CASE OF ALIMPIEV v. THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA AND RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 48802/08

The present case concerns the applicant’s alleged detention in inhuman conditions, failure to observe his rights during detention pending trial and censorship of his correspondence in prison. On 2 November 2017 the respondent Governments were given notice of the complaints under Article 3, Article 5 §§ 3 and 4, Article 6 § 1, Article 8 and Article 13 of the Convention, and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court. The Russian Government objected to the examination of the application by a Committee. After having considered the Russian Government’s objection, the Court rejects it.


SECOND SECTION
CASE OF ALIMPIEV v. THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA AND RUSSIA
(Application no. 48802/08)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
27 April 2021

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Alimpiev v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

Aleš Pejchal, President,
Egidijus Kūris,
Carlo Ranzoni, judges,
and Hasan Bakırcı, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to:

the application (no. 48802/08) against the Republic of Moldova and the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, Mr Alexandru Alimpiev (“the applicant”), on 27 September 2008;

the parties’ observations;

the decision to reject the Government’s objection to examination of the application by a Committee;

Having deliberated in private on 30 March 2021,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

INTRODUCTION

1. The present case concerns the applicant’s alleged detention in inhuman conditions, failure to observe his rights during detention pending trial and censorship of his correspondence in prison.

2. On 2 November 2017 the respondent Governments were given notice of the complaints under Article 3, Article 5 §§ 3 and 4, Article 6 § 1, Article 8 and Article 13 of the Convention, and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible pursuant to Rule 54 § 3 of the Rules of Court.

3. The Russian Government objected to the examination of the application by a Committee. After having considered the Russian Government’s objection, the Court rejects it.

THE FACTS

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

4. The applicant was born in 1950 and lives in Tiraspol. The applicant was represented by Mr V. Ţurcan, a lawyer practising in Chișinău.

5. The Moldovan Government were represented by their Agent, Mr O. Rotari. The Russian Government were represented by their Agent, Mr M. Galperin, Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights and Deputy Minister of Justice.

6. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

A. The applicant’s arrest and conviction

7. The applicant was the president of the Tiraspol People’s Court in the self-proclaimed “Moldovan Republic of Transdniestria” (the “MRT”). On 31 August 2006 the “MRT” prosecutor’s office initiated a criminal investigation into corruption allegations involving the applicant.

8. On 17 May 2007 the applicant was arrested and formally charged with corruption.

9. On 25 December 2008 the “MRT” Supreme Court convicted the applicant of corruption and sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment. That judgment was upheld by the Appellate Chamber of the “MRT” Supreme Court on 18 March 2009.

10. On 24 July 2009 the plenary “MRT” Supreme Court examined the applicant’s criminal case in extraordinary proceedings and reduced his sentence to five years’ imprisonment. The court ordered his release on the basis of an act of amnesty.

B. The applicant’s detention pending trial

11. From the date of his arrest until his conviction on 25 December 2008 the applicant was detained pending trial. The prosecutor periodically sought the extension of the applicant’s detention, and each time this was granted by the judge.

12. The applicant was unable to obtain copies of any decisions extending his detention pending trial, as his lawyer’s requests to be given copies of those decisions were rejected. For instance, on 21 July 2008 the applicant’s lawyer sent a telegram to the president of the “MRT” Supreme Court, asking to be provided with a copy of a decision of 18 July 2008 ordering the extension of the applicant’s detention. He also asked that the applicant’s rights under Article 34 of the Convention not be hindered by a refusal to provide a copy. In a reply dated 23 July 2008, the president of the “MRT” Supreme Court informed the applicant’s lawyer that “MRT” law did not provide for the right of defence representatives to obtain copies of decisions issued in response to applications before the courts.

13. On 15 August 2008 the applicant’s lawyer asked the president of the “MRT” Supreme Court if he could be allowed to make copies of selected parts of his client’s criminal file. On the same date the president of the “MRT” Supreme Court added a handwritten note to the request, refusing it and explaining that “MRT” law did not provide for the right to make copies of documents in criminal files.

14. On 18 August 2008 the applicant’s lawyer asked to be given copies of all the decisions extending his client’s detention pending trial. He underlined that he had not been involved in the case at the pre-trial stage of the proceedings, and thus needed to have copies of the decisions previously issued in order to organise an effective defence. He also relied on Article 34 of the Convention and stated that there were no legal grounds for the refusal to issue him with copies of the decisions concerning his client.

15. The applicant submitted copies of his lawyer’s applications to the “MRT” courts to replace his detention with an alternative preventive measure. In those applications, the lawyer relied on Articles 3, 5, 6, 8 and 13 of the Convention and noted that, in extending his client’s detention, the “MRT” courts had simply cited the applicable legal provisions (concerning the risk of a person absconding, reoffending or interfering with an investigation), without referring to any evidence confirming that the relevant risks were present in his client’s specific case. The lawyer also described the applicant’s conditions of detention and his state of health, which, he submitted, had worsened as a result of those conditions.

16. On 11 November 2008 the applicant’s lawyer issued a press release, informing the public about the applicant’s case.

C. The applicant’s conditions of detention and medical assistance

17. The applicant described the conditions of his detention in a temporary detention facility (IVS) in Tiraspol and a prison in Tiraspol (UIN-3) as follows. The cell had no separate toilet or shower, and he was not provided with any hygiene products or bed linen. The cell was infested with parasites, the quality of the tap water was bad, and the cell window was very small and allowed damp and cold air into the cell. Daily walks were only allowed for a very short time each day. There was a weight limit on the items that could be sent to a detainee by his relatives (30 kg a month, including bottled water), which, combined with the inedible food provided by the detention facility, meant that he was often subjected to torture through hunger.

18. During the trial the applicant was held in a metal cage. On 6 August 2008 the applicant’s lawyer asked the president of the “MRT” Supreme Court to allow his client to sit next to him and not in a cage, as that was the only way that he could defend his client’s rights properly. He also asked for a finding that cages in courtrooms were unlawful. It is unclear whether the lawyer received a reply.

19. The applicant submitted a medical certificate confirming that on 23 June 2008 an emergency medical team had attended to him. The doctors had diagnosed respiratory problems and had noted that he was suffering from moderate persistent asthma. He had been prescribed medication. According to the applicant, his cellmates smoked heavily, subjecting him (a non-smoker) to passive smoking.

D. Alleged censorship of correspondence

20. According to the applicant, all his correspondence was censored during his detention. He submitted a copy of a letter sent to him personally by his lawyer. On the envelope there is a stamp with the inscription “Verified. Censor (signature), 8/09/2008”.

II. RELEVANT LEGAL FRAMEWORK

21. The relevant material has been summarised in Mozer v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia [GC] (no. 11138/10, §§ 61-77, ECHR 2016).

THE LAW

I. GENERAL ADMISSIBILITY ISSUES

A. Jurisdiction

22. The Russian Government argued that the applicant did not come within their jurisdiction and that therefore the application should be declared inadmissible ratione personae and ratione loci in respect of the Russian Federation. For their part, the Moldovan Government did not contest that the Republic of Moldova retained jurisdiction over the territory controlled by the “MRT”.

23. The Court notes that the parties in the present case have positions concerning the matter of jurisdiction which are similar to those expressed by the parties in Catan and Others v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia ([GC], nos. 43370/04, 8252/05 and 18454/06, §§ 83-101, ECHR 2012) and Mozer (cited above, §§ 81-95). Namely, the applicant and the Moldovan Government submitted that both respondent Governments had jurisdiction, while the Russian Government submitted that they had no jurisdiction. The Russian Government expressed the view that the approach to the issue of jurisdiction taken by the Court in Ilaşcu and Others v. Moldova and Russia ([GC] no. 48787/99, ECHR 2004 VII) was wrong and at variance with public international law.

24. The Court observes that the general principles concerning the issue of jurisdiction under Article 1 of the Convention in respect of acts undertaken and facts arising in the Transdniestrian region of Moldova were set out in Ilaşcu and Others (cited above, §§ 311-19), Catan and Others (cited above, §§ 103-07) and, more recently, Mozer (cited above, §§ 97-98).

25. In so far as the Republic of Moldova is concerned, the Court notes that in Ilaşcu, Catan and Mozer it found that although Moldova had no effective control over the Transdniestrian region, the fact that Moldova was the territorial State meant that persons within that territory fell within its jurisdiction. However, its obligation, under Article 1 of the Convention, to secure to everyone within its jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention, was limited to that of taking the diplomatic, economic, judicial and other measures that were both in its power and in accordance with international law (see Ilaşcu and Others, cited above, § 333; Catan and Others, cited above, § 109; and Mozer, cited above, § 100). Moldova’s obligations under Article 1 of the Convention were found to be positive obligations (see Ilaşcu and Others, cited above, §§ 322 and 330-31; Catan and Others, cited above, §§ 109-10; and Mozer, cited above, § 99).

26. The Court sees no reason to distinguish the present case from the above-mentioned cases. Besides, it notes that the Moldovan Government do not object to a similar approach being applied in the present case. Therefore, it finds that Moldova had jurisdiction for the purposes of Article 1 of the Convention, but that its responsibility for the acts complained of is to be assessed in the light of the above-mentioned positive obligations (see Ilaşcu and Others, cited above, § 335).

27. In so far as the Russian Federation is concerned, the Court notes that in Ilașcu and Others it found that the Russian Federation had contributed both militarily and politically to the creation of a separatist regime in the region of Transdniestria in 1991-1992 (see Ilaşcu and Others, cited above, § 382). The Court also found in subsequent cases concerning the Transdniestrian region that up until July 2010 at least, the “MRT” had only been able to continue to exist, and to resist Moldovan and international efforts to resolve the conflict and bring democracy and the rule of law to the region, because of Russian military, economic and political support (see Ivanţoc and Others, cited above, §§ 116-20; Catan and Others, cited above, §§ 121-22; and Mozer, cited above, §§ 108 and 110). In Mozer, the Court concluded that the “MRT”‘s high level of dependency on Russian support provided a strong indication that the Russian Federation continued to exercise effective control and a decisive influence over the Transdniestrian authorities, and that therefore the applicants fell within that State’s jurisdiction under Article 1 of the Convention (see Mozer, cited above, §§ 110‑11).

28. The Court sees no grounds on which to distinguish the present case from Ilașcu and Others, Ivanţoc and Others, Catan and Others, and Mozer (all cited above).

29. It follows that the applicant in the present case fell within the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation under Article 1 of the Convention. Consequently, the Court dismisses the Russian Government’s objections of inadmissibility ratione personae and ratione loci.

B. Exhaustion of domestic remedies

30. The Moldovan Government submitted that since the applicant had not complained to the Moldovan authorities or in any way informed them about the alleged breaches of his rights by the “MRT” authorities, he had failed to exhaust available domestic remedies.

31. The applicant argued that his lawyer had clearly informed the public at large about the case via a press release (see paragraph 16 above). Therefore, the Moldovan authorities had been well aware of it. Moreover, the Moldovan Government had not indicated which domestic remedies existed, and in any event none of them were effective, since the Republic of Moldova could not ensure his immediate liberation.

32. The Court notes its conclusion made in Mozer (cited above, § 214), that “the positive obligation incumbent on Moldova is to use all the legal and diplomatic means available to it to continue to guarantee to those living in the Transdniestrian region the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms defined in the Convention”, and that “the ‘remedies’ which Moldova must offer the applicant consist in enabling him to inform the Moldovan authorities of the details of his situation and to be kept informed of the various legal and diplomatic actions taken”. The Court has already had occasion to find that the Republic of Moldova did not breach its positive obligations owing to an applicant’s failure to inform the Moldovan authorities of the alleged violations of his Convention rights by the “MRT” authorities (see Apcov v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia, no. 13463/07, § 46, 30 May 2017), and has declared an application against the Republic of Moldova inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies by not informing the Moldovan authorities (see Bondarenco v. the Republic of Moldova (dec), no. 58144/09, §§ 13-17, 18 September 2018).

33. In the present case, the Court considers that holding a press conference did not amount to properly informing the Moldovan authorities of the details of the applicant’s situation and asking for their assistance by taking legal and diplomatic action within their power to protect the applicant’s rights. It sees no reason to depart from its conclusions in the above-mentioned cases. It therefore concludes that the part of the application against the Republic of Moldova must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non‑exhaustion of domestic remedies.

34. The Court will next determine whether there has been any violation of the applicant’s rights under the Convention, and whether the responsibility of Russia is engaged (see Mozer, cited above, § 112).

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION

35. The applicant complained that his conditions of detention had been inhuman, that the required medical assistance had not been given to him in detention, and that he had been held in a metal cage in the courtroom during his trial. He relied on Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

A. Admissibility

36. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.

B. Merits

1. Complaint concerning the applicant’s conditions of detention and medical assistance

37. The applicant submitted that he had been held in inhuman conditions and not provided with the medical assistance he required. He gave a detailed description of those conditions (see paragraphs 17 and 19 above).

38. The Russian Government made no comments in this regard.

39. The Court notes that the applicant was held in detention in various “MRT” prisons during 2007-2009. It also notes that the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) visited the “MRT” region in 2000 and expressed serious concerns regarding the conditions of detention in the “MRT” prisons which they visited. In 2010 the CPT was not allowed to have private meetings with detainees, prompting it to not visit the region (see Mozer, cited above, §§ 63 and 64).

40. The applicant has given a detailed description of his conditions of detention, and there are no arguments or evidence to contradict that description. Taking this into account, in addition to the findings about the region made by the CPT and the Court’s own findings concerning the prisons in Tiraspol and Hlinaia in particular (see, for instance, Mozer, cited above, § 28, and Ilașcu, cited above, §§ 240-266), the Court cannot but conclude that the applicant was held in conditions which were incompatible with the requirements of Article 3; such conditions involved severe overcrowding, a lack of sanitary conditions, insufficient access to daylight and insufficient medical assistance. The lack of medical assistance was exacerbated by the smoking in the applicant’s cell, which was especially damaging to him, in the light of his asthma problems (see paragraph 19 above).

2. Complaint concerning the applicant being held in a metal cage during the trial

41. The applicant complained that he had been held in a metal cage during the trial, which he considered humiliating.

42. The Russian Government did not comment in this regard.

43. The Court reiterates its finding that “… holding a person in a metal cage during a trial constitutes in itself – having regard to its objectively degrading nature which is incompatible with the standards of civilised behaviour that are the hallmark of a democratic society – an affront to human dignity in breach of Article 3” (see Svinarenko and Slyadnev v. Russia [GC], nos. 32541/08 and 43441/08, § 138, ECHR 2014 (extracts)).

44. In the present case, the applicant was held in a metal cage throughout his trial, which in itself is incompatible with the requirements of Article 3 (see the preceding paragraph). Moreover, there was not even an attempt to justify such treatment by reference to any security reasons.

45. Accordingly, the Court finds a breach of Article 3 in this regard.

3. Conclusion

46. In the light of the above, the Court finds that the applicant’s rights guaranteed under Article 3 of the Convention were breached because he was held in inhuman conditions, deprived of the required medical assistance, and held in a metal cage during the trial.

C. Responsibility

47. In so far as the responsibility of the Russian Federation is concerned, the Court has established that Russia exercised effective control over the “MRT” during the period of the applicant’s detention (see paragraphs 27-29 above). In the light of this conclusion, and in accordance with its case-law, it is not necessary to determine whether or not Russia exercises detailed control over the policies and actions of the subordinate local administration (see Mozer, cited above, § 157). By virtue of its continued military, economic and political support for the “MRT”, which could not otherwise survive, Russia’s responsibility under the Convention is engaged as regards the violation of the applicant’s rights (ibid.).

48. In conclusion, and having found that the applicant was held in inhuman conditions within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention, denied medical assistance, and kept in a metal cage during his trial (see paragraph 46 above), the Court holds that there has been a violation of that provision by the Russian Federation.

III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 §§ 3 and 4 OF THE CONVENTION

49. The applicant complained that in ordering and subsequently extending his detention pending trial, the “MRT” courts had not adduced relevant and sufficient reasons for such detention. Moreover, he and his lawyer had not been given access to some of the case material. He pointed out that under the law of the “MRT”, detention pending trial could be decided solely on the basis of the seriousness of a crime. He relied on Article 5 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention, which read as follows:

“3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.

4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”

50. The applicant also relied on Article 6 in respect of the same complaints. The Court considers that this complaint should be examined solely from the standpoint of Article 5 §§ 3 and 4, bearing in mind that, since it is the master of the characterisation to be given in law to the facts of the case, it is not bound by the characterisation given by an applicant or a government (see, for instance, Fernandes de Oliveira v. Portugal [GC], no. 78103/14, § 81, 31 January 2019).

A. Admissibility

51. The Court notes that these complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that they are not inadmissible on any other grounds. They must therefore be declared admissible.

B. Merits

52. The applicant submitted that the courts had decided his detention without relying on relevant and sufficient reasons. Moreover, he and his lawyer had been unable to obtain a number of documents in the file, such as those which were supposedly the basis for the judges’ decisions to remand him in custody.

53. The Russian Government did not make any specific submissions.

54. In the present case, the Court notes that the applicant was unable to obtain any of the decisions extending his detention pending trial, or any documents on which such decisions could have been based. This raises an issue under paragraphs 3 and 4 of the Convention, since not only was the defence unable to properly argue against the applicant’s detention pending trial in the absence of any information, but it also remains unclear what the reasons for such detention might have been. This total absence of information given to the defence is sufficient for the Court to conclude that there has been a breach of Article 5 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention in the present case.

55. As concerns the responsibility of the Russian Federation, for the same reasons as those mentioned in paragraphs 47 and 48 above, the Court finds that Russia is responsible for the breach of Article 5 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention in the present case.

IV. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION

56. The applicant complained that all of his correspondence had been monitored by the prison administration. He relied on Article 8 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

A. Admissibility

57. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.

B. Merits

58. The applicant submitted evidence indicating that letters which he had sent or received, notably correspondence with his lawyer, had been monitored by the prison staff (see paragraph 20 above). He argued that this was standard practice, and that all correspondence was thus read.

59. The Russian Government did not comment.

60. The Court considers that the opening and reading of private correspondence sent to or by a detainee, as confirmed in the applicant’s case by the stamp and signature of the person who carried out such acts in the prison where he was detained, clearly amounts to an interference with the right to respect for a person’s correspondence guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention (see, for instance, Porowski v. Poland, no. 34458/03, §§ 166-168, 21 March 2017).

61. Even assuming that such acts were in accordance with the law of the “MRT”, whose provisions were not communicated by the respondent Government, the Court notes the absence of any justification for such monitoring, notably the monitoring of correspondence between a detainee and his lawyer. This is sufficient for the Court to conclude that there has been a breach of Article 8 of the Convention in the present case.

62. As concerns the responsibility of the Russian Federation, for the same reasons as those mentioned in paragraphs 47 and 48 above, the Court finds that Russia is responsible for the breach of Article 8 of the Convention in the present case.

V. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION

63. The applicant complained that he did not have effective remedies in respect of his complaints under Articles 3, 5 and 8 of the Convention. He relied on Article 13 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

64. He also complained under Article 6 § 1 that he did not have access to a court in either the Republic of Moldova or the Russian Federation to complain of the breach of his rights. Again with reference to its power to determine the characterisation to be given in law to the facts of the case (see paragraph 50 above), the Court considers that this complaint is to be examined solely under Article 13 of the Convention, taken in conjunction with Articles 3, 5 and 8.

A. Admissibility

65. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.

B. Merits

66. The applicant considered that he had no means of asserting his rights in the face of the actions of the “MRT” authorities.

67. The Russian Government did not make any specific comment.

68. The Court reiterates its finding in Mozer (cited above, § 211) that “… in certain circumstances applicants may be required to exhaust effective remedies available in an unrecognised entity (see Demopoulos and Others, cited above, §§ 89 and 92-96). However, there is no indication in the file, and the Russian Government have not claimed, that any effective remedies were available to the applicant in the ‘MRT’ in respect of the above-mentioned complaints”. In the absence of any new argument or evidence from the Russian Government, the Court does not see any reason to depart from that conclusion in the present case.

69. The Court therefore concludes that the applicant did not have an effective remedy in respect of his complaints under Article 3, Article 5 §§ 3 and 4 and Article 8 of the Convention. Consequently, the Court must decide whether this violation of Article 13 can be attributed to Russia.

70. In the present case, the Court has found that the Russian Federation continues to exercise effective control over the “MRT” (see paragraphs 27-28 above). In accordance with its case-law, it is thus not necessary to determine whether Russia exercises detailed control over the policies and actions of the subordinate local authority. Russia’s responsibility is engaged by virtue of its continued military, economic and political support for the “MRT”, which could not otherwise survive (see Mozer, cited above, § 217).

71. In the absence of any submission by the Russian Government as to remedies available to the applicant, the Court concludes that there has been a violation by the Russian Federation of Article 13 taken in conjunction with Article 3, Article 5 §§ 3 and 4 and Article 8 of the Convention.

VI. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 18 OF THE CONVENTION

72. In his initial correspondence the applicant complained of a breach of Article 18, without giving any details. He did not refer to this complaint in the application form submitted. Having examined the material of the case, the Court finds no appearance of a violation of this provision.

73. In view of the above, the Court finds that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

VII. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

74. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”

A. Non-pecuniary damage

75. The applicant claimed 96,000 euros (EUR) from Russia in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

76. The Russian Government submitted that the sum claimed was excessive, unsubstantiated and guided by the political preferences of the applicant and his representative.

77. In view of the number of breaches of the Convention it has found and the seriousness of those breaches, the Court awards the applicant EUR 11,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.

B. Costs and expenses

78. The applicant also claimed EUR 1,200 from both respondent Governments jointly for the costs and expenses incurred before the Court. He submitted copies of documents confirming postal expenses in the amount of 380 Moldovan lei (MDL – the equivalent of approximately EUR 20).

79. The Russian Government did not make any comment.

80. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and its case-law, notably the absence of any form of legal agreement between the applicant and his lawyer which could be enforced at domestic level, the Court considers it reasonable to award only the postal expenses in the amount of EUR 20.

C. Default interest

81. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Declares the application inadmissible in respect of the Republic of Moldova;

2. Declares the complaint under Article 18 inadmissible, and the remainder of the application admissible, in respect of Russia;

3. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention;

5. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 4 of the Convention;

6. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention;

7. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention;

8. Holds that there is no need to examine separately the complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;

9. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, the following amounts:

(i) EUR 11,000 (eleven thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;

(ii) EUR 20 (twenty euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses;

(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;

10. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 27 April 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Hasan Bakırcı                                  Aleš Pejchal
Deputy Registrar                                 President

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