CASE OF DICU AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 30319/16 and 14 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF DICU AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 30319/16 and 14 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
2 December 2021

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

In the case of Dicu and Others v. Romania,

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

Armen Harutyunyan, President,
Jolien Schukking,
Ana Maria Guerra Martins, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 10 November 2021,

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

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in applications against Romania 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 Romanian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

3. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.

4. The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

5. 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 ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION

6. The applicants complained principally of the inadequate conditions of their detention. They relied on Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 3

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

7. The Court notes that the applicants were kept in detention in poor conditions. The details of the applicants’ 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, §§ 122‑41, and Ananyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 42525/07 and 60800/08, §§ 149‑59, 10 January 2012).

8. In the leading case of Rezmiveș and Others v. Romania, (nos. 61467/12 and 3 others, 25 April 2017), the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

9. Having examined all the material submitted to it and the arguments raised by the parties, including the Government’s objections related to the non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, 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 (including its findings in the recent case of Polgar v. Romania, no. 39412/19, §§ 94-97, 20 July 2021), the Court considers that in the instant case the applicants’ conditions of detention, as described in the appended table below, were inadequate.

10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.

III. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

11. In applications nos. 36690/16 and 42488/16 the applicants also raised other complaints under Article 3 of the Convention.

12. The Court has examined the applications listed in the appended table and considers that, in the light of all the material in its possession and in so far as the matters complained of are within its competence, these complaints either do not meet the admissibility criteria set out in Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention or do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Convention or the Protocols thereto.

It follows that this part of the applications must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

13. 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.”

14. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Rezmiveș and Others and Polgar, both cited above), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

15. 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 complaints concerning the inadequate conditions of detention, as specified in the appended table, admissible, and the remainder of the applications inadmissible;

3. Holds that these complaints disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention concerning the inadequate conditions of detention for the periods specified in the appended table below;

4. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, 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 2 December 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                          Armen Harutyunyan
Acting Deputy Registrar                             President

__________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Article 3 of the Convention
(inadequate conditions of detention)

No. Application no.
Date of introduction
Applicant’s name
Year of birth
Representative’s name and location Facility
Start and end date
Duration
Sq. m per inmate Specific grievances Amount awarded for pecuniary and non‑pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant (in euros)[1]
1. 30319/16
09/07/2016
Marius-Dumitru DICU
1984
Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Deva (Bârcea Mare) and Aiud Prisons
08/01/2015 to
12/04/2016
1 year(s) and 3 month(s) and 5 day(s)
1.65 – 1.86 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, no or restricted access to shower, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, inadequate temperature, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient natural light 3,000
2. 36690/16
08/11/2016
Marian MELINTE
1987
Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Giurgiu and Mărgineni Prisons
28/05/2013 to
24/12/2016
3 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 27 day(s)
1.71 – 2.90 m² overcrowding (save for 23/12/2013 – 11/02/2014), bunk beds, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, poor quality of potable water 3,000
3. 41131/16
07/09/2016
Ionel GOGA
1974
Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Bacău, Jilava, Iași, Rahova, Slobozia and Giurgiu Prisons; Rahova Prison Hospital
07/01/2002 to
06/01/2017
15 year(s)
1.79 – 3 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of potable water 5,000
4. 42488/16
18/08/2016
Ionuț-Iulian LOZNEANU
1977
Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Tulcea Prison
22/01/2016 to
01/09/2016
7 month(s) and 11 day(s)
Tulcea and Iași Prisons
15/09/2016 to
03/05/2017
7 month(s) and 19 day(s)
1.76 – 2.43 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, no or restricted access to shower, poor quality of food, mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, inadequate temperature, sharing cells with inmates infected with contagious disease 3,000
5. 44836/16
23/08/2016
Lucian ANGHEL
1971
Rahova and Tulcea Prisons
25/08/2014 to
13/07/2017
2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 19 day(s)
1.39 – 2.75 m² overcrowding, mouldy or dirty cell, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, no or restricted access to warm water, bunk beds, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of fresh air, lack or insufficient quantity of food 3,000
6. 57969/16
20/04/2017
Șofronie-Cristian CALOTĂ
1982
Aurora Calotă
Uricani
Aiud and Deva (Bârcea Mare) Prisons
18/12/2014 to
21/03/2017
2 year(s) and 3 month(s) and 4 day(s)
1.68 – 2.86 m² overcrowding, mouldy or dirty cell, bunk beds, inadequate temperature, poor quality of food, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of toiletries, no or restricted access to shower, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000
7. 59611/16
07/10/2016
George Cătălin MUSTĂȚEA
1987
Andreea-Gabriela Cadar
Galați
Constanța County Police Station and Constanța – Poarta Albă Prison
20/02/2012 to
14/03/2012
24 day(s)
Constanța – Poarta Albă and Tulcea Prisons
20/03/2012 to
13/01/2015
2 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 25 day(s)
Constanța – Poarta Albă Prison
20/01/2015 to
08/04/2016
1 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 20 day(s)
1.38 – 3 m² overcrowding (save for the period 20/02/2012 – 12/03/2012), lack of privacy for toilet, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of potable water, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient electric light, inadequate temperature, passive smoking, lack or insufficient quantity of food, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of toiletries 3,000
8. 7969/17
17/01/2017
Gabriel PUȘCAȘ
1994
Vasile Rareş Biro
Satu Mare
Sălaj County Police Station; Oradea and
Satu Mare Prisons
07/06/2015 to
01/11/2016
1 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 26 day(s)
1.16 – 2.77 m² Overcrowding (save for the periods from 28/07/2015 until 13/08/2015 and from 12/11/2015 until 07/12/2015), lack of privacy for toilet, lack of fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, no or restricted access to shower, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities 3,000
9. 26351/17
27/03/2017
Gabriel-Liviu NICULAE
1975
Luminița-Florica Bîrnea
Bucharest
Bucharest Central Arrest, Rahova and Jilava Prisons
14/07/2011 to
27/09/2016
5 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 14 day(s)
1.26 – 2.48 m² overcrowding, lack of privacy for toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, poor quality of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, inadequate temperature, bunk beds 5,000
10. 28221/17
03/04/2017
Hesamedin EMADI
1967
Radu Pascu
Oradea
Rahova, Satu Mare, Oradea and Jilava Prisons
26/05/2015 to
19/10/2016
1 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 24 day(s)
1.41 – 2.89 m² overcrowding, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of privacy for toilet, no or restricted access to toilet, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000
11. 29243/17
05/04/2017
Dănuţ-Chiriţă TRIFU
1989
Andreea-Gabriela Cadar
Galați
Constanța – Poarta Albă Prison
15/12/2014 to
06/10/2016
1 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 22 day(s)
1.67 – 2.62 m² overcrowding (save for the period from 19/06/2015 until 15/07/2015), lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, poor quality of potable water, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, inadequate temperature, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack or insufficient quantity of food 3,000
12. 30653/17
10/04/2017
Géza-Levente SZABÓ
1982
Corina Mara
Oradea
Vâlcea County Police Station; Mioveni (Colibași) and Satu Mare Prisons
28/05/2015 to
23/01/2017
1 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 27 day(s)
1.39 – 2.83 m² overcrowding (save for the period 28/05/2015 – 22/07/2015), bunk beds, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of toiletries, no or restricted access to toilet, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture 3,000
13. 38292/17
18/05/2017
Ion MARIN
1970
Andreea-Gabriela Cadar
Galați
Constanța – Poarta Albă Prison
21/07/2016 to
10/12/2016
4 month(s) and 20 day(s)
1.52 – 2 m² overcrowding (save for the period from 21/09/2016 until 29/09/2016), lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, poor quality of potable water, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or insufficient electric light, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack or insufficient quantity of food 1,000
14. 38463/17
22/06/2017
Maria GÂNDAC
1979
Târgşor and Cluj Prisons
25/05/2014 to
11/04/2017
2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 18 day(s)
1.15 m² overcrowding, poor quality of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, mouldy or dirty cell, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000
15. 39314/17
17/05/2017
Silviu-Daniel ROTOPĂNESCU
1988
Adrian Stancu
Oradea
Bihor County Police Station; Oradea, Satu Mare and Codlea Prisons
25/03/2014 to
25/04/2017
3 year(s) and 1 month(s) and 1 day(s)
1.31 – 2.86 m² overcrowding (save for the period 22/04/2014 – 13/05/2014), lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, poor quality of food, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000

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

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