The Death of Six-Year-Old MAD.H at the Croatia Serbia Border Violates the Right to Life, as concluded by the European Court of Human Rights 

The Death of Six-Year-Old MAD.H at the Croatia Serbia Border Violates the Right to Life, as concluded by the European Court of Human Rights 
Photo: Darko Vojinovic, AP Photo


Idil Aydinoglu

International Justice and Human Rights Researcher,

Global Human Rights Defense.

On November 18, 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) concluded its judgment regarding the application of a family of 14 Afghan citizens concerning the death of their six-year-old child MAD.H, the lawfulness and conditions of their placement in a transit immigration center, their alleged summary removals from Croatia and alleged hindrance of the exercise of their right to individual petition. [1] According to the Court, the investigating authorities did not effectively investigate the death of MAD.H who was hit by a train while the family was on the way back to Serbia, as they did not sufficiently address evidence that supports applicants’ claims and shows that officials might have forced them to leave Croatia. With respect to the second claim, the Court considered the inadequate physical conditions that minor applicants were subjected to after witnessing the terrible death of their sister exceeded the threshold of the severity of Article 3. Considering the steps taken by Croatian authorities, the Court diverged from this finding for the account of adult applicants. The Court further concluded, inter alia, that the authorities did not take the necessary measures to expedite examine the necessity and lawfulness of their detention, that the applicants were forced to return to Serbia collectively and in the absence of an individual assessment, and that the pressure and restrictions that applicants and their lawyer were subjected to were aiming to discourage them from bringing their complaints before the Court.

In this regard, the Court found violations of the procedural limb of Article 2, Article 3 and 5 (1), Article 4 of Protocol No 4, and Article 34 of the Convention, respectively. It ruled a non-pecuniary compensation of 40.000 euros be paid to the applicants.

Sources and further reading:

[1] European Court of Human Rights, M.H a.o v, Croatia, Application Nos. 15670/18 and 43115/18, 18.11.2021,{%22itemid%22:[%22001-213213%22]}

[2] Press Release by the Registrar of the Court, “Multiple violations concerning Afghan family whose daughter died at Croatian border”, 18.11.2021, file:///home/chronos/u-1cc8447fb0d279417d7425239e8d8ac92f6d2718/MyFiles/Downloads/Judgment%20M.H.%20and%20Others%20v.%20Croatia%20-%20Multiple%20violations%20concerning%20Afghan%20family%20whose%20daughter%20died%20at%20Croatian%20border%20.pdf