The nine applicants were the parents of children who died during the winter of 1996/97 in a home for children with severe mental disabilities, because of inadequate food, heating and medical care caused by the lack of resources.
The applicants alleged that the State had failed in its positive obligations to protect the lives of the persons in its care, by making their children stay in circumstances, which created a threat to their lives and well-being.
The Court pointed out that as the children had been entrusted to the care of the State in a specialized public facility and had been under the exclusive supervision of the authorities on account of their particular vulnerability, the State had an obligation to ensure their wellbeing. The Court emphasized that, as the manager of the social care home had informed the authorities about the problems in the facility, they had been under a duty to take the appropriate steps as a matter of urgency to protect the children’s lives. Finding that the authorities had not taken swift, practical and sufficient measures to prevent the deaths, despite having precise knowledge of the real and imminent threat to the lives of the persons concerned, the court ruled that there has been a violation of Article 2 of the Convention.