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M.C. v. Bulgaria

European Court of Human Rights
[2003] ECHR 39272/98


A 14-year-old Bulgarian girl, M.C. (petitioner) was invited by a 20-year-old male acquaintance, P, to go to a disco bar with two of his friends, A, and V.A., in a small town a few miles from her home. M.C. agreed on the condition that she was back home by 11 p.m. that night. After going to the disco bar, A suggested that the group stop at a nearby reservoir to go swimming. Although M.C. objected, they drove to the reservoir. While the others went swimming, M.C. remained in the car. Shortly thereafter, P came back, sat in the front seat of the car next to M.C. and began kissing her. M.C. tried to push P away, but he subsequently forced her to have sexual intercourse. M.C. later told police that she was scared and did not have the strength to resist or scream for help. P later told police that the sex was consensual. Around 3:00 a.m., the group went to a nearby town where V.A.’s relatives had a house. While there, M.C. stayed close to A because he was the brother of a classmate and she believed he would protect her. Instead, A forced M.C. to have sexual intercourse with him on a bed. M.C. begged A to stop, but did not physically resist. A later told police the sex was consensual. Later that morning, M.C. and her mother went directly to a hospital for an examination. The district prosecutor began criminal proceedings and referred the case to an investigator who subsequently determined that there was insufficient evidence that M.C. had been compelled to have sexual intercourse and thus terminated the investigation. M.C. unsuccessfully lodges consecutive appeals with other authorities and ultimately filed a complaint against the Bulgarian government under the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention).

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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