CASE OF DIȚĂ AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) 23712/16 and 18 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF DIȚĂ AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 23712/16 and 18 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
13 January 2022

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

In the case of Diță 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 9 December 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 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. 23712/16, 27236/16, 42903/16, 46462/17, 47340/17 and 74892/17 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 further 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;

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 13 January 2022, 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. 23712/16

26/05/2016

 

 

Sorinel DIȚĂ

1969

 

 

Pelendava and Drobeta Turnu Severin Prisons

02/04/2015 to

06/03/2017

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

1.40-2.47 m² overcrowding, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, inadequate temperature 3,000
2. 27236/16

13/09/2016

Gabriel Florentin CRISTACHE

1979

Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Ploiești Prison

08/12/2015 to

28/04/2016

4 month(s) and 21 day(s)

1.52-2.11 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of or restricted access to leisure or educational activities, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to toilet, poor quality of food, inadequate temperature, poor quality of potable water, lack of fresh air 1,000
3. 27304/16

01/06/2016

Florin IRIMIA

1983

 

 

Tulcea and Poarta Albă Prisons

04/10/2007 to

15/03/2017

9 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 12 day(s)

1.35-1.76 m² overcrowding (save for 12-14/05/2008), bunk beds, lack of fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of privacy for toilet, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or insufficient natural light, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 5,000
4. 30328/16

24/06/2016

Dănuț MIHĂILĂ

1969

Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Argeș County Police Station, Galați, Colibași, Rahova, Giurgiu and Jilava Prisons, Colibași and Jilava Prison Hospitals

12/06/2008 to

31/05/2016

7 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 20 day(s)

1.34-2.44 m² overcrowding (save for 26/07/2013-14/08/2013, 3-5/12/2013, 5-12/06/2014 and 11-18/07/2015), bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to toilet, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower 5,000
5. 38458/16

31/08/2016

Marian SCARLAT

1987

Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Alexandria Central Arrest, Rahova and Giurgiu Prisons

15/06/2009 to

12/01/2017

7 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 29 day(s)

2.66 m² overcrowding (save for Giurgiu Prison and for 11/06/2010-18/10/2010), bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower 5,000
6. 38531/16

02/08/2016

Mihai-Silviu CRUDU

1988

 

 

Iași and Botoșani Prisons

26/08/2014 to

08/09/2016

2 year(s) and 14 day(s)

 

Iași Prison

24/10/2016 to

26/07/2017

9 month(s) and 3 day(s)

1.28-2.52 m²

 

 

 

 

2.52 m2

overcrowding, bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water 3,000
7. 42903/16

03/01/2017

Marian-Cristian MUT

1994

Vasile Rareş Biro

Satu Mare

Oradea and Satu Mare Prisons

04/05/2016 to

25/10/2016

5 month(s) and 22 day(s)

1.6-1.8 m² overcrowding, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack or inadequate furniture, lack or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to toilet, constant electric light, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air 1,000
8. 7560/17

30/12/2016

Mihai LINGURAR

1959

Cezara-Maria
Nichita-Costescu Timișoara
Arad County Police, Arad and Timişoara Prisons

21/10/2012 to

12/01/2017

4 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 23 day(s)

 

Timișoara Prison

27/02/2017 to

13/09/2017

6 month(s) and 18 day(s)

2-2.40 m²

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 m2

overcrowding (save for Arad Prison), bunk beds, constant electric light, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell 3,000
9. 12424/17

06/03/2017

Gabriel CÎRCIUMARU

1982

Camelia Cîrciumaru

Craiova

Craiova and Pelendava Prisons

25/10/2016 to

19/09/2017

10 month(s) and 26 day(s)

1.30-2.19 m² overcrowding, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to shower 1,000
10. 20434/17

21/04/2017

Ionel OPREA

1983

Irina Maria Peter
Bucharest
Rahova, Jilava and Focşani Prisons

18/06/2016 to

07/06/2017

11 month(s) and 21 day(s)

1.32-2.23 m² overcrowding (save for 9-10/06/2016), bunk beds, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, lack or insufficient quantity of food, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of fresh air, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell 1,000
11. 22064/17

12/04/2017

István IRIMIAS

1976

 

 

Oradea, Târgu-Mureş, Aiud, Arad, Gherla, Miercurea Ciuc and Bistriţa, Prisons, Dej and Rahova Prison Hospitals

04/06/2008 to

10/10/2017

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

1.20-2.76 m² overcrowding (save for Dej and Rahova Prison Hospitals and Arad Prison and 7-10/07/2008), bunk beds, constant electric light, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, poor quality of food 5,000
12. 34942/17

13/09/2017

Viorel TIMOCE

1959

Claudia Nadina Daciana Cândea

Timișoara

Arad and Timişoara Prisons

05/08/2016 to

30/05/2017

8 month(s) and 29 day(s)

 

Timișoara Prison

19/06/2017 to

01/08/2017

1 month(s) and 14 day(s)

2-2.33 m²

 

 

 

 

 

2 m2

 

overcrowding (save for Arad Prison), bunk beds, inadequate temperature, constant electric light, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to shower, poor quality of food 1,000
13. 42249/17

23/05/2017

Andrei-Petru RUSANDA

1983

Claudia Nadina Daciana Cândea

Timișoara

Timişoara Prison

20/09/2016 to

05/04/2017

6 month(s) and 17 day(s)

1.83-2.25 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to toilet 1,000
14. 46462/17

14/06/2017

Virgil-Roman LUNGU

1973

Andreea-Gabriela

Cadar

Galați

Poarta Albă Prison

10/11/2015 to

28/12/2016

1 year(s) and 1 month(s) and 19 day(s)

1.65-2.46 m² overcrowding (save for 10-16/11/2015), bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to toilet 3,000
15. 46610/17

26/06/2017

Ionuț TOADER

1991

Andreea-Gabriela

Cadar

Galați

Slobozia, Jilava and Poarta Albă Prisons

02/10/2015 to

13/02/2017

1 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 12 day(s)

1.3-2.79 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to warm water 3,000
16. 47340/17

26/06/2017

Vasile-Nicolae DUMITRU

1981

Andreea-Gabriela

Cadar

Galați

Tulcea and Poarta Albă Prisons

21/03/2016 to

13/05/2017

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

1.36-2.88 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet 3,000
17. 69575/17

13/09/2017

Remus-Ștefan-Ionel VAVA

1989

Claudia Nadina Daciana Cândea
Timișoara
Timişoara Prison

09/11/2016 to

11/07/2017

8 month(s) and 3 day(s)

1.66-2 m² overcrowding, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, inadequate temperature, no or restricted access to warm water, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food 1,000
18. 71103/17

21/02/2018

Toader ILIESI

1969

 

 

Botoşani and Iaşi Prisons

17/03/2015 to

18/10/2017

2 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 2 day(s)

1.28-1.9 m² overcrowding, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of fresh air, inadequate temperature, lack of privacy for toilet, mouldy or dirty cell 3,000
19. 74892/17

12/10/2017

Marcel CUIBUS

1962

Vasile Rareş Biro

Satu Mare

Gherla and Baia Mare Prisons

12/11/2015 to

12/04/2017

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

2-2.40 m² overcrowding, lack of privacy for toilet, lack of fresh air, lack or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient natural light, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen 3,000

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

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