Deadly police force in light of Article 2 European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

Katrien Keyaerts, Paul De Hert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This contribution analyses the case law by the European Court of Human Rights on deadly police force in light of Article 2 European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR).

From this provision flow four obligations for member states and their law enforcement authorities, such as the prohibition of (potentially) deadly use of force unless absolutely necessary and in strict proportion to achieve a goal mentioned in Article 2.

It also contains the obligation to protect the lives of persons in their jurisdiction, by putting in place a legal and administrative framework that clearly delineates the exceptions when use of deadly force including firearms can be authorized, and by properly selecting and training personnel on the use of such force. Police actions also must be properly planned and controlled to minimize the risk of deaths.

In particular circumstances, police also has a duty to take reasonable measures to protect the lives of persons against attacks by other private persons and even themselves (in case of suicide risk).

Finally, to ensure the right to life is effectively protected in practice, Article 2 also entails a procedural obligation: authorities must investigate allegations of an above-mentioned substantive violation of Article 2. This investigation must be adequate, independent, timely, with sufficient involvement of the victim or next of kin
Original languageDutch
Pages (from-to)51-67
Number of pages17
JournalTijdschrift voor Strafrecht
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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