CoE decision: Compensation for damage to demonstrations will be paid by the state


By Ioanna Mandrou

Important decisions that pave the way for compensation of owners, who suffer damage from incidents in mobilizations, were issued by the Council of State, recognizing the obligation to compensate them by the state on the grounds that the police had an obligation and could intervene to protect the property of citizens.

With the vice-president of the Council of State Chrysoula Chrysikopoulou as president and the rapporteur Hariklia Charalambidou as rapporteur, the Supreme Court (Section A) issued nine decisions acquitting property owners who suffered destruction in the center of Athens in 2008 on the day of the murder of Ale.

The Supreme Court did not accept as correct the same number of decisions of the Administrative Court of Appeal, which had rejected the requests of the owners, but overturned them and awarded compensation that will be paid by the state amounting to 1.8 million euros.

The rationale for these important decisions says it all.

“The protection of citizens’ property from violent incidents that take place in the context of any form of mass mobilization of citizens is an obligation of the police, the fulfillment of which is not at their discretion. Therefore, if the police completely fail to intervene to protect the property of the citizen who is threatened, in the above circumstances, this omission is illegal and therefore the civil liability of the State required for the foundation is met “.

The State Counselors then emphasize in their decisions that “the police have only discretion as to how they will act, that is, as to the choice of the kind of measures they must take to fulfill their obligation, capable of – at their discretion – to select and implement the most appropriate business plan for the specific case.
In the special case in which the police, although intervening and operating, do not take any specific measures to protect the property of the citizen, the choice to abstain from any action, especially for the purpose of the property, constitutes an excess. limits of their discretion and is therefore illegal “.

These important decisions also state that although the case of force majeure is exempt from the responsibility of the State for payment of compensation according to article 105 of the Introductory Law of the Civil Code, but “they do not constitute a case of force majeure, violent incidents of great intensity and gradually escalating and spreading and taking place in many places at the same time, resulting in the disintegration of the police force and consequently in the reduction of their effectiveness, if these episodes could be foreseen in the lessons of common experience and brought under control in time, that is, before they spread and become uncontrollable by taking immediate, necessary and appropriate measures “.

Elsewhere, state advisers point out that “they are far from a case of force majeure, violent incidents and vandalism taking place as part of a planned protest march when the same incident that sparked the protest has already resulted in violent and large-scale incidents.” as well as extensive damage and destruction either in the same area or in another, if at any time such a development is highly probable and therefore it is possible to anticipate and prevent it by immediate action and taking all appropriate measures, taking into account the power of the police to impose restrictions on the holding of rallies or gatherings or to refine rallies and gatherings which, because they are diverted to acts of violence against persons, are illegal “.

The plaintiffs in the CoC argued that the damage they suffered was due to omissions of the Police to take the appropriate measures (preventive and repressive) imposed by the circumstances. In the first instance they were acquitted, but the Athens Administrative Court of Appeal annulled the decision of the Administrative Court of First Instance, arguing, among other things, that EL.AS. it is impossible in such a sudden and generalized violent situation to act to guard all the businesses, but the SC overturned the appellate decisions as illegal and justified the companies.


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