torture / ill-treatment
Relevant Articles
  • Article 14.2
  • Article 14.3 (e)
  • Article 17
  • Article 7
Full Text

Facts

The author is a national of Lithuania who claimed that the state party has violated his rights under articles 7, 14 (2) and (3) (e) and 17 of the Covenant. 

The author worked as a medical assistant in an emergency unit associated with a local hospital. In October 2009, the author, who was on duty, was in an ambulance that was called to a woman who was drunk. The woman later accused the author and another man of sexual violation inside the ambulance, and criminal proceedings were brought. The author was convicted of rape, theft and other offences and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment. 

Complaint

The author, citing article 14 (3) (e) of the Covenant, alleges that at no stage of the domestic proceedings was he provided with an opportunity to examine the victim in the criminal case. He also complained that his right to privacy in article 17(1) had been violated on the basis that the prosecution disclosed his identity during the pre-trial investigation phase.

Admissibility

The Committee noted the author’s claim under article 17 (1), however observed that the author did not bring his claim before the domestic courts, nor did he advance any reasons as to why he might have been unable to do so or why such remedies would not have been effective in his case. As such, the Committee concluded that the author has failed to exhaust the available domestic remedies and this portion of the complaint was declared inadmissible.

Merits

Regarding the claim under article 14(3), the Committee found that the court’s refusal to allow the author to re-examine the victim was such as to infringe on the equality of arms between the prosecution and the defence. Accordingly, the Committee was unable to conclude that article 14 (3) (e) had been violated.

On the issue of article 7 however, the Committee noted that the State party had failed to demonstrate that the measures imposed on the author, namely his handcuffing and placement in a metal cage during the court hearings, was consistent with the authors rights under article 7 of the Covenant. Accordingly, and in the absence of other pertinent information on file, the Committee found a violation of article 7.

Recommendations

Pursuant to article 2(3) (a) of the Covenant, the state party is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, including making full reparation to individuals whose Covenant rights have been violated. Accordingly, the state party is obligated to provide the authors with adequate compensation, and take all steps necessary to prevent similar violations from occurring in the future.

The state must must also publish the present views of the Committee in the official language of the state party.

Implementation

The Committee requested that the state party provide an update outlining measures taken to give effect to the Committee's views within 180 days, or prior to 6 May 2020. 

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