CASE OF IANCU AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 57085/16 and 12 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF IANCU AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 57085/16 and 12 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 Iancu 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 ‑141, 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 objection 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 table appended 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. 58043/16, 68684/16, 28369/17 and 34215/17 the applicants also raised other complaints under Article 3 of the Convention.

12. The Court has examined these applications 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, 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. 57085/16

02/11/2016

Viorel Ginel IANCU

1972

 

 

Bucharest Police no. 1 and no. 6, Colibași and Jilava Prison Hospitals and Colibași, Giurgiu and Rahova Prisons

15/06/2012 to

19/01/2017

4 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 5 day(s)

1.49-2.57 m² overcrowding (save for 18-25/06/2012, 10-13/06/2013, 06-09/09/2013, 20-23/01/2014 and 15-17/09/2015), lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, no or restricted access to potable water, lack or inadequate furniture 3,000
2. 57416/16

24/10/2016

Flaviu JELER

1982

 

 

Bistrița Prison

08/05/2015 to

07/02/2017

1 year(s) and 9 month(s)

1.72-2.17 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, inadequate temperature, mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of food, lack of or restricted access to leisure or educational activities, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to potable water 3,000
3. 57807/16

11/11/2016

Valentin POPA

1978

 

 

Găești and Jilava Prisons

16/10/2015 to

20/12/2016

1 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 5 day(s)

2.25 m² overcrowding (save for 06/06-20/12/2016), bunk beds, mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food 3,000
4. 58043/16

28/11/2016

Daniel Ionuţ COSTIN

1976

 

 

Poarta Albă Prison

02/06/2014 to

26/04/2017

2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 25 day(s)

1.57-2.15 m² overcrowding, mouldy or dirty cell, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or restricted access to toilet, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to potable water, no or restricted access to warm water 3,000
5. 68684/16

12/04/2017

Adrian DUMITRU

1975

 

 

Poarta-Albă Prison

27/05/2016 to

22/08/2017

1 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 27 day(s)

1.52-2.51 m² overcrowding (save for 27/05- 16/06/2016), no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to running water 3,000
6. 78588/16

06/12/2016

Marius-Maricel DUMEA

1987

Cezara-Maria Nichita-Costescu

Timișoara

Timiș County Police and Arad and Timișoara Prisons

22/07/2014 to

10/01/2017

2 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 20 day(s)

2.25 m² overcrowding (save for 20/11/2014-20/04/2015 and 29-29/08/2015), lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to running water, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, inadequate temperature, poor quality of food 3,000
7. 28360/17

31/03/2017

Ionel-Alexandru GROZA

1975

Ionela Mărgărit

Bucharest

Brăila and Galați Prisons

01/11/2016 to

26/09/2017

10 month(s) and 26 day(s)

1.38-1.67 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, lack or inadequate furniture, no or restricted access to potable water, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food 1,000
8. 28365/17

31/03/2017

Costel-Didi MEDELEANU

1975

Ionela Mărgărit

Bucharest

Galați County Police and Brăila and Galați Prisons

11/09/2014 to

23/05/2017

2 year(s) and 8 month(s) and 13 day(s)

1.39-2.04 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of potable water, no or restricted access to running water, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient electric light 3,000
9. 28369/17

31/03/2017

Simona MACXIM

1992

Ionela Mărgărit

Bucharest

Bacău and Galați Prisons

11/08/2015 to

18/10/2017

2 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 8 day(s)

1.20-1.54 m² overcrowding (save for 16-23/09/2016), poor quality of food, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, poor quality of potable water, no or restricted access to warm water, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, bunk beds, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen 3,000
10. 28443/17

31/03/2017

Dumitru SABĂU

1973

Nicoleta Iuga

Arad

Timiș County Police and Arad, Jilava and Timișoara Prisons

09/07/2003 to

04/01/2017

13 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 27 day(s)

0.62-2.92 m² overcrowding (save for 10/01-03/02/2005, 16/03/2005-03/09/2007 and 09/10/2007-10/10/2013), no or restricted access to warm water, bunk beds, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or restricted access to shower, poor quality of potable water, inadequate temperature 5,000
11. 28460/17

03/04/2017

Alexandru LAKATOS

1959

Vasile Rareş Biro

Satu Mare

Bihor County Police and Oradea and Satu Mare Prisons

26/02/2014 to

14/03/2017

3 year(s) and 17 day(s)

1.4-2.59 m² overcrowding (save for 28/02-20/03/2014 and 29/07-21/09/2015), lack of fresh air, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to shower, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, bunk beds 3,000
12. 30972/17

13/04/2017

Dumitru-Florin NEAGU

1990

Raluca Elena Țărăscu

Lunguletu

Găești, Mărgineni and Ploiești Prisons

09/02/2015 to

18/10/2016

1 year(s) and 8 month(s) and 10 day(s)

1.06-2.78 m² overcrowding (save for 13/11/2015-15/03/2016 and 24/03-18/10/2016), no or restricted access to warm water, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, inadequate temperature 3,000
13. 34215/17

29/06/2017

Sever-Vergeliu MARC-MENYHARD

1956

 

 

Bistrița Prison

15/05/2017 to

07/06/2017

24 day(s)

2.17 m² overcrowding 1,000

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

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