1. The case originated in an application (no. 40020/03) against the Italian Republic lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by four Bulgarian nationals, L.M., S.M., I.I., and K.L. (“the applicants”), on 11 December 2003
2. The applicants were represented by Mr S.S. Marinov, manager of Civil Association Regional Future, Vidin. The Italian Government were represented initially by their Co-Agent, Mr N. Lettieri, and subsequently by their Co-Agent, Ms P. Accardo. The Bulgarian Government were represented initially by their Agent, Ms N. Nikolova, and subsequently by their Agent, Ms M. Dimova.
3. The applicants alleged, in particular, that there had been a violation of Article 3 in respect of the lack of adequate steps to prevent the first applicant’s ill-treatment by a Serbian family by securing her swift release and the lack of an effective investigation into that alleged ill-treatment.