Investigation into alleged rape of girl with intellectual disability

Investigation into alleged rape of girl with intellectual disability

Case of I.C. v. Romania

In the case of I.C. v. Romania (application no. 36934/08) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned a complaint about the inadequacy of the investigation into a 14-year old girl’s allegation of rape.

The Court considered that the Romanian authorities had put undue emphasis on the lack of proof that Ms I.C., the applicant, had shown resistance during the incident, basing their conclusions only on the statements given by the alleged rapists in which they claimed that the girl had consented to having sexual intercourse, taken together with the fact that her body had shown no signs of violence.

Furthermore, neither the prosecutors nor the judges deciding on the case had taken a context-sensitive approach, failing to take into account her young age, her slight intellectual disability and the fact that the alleged rape, involving three men, had taken place at night in cold weather – all factors which had heightened her vulnerability.

Indeed, particular attention should have been focused on analysing the validity of Ms I.C.’s consent to the sexual acts in the light of her slight intellectual disability.

In that context, the nature of the alleged sexual abuse against Ms I.C. had been such that the existence of useful detection and reporting mechanisms had been fundamental to the effective implementation of the relevant criminal laws and to her access to appropriate remedies.

Download Case of I.C. v. Romania (application no. 36934/08)

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