From: Exit Staff
Albanian Authorities’ Inefficient Investigation Into Acid Attack Violates Human Rights, Rules ECHR

Albanian authorities did not respond effectively to a 2009 acid attack against a woman by her husband, thus violating Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights

In the case of Tershan v. Albania, the European Court of Human Rights ruled, on August 4, that the investigation into the violent attack had been severely lacking. 

The plaintiff, Dh. Tershana, is an Albanian woman who had acid thrown on her by an unidentified assailant in 2009. She suffered 25% burns to her face and upper body. She had to undergo 14 operations between 2009 and 2012.

She suspected that her ex-husband was responsible for the attack. After the attack, Tershana told authorities that he had been violent towards her in the past and had threatened to kill her.

Whereas this instance of gender-based violence, especially in a climate of leniency towards perpetrators of violence against women, should have given rise to an especially diligent investigation, local authorities were not even able to identify the substance that was used in the attack. Furthermore, the investigation was suspended in 2010, and Tershana’s inquiries surrounding its progress went unanswered.

In 2014, Tershana filed a complaint with the ECHR, arguing that the State had failed to protect her and conduct a thorough and effective investigation to bring her attacker to justice, thus violating Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Additionally, she complained that her right to effective remedy, as guaranteed by Article 13 of the Convention, had been violated, as she could not challenge the prosecution, nor apply for compensation after the attack, neither from the perpetrator or the State.

Furthermore, Tershana complained that local authorities did not give her case proper attention because she was a woman, in violation of Article 14 of the Convention that prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender.

In its August 4 judgement, the Court dismissed her claim that the State had failed to protect her, but upheld that the inadequate investigation into her attack constituted a procedural violation of Article 2.

The Court ruled that the State of Albania must pay Tershana €12,000 in damages and €2720 in expenses.