CASE OF ZASLONOV v. UKRAINE (European Court of Human Rights) Applications nos. 4587/20 and 47262/20

The applicant complained of the inadequate conditions of his detention and of the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law. He also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.


FIFTH SECTION
CASE OF ZASLONOV v. UKRAINE
(Applications nos. 4587/20 and 47262/20)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
14 October 2021

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

In the case of Zaslonov v. Ukraine,

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

Stéphanie Mourou-Vikström, President,
Jovan Ilievski,
Mattias Guyomar, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 23 September 2021,

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

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in two applications against Ukraine lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.

2. The applicant was represented by Mr S. Rybiy and Mr S. Kulbach, lawyers practising in Dnipro, Ukraine, and Limoges, France, respectively.

3. The Ukrainian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

4. The applicant’s details and information relevant to the applications are set out in the appended table.

5. The applicant complained of the inadequate conditions of his detention and of the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law. He also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

6. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.

II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 3 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION

7. The applicant complained principally of the inadequate conditions of his detention and that he had no effective remedy in this connection. He relied on Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention, which read as follows:

Article 3

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

Article 13

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority …”

8. The Court notes that the applicant was kept in detention in poor conditions. The details of the applicant’s detention are indicated in the appended table. The Court refers to the principles established in its case law regarding inadequate conditions of detention (see, for instance, Muršić v. Croatia [GC], no. 7334/13, §§ 96-101, ECHR 2016). It reiterates in particular that a serious lack of space in a prison cell weighs heavily as a factor to be taken into account for the purpose of establishing whether the detention conditions described are “degrading” from the point of view of Article 3 and may disclose a violation, both alone or taken together with other shortcomings (see Muršić, cited above, §§ 122 141, and Ananyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 42525/07 and 60800/08, §§ 149-159, 10 January 2012).

9. In the leading cases of Melnik v. Ukraine, no. 72286/01, 28 March 2006 and Sukachov v. Ukraine, no. 14057/17, 30 January 2020, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

10. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the applicant’s conditions of detention were inadequate.

11. The Court further notes that the applicant did not have at his disposal an effective remedy in respect of these complaints.

12. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention.

III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS UNDER WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE-LAW

13. The applicant submitted other complaints which also raised issues under the Convention, given the relevant well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table). These complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor are they inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, they must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that they also disclose violations of the Convention in the light of its findings in Merit v. Ukraine (no. 66561/01, 30 March 2004), Tymoshenko v. Ukraine (no. 49872/11, §§ 286-287, 30 April 2013), Kotiy v. Ukraine (no. 28718/09, § 55, 5 March 2015), and Ignatov v. Ukraine (no. 40583/15, 15 December 2016).

IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

14. 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.”

15. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Sukachov, cited above, §§ 165 and 167), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

16. 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. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention concerning the inadequate conditions of detention and the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of the Convention as regards the other complaints raised under well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table);

5. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, the amounts indicated in the appended table, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;

(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.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 14 October 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                   Stéphanie Mourou-Vikström
Acting Deputy Registrar                            President

_________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention
(inadequate conditions of detention and lack of any effective remedy in domestic law)

Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of birth

Facility

Start and end date

Duration

Sq. m per inmate Specific grievances Other complaints under

well-established case-law

Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage per applicant

(in euros)[1]

Amount awarded for costs and expenses

(in euros)[2]

4587/20

26/12/2019

Vadym Viktorovych ZASLONOV

1988

Dnipro Penitentiary Facility no. 4

 

30/10/2016

pending

 

More than 4 years and 10 months and 1 day

2.3-4.7m² overcrowding, lack of fresh air, passive smoking, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of privacy for toilet, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of toiletries, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to potable water Art. 5 (3) – excessive length of pre-trial detention –

from 21/10/2016 to 31/07/2020, more than 3 years and 9 months, fragility of the reasons employed by the courts, failure to examine the possibility of applying other measures of restraint,

Art. 5 (5) – lack of, or inadequate compensation, for the violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention – see, Tymoshenko v. Ukraine, (no. 49872/11, §§ 286-287, 30 April 2013) and Kotiy v. Ukraine (no. 28718/09, § 55, 5 March 2015)

Art. 6 (1) – excessive length of criminal proceedings –

from 21/10/2016 – pending,

more than 4 years and 9 months,

2 levels of jurisdiction

9,800 250

[1] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant.

[2] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant.

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