The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of Britain’s decision not to charge police officers who shot and killed a Brazilian electrician in 2005 after mistaking him for a terrorism suspect.
In its ruling Wednesday, the court, in a 13-to-4 decision, ruled Britain had not violated Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to life. A cousin to Jean Charles de Menezes, the 27-year-old electrician who was killed, had complained to the court that Britain “had not fulfilled its duty to ensure the accountability of its agents for his death.” A British investigation into de Menezes in 2009 resulted in no charges being filed against the officers who killed him.
“The decision not to prosecute any individual officer was not due to any failings in the investigation or the State’s tolerance of or collusion in unlawful acts,” the European court ruled on Wednesday. “Rather, it was due to the fact that, following a thorough investigation, a prosecutor had considered all the facts of the case and concluded that there was insufficient evidence against any individual officer to prosecute.”
On July 7, 2005, suicide attacks on London’s public-transportation system killed 56 people. Then, on July 21, two weeks later, unexploded bombs were found on three London Underground trains and one unexploded device was found on a London bus. London, already reeling from the attacks, was on edge. Police feared a suicide bomber might try—and succeed—in targeting the city’s public- transportation system.