Hurtado v. Switzerland

Case No. 37/1993/432/511 [1994] ECHR 280
Download Judgment: English

While arresting Mr. Hurtado, Swiss police officers threw a stun grenade, forced Mr. Hurtado to the ground, and handcuffed and hooded him. The officers allegedly then beat Mr. Hurtado until he lost consciousness, and he was not allowed to change out of his dirty clothes for at least a day. Mr. Hurtado asked to see a doctor, and. X-rays were takeneight days after his arrest. The x-rays revealed that one of Mr. Hurtado’s ribs was fractured. Mr. Hurtado filed a complaint in the Swiss courts for bodily harm and abuse of official authority, which was dismissed. Mr. Hurtado then applied to the European Commission of Human Rights, alleging that he had suffered inhuman and degrading treatment, a violation of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“Convention”), and that he had been deprived of an effective remedy under Article 13. The Commission dismissed the complaint under Article 3, but not under Article 13. Mr. Hurtado then entered into a private settlement agreement with the Swiss government.

The Commission found that Article 13 had been violated because Mr. Hurtado was not examined by a doctor until eight days after his arrest. Because there was a friendly settlement between Mr. Hurtado and the Swiss government, the Court decided to strike the case out of the list (remove the case from the Court’s docket). Moreover, because the private settlement was reached, the Court held that its decision not to take the case was not against public policy.