CASE OF DUMITRACHE AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) Application no. 58771/16 and 9 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF DUMITRACHE AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 58771/16 and 9 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 Dumitrache 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 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. 32310/17, 32317/17 and 34289/17, 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, 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 bellow;

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. 58771/16

28/09/2016

Gheorghe DUMITRACHE

1990

 

 

Târgoviște Police and Mărgineni and Ploiești Prisons

29/04/2014 to

12/10/2016

2 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 14 day(s)

1.14-2.73 m² overcrowding (save for 03‑07/08/2015), lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to shower, lack of privacy for toilet, no or restricted access to running water, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, insufficient number of sleeping places, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000
2. 59512/16

07/10/2016

Ovidiu-Florin MIREA

1988

Constantin Mirea

Tia Mare

Craiova, Drobeta-Turnu-Severin and Pelendava Prisons

18/06/2015 to

20/09/2017

2 year(s) and 3 month(s) and 3 day(s)

1.30-2.82 m² overcrowding, no or restricted access to toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, poor quality of food, lack of fresh air, inadequate temperature 3,000
3. 60273/16

02/11/2016

Daniel-Ștefănel VOICU

1993

 

 

Brăila and Galați Prisons

09/07/2015 to

16/05/2017

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

1.12-2.16 m² overcrowding, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to potable water, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, inadequate temperature, lack or inadequate furniture 3,000
4. 32310/17

24/04/2017

Iulian-Daniel DINU

1982

Andreea-Gabriela Cadar

Galați

Poarta-Albă Prison

29/05/2015 to

02/11/2016

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

1.49-1.90 m² overcrowding, no or restricted access to toilet, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to running water, lack of toiletries, poor quality of potable water, inadequate temperature, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food 3,000
5. 32317/17

24/04/2017

Gelu-Marius VĂDUVA

1969

Andreea-Gabriela Cadar

Galați

Poarta-Albă Prison

23/06/2015 to

24/10/2016

1 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 2 day(s)

1.52-2.98 m² overcrowding (save for 26/08-23/09/2015), lack of or insufficient electric light, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, inadequate temperature, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, bunk beds, lack of fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air 3,000
6. 34282/17

02/05/2017

Gheorghe ȚUGUI

1954

Ionel Ilie

Pitești

Deva Prison

28/07/2016 to

02/12/2016

4 month(s) and 5 day(s)

1.89 m² overcrowding, poor quality of food, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture 1,000
7. 34289/17

03/05/2017

Mihai FERARU

1973

Andreea-Gabriela Cadar

Galați

 Poarta Albă Prison

09/07/2013 to

09/11/2016

3 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 1 day(s)

1.53-2.59 m² overcrowding, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, inadequate temperature, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000
8. 34595/17

15/06/2017

Marcel-Florin HONCERU

1979

 

 

Botoșani, Focșani and Iași Prisons

25/04/2014 to

29/03/2017

2 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 5 day(s)

1.23-2.13 m² overcrowding, mouldy or dirty cell, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, bunk beds, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack or inadequate furniture 3,000
9. 36352/17

09/05/2017

Ioan-Petru GROZA

1970

 

 

Deva Police and Aiud and Deva Prisons

17/12/2014 to

22/11/2016

1 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 6 day(s)

1.60-2.67 m² overcrowding, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, inadequate temperature, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient natural light, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to warm water, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of food 3,000
10. 39037/17

17/05/2017

Engin GEAMBEC

1990

Andreea-Gabriela Cadar

Galați

Poarta Albă Prison

13/02/2014 to

04/04/2017

3 year(s) and 1 month(s) and 23 day(s)

1.36-2.91 m² overcrowding (save for 01-03/04/2014 and 03/11/2014-09/01/2015), infestation of cell with insects/rodents, bunk beds, lack of fresh air, to running water, no or restricted access to toilet, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air 3,000

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

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