Gäfgen : opening the door to a reassessment of Article 3 violations?

Avetisyan, Grigor (2008) Gäfgen : opening the door to a reassessment of Article 3 violations? EHRAC bulletin (10). pp. 11-12.


This article comments on the possibility of the reassessment of Article 3 (prohibition of torture) of the European Convention on Human Rights in light of the case of Gäfgan v Germany (No. 22978/05) 30/7/08. In 2002, the applicant in Gäfgan v Germany kidnapped and suffocated a boy. At the time of the applicant’s arrest, the police believed the boy to still be alive. When the applicant did not disclose the boy’s whereabouts, the local deputy chief of police instructed the interrogating officer to tell the applicant that he would suffer pain unless he disclosed the boy’s location. The applicant then confessed to killing the boy and hiding the body. The German courts acknowledged that the threats uttered against him were contrary to Art. 3 (prohibition of torture) of the ECHR and that his testimony was not admissible in evidence during the trial. Evidence that had been obtained as a result of this testimony, however, such as the discovery of the boy’s body, could be used at trial, and the applicant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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