ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION
120. The applicants relied on Article 3 of the Convention, submitting that as a result of their relative’s disappearance and the State’s failure to investigate it properly, they had endured mental suffering in breach of Article 3 of the Convention. Article 3 reads: “No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” A. The parties’ submissions
121. The Government disagreed with these allegations and argued that the investigation had not established that the applicants had been subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention.
122. The applicants maintained their submissions. B. The Court’s assessment 1. Admissibility
123. The Court notes that this complaint under Article 3 of the Convention is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible. 2. Merits
124. The Court has found on many occasions that in a situation of enforced disappearance close relatives of the victim may themselves be victims of treatment in violation of Article 3. The essence of such a violation does not mainly lie in the fact of the “disappearance” of the family member but rather concerns the authorities’ reactions and attitudes to the situation when it is brought to their attention (see Orhan v. Turkey, no. 25656/94, § 358, 18 June 2002, and Imakayeva, cited above, § 164).
125. In the present case the Court notes that the applicants are close relatives of the disappeared person who witnessed his abduction. For more than five years they have not had any news of the missing man. During this period the applicants have made enquiries of various official bodies, both in writing and in person, about their missing relative. Despite their attempts, the applicants have never received any plausible explanation or information about what became of him following his detention. The responses they received mostly denied State responsibility for their relatives’ arrest or simply informed them that the investigation was ongoing. The Court’s findings under the procedural aspect of Article 2 are also of direct relevance here.
126. The Court therefore concludes that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention also in respect of the applicants.