Judgment concerning Albania

Human Rights building by American night

In the case of Nika v. Albania, the Court held that there had been violations of the right to life and investigation.

The case concerned the death of the applicants’ husband and father after he had been shot in the head during a demonstration in front of the Albanian Prime Minister’s office. The protest had resulted in violent confrontations between demonstrators and the authorities. The applicants alleged in particular that the commander-in-chief of the National Guard, in charge of protecting the Prime Minister’s office, had ordered his men to open fire on the protestors.

The Court found that the question of possible command responsibility had not been answered in the ensuing investigation, which had focussed on individual responsibility of the National Guard officers and not on the sequence or nature of any orders given by those in their chain of command. The authorities had not shown that the use of lethal force by the National Guard officers that had resulted in the death of the applicant’s relative had been absolutely necessary. Indeed, the Albanian Government itself accepted that the use of force had been excessive.

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