Violence against women
AUDE CAMPION & WILLEM-JAN VAN DER WOLF
The European Court of Human Rights, finding that there was no evidence to substantiate the applicant’s allegation that she had been subjected to ill-treatment, declared that part of her complaint inadmissible as being manifestly ill-founded.
The Court further found the applicant’s allegation that she had been forced to have a gynaecological examination to be unsubstantiated and therefore held that there had been no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
However, the Court did find that the applicant had resisted a gynaecological examination until persuaded to agree to it and that, given the vulnerability of a detainee in such circumstances, the applicant could not have been expected to indefinitely resist having such an examination. It decided to examine that issue from the point of view of Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the Convention.
Observing that the gynaecological examination which had been imposed on the applicant without her free and informed consent had not been shown to have been “in accordance with the law” or “necessary in a democratic society”, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention.
Thus, in particular, the examination appeared to have been a discretionary measure taken by the authorities to safeguard those members of the security forces who had arrested and detained the applicant against a false accusation of sexual assault. That safeguard did however not justify seeking to persuade a detainee to agree to such an intrusive and serious interference with her physical integrity, especially given that she had not complained of having been sexually assaulted.