CASE OF BĂILĂ AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) 55080/16 and 16 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF BĂILĂ AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 55080/16 and 16 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 Băilă 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 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 has 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, for the periods specified in the appended table, 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. 55753/16, 3888/17 and 35076/17, 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 for the periods specified in the appended table;

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. 55080/16

06/10/2016

Constantin-Doru BĂILĂ

1981

 

 

Codlea, Bârcea Mare and Miercurea Ciuc Prisons; Dej and Mioveni Prisons Hospitals

01/08/2014 to

14/02/2017

2 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 14 day(s)

1.36-2.94 m² overcrowding (save for 21/10/2014-03/03/2015; 12/06/2015-31/05/2016; 28/06/2016-10/10/2016; 21/11/2016-16/12/2016), bunk beds, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack or inadequate furniture 3,000
2. 55753/16

25/10/2016

Florin-Dorin LINGURAR

1982

 

 

Deva County Police, Bârcea Mare, Jilava, Gherla and Bistriţa Prisons

31/05/2008 to

07/06/2017

9 year(s) and 8 day(s)

1.11-2.42 m² overcrowding (save for 08-17/03/2017), poor quality of food, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities 5,000
3. 56319/16

16/09/2016

Nicolae BOLBOCEANU

1968

 

 

Poarta Albă Prison, Poarta Albă Prison Hospital

18/12/2013 to

20/01/2017

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

1.56-2.28 m² overcrowding (save for 18/12/2013-09/01/2014; 26/03/2014-04/04/2014; 25/08/2014-29/08/2014; 27/01/2016-12/02/2016; 03/10/2016-22/11/2016), lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell, inadequate temperature, no or restricted access to warm water, poor quality of food, constant electric light, no or restricted access to running water, no or restricted access to potable water, lack of or insufficient natural light 3,000
4. 54/17

25/04/2017

Gabriel-Ionuț BĂLUȚĂ

1985

Cristina-Virginia Parpală

Craiova

Craiova, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Pelendava Prisons

30/01/2014 to

09/11/2016

2 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 11 day(s)

1.3-2.86 m² overcrowding (save for 18-22/02/2016), no or restricted access to toilet, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or restricted access to warm water, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, inadequate temperature, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, applicant transported on numerous occasions, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 3,000
5. 808/17

31/01/2017

Constantin RENTEA

1974

 

 

Vâlcea County Police, Colibaşi and Târgu-Jiu Prisons, Colibaşi Prison Hospital

22/07/2016 to

01/08/2017

1 year(s) and 11 day(s)

1.78-2.77 m² overcrowding (save for 22/07/2016-27/09/2016; 11/10/2016-15/11/2016), no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to running water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack or inadequate furniture, no or restricted access to potable water, no or insufficient disinfection of barbering and haircutting tools, lack of privacy for toilet, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient quantity of food

 

3,000
6. 3888/17

03/01/2017

Iosif ION

1984

Vasile Rareş Biro

Satu Mare

Satu Mare Prison

29/08/2015 to

08/02/2017

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

 

Satu Mare Prison

22/02/2017 to

21/05/2017

3 month(s)

Satu Mare Prison

31/05/2017 to

25/07/2017

1 month(s) and 26 day(s)

1.36-1.73 m²

 

 

 

 

 

1,73 m²

 

 

 

 

2.6 m²

overcrowding, lack of fresh air, no or restricted access to toilet, poor quality of food, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, mouldy or dirty cell, constant electric light

 

 

3,000
7. 7728/17

04/04/2017

Viorel-Marius SPIRIDON

1975

Irina Maria Peter

Bucharest

Giurgiu, Jilava and Găeşti Prisons

15/12/2014 to

28/12/2016

2 year(s) and 14 day(s)

1.41-2.87 m² overcrowding (save for 26/03/2015-20/05/2015 and 24/11/2016-22/12/2016), bunk beds, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or insufficient disinfection of barbering and haircutting tools, no or restricted access to potable water, poor quality of food, poor quality of potable water, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell, inadequate temperature, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities

 

3,000
8. 29559/17

22/05/2017

Paul DINIȚĂ

1989

 

 

Jilava Prison

07/10/2016 to

12/09/2017

11 month(s) and 6 day(s)

1.35-2.14 m² overcrowding (save for 08-17/03/2017), lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of privacy for toilet, no or restricted access to potable water, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of food, inadequate temperature, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, infestation of cell with insects/rodents

 

1,000
9. 30068/17

06/04/2017

Gabriel PALUȚ

1988

Stancu Adrian

Oradea

Bihor County Police, Oradea, Baia-Mare, Satu-Mare Prisons, Des Prison Hospital

16/01/2014 to

29/11/2016

2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 14 day(s)

1.3-2.88 m²  overcrowding (save for 20/03/2014-12/05/2014, 22/05/2014-23/07/2014, 06/03/2015-10/11/2015; 11-19/02/2016; 20-27/09/2016), mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower, lack of privacy for toilet, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or restricted access to toilet, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air 3,000
10. 30903/17

12/04/2017

Codruța-Alexandra TABARCEA

1982

 

 

Târgşor Prison

18/03/2015 to

19/10/2016

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

1.86-2.52 m² overcrowding, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, no or restricted access to warm water, overcrowding, bunk beds, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, inadequate temperature, no or restricted access to running water, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of toiletries, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of fresh air, lack of privacy for toilet 3,000
11. 30970/17

14/04/2017

Marin COVACI

1964

Biro Vasile Rareş

Satu Mare

Baia Mare Prison

25/07/2016 to

29/03/2017

8 month(s) and 5 day(s)

1.83-2.62 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, lack of fresh air, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient natural light, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to toilet, lack of privacy for toilet, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, inadequate temperature 1,000
12. 34703/17

05/05/2017

Ion PATRICHE

1993

Ciobotaru Ana Maria Loredana

Galati

Galaţi Prison

05/02/2015 to

07/12/2016

1 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 3 day(s)

1.2-1.63 m² overcrowding, lack of fresh air, insufficient number of sleeping places, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, inadequate temperature, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of or restricted access to leisure or educational activities, lack of toiletries, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to toilet, lack of privacy for toilet 3,000
13. 35076/17

04/05/2017

Dumitru GAVRILĂ

1985

Cadar Andreea-Gabriela

Galati

Poarta Albă Prison

23/11/2015 to

29/11/2016

1 year(s) and 7 day(s)

1.7-2.37 m² overcrowding, bunk beds, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to potable water, no or restricted access to shower, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, inadequate temperature, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food 3,000
14. 36468/17

08/05/2017

Nistor GEREBENEȘ

1984

Biro Vasile Rareş

Satu Mare

Maramureş County Police, Gherla and Baia Mare Prisons

27/04/2014 to

27/04/2017

3 year(s) and 1 day(s)

1.41-2.91 m² overcrowding (save for 28/04/2014-29/05/2014), lack or inadequate furniture, no or restricted access to toilet, no or restricted access to running water, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient natural light, no or restricted access to shower, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, poor quality of food, bunk beds, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, no or restricted access to warm water, mouldy or dirty cell 3,000
15. 37056/17

11/09/2017

Marinel BRÎNZĂ

1969

Irina Maria Peter

Bucharest

Arad and Jilava Prisons

07/12/2015 to

04/04/2017

1 year(s) and 3 month(s) and 29 day(s)

1.35-2.14 m² overcrowding (save for 07/12/2015-07/01/2016, 08-17/03/2017), bunk beds, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, mouldy or dirty cell, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to shower, inadequate temperature, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of privacy for toilet, poor quality of food, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of potable water 3,000
16. 38286/17

17/05/2017

Marcel TOMA

1971

Andreea-Gabriela Cadar

Galati

Poarta Albă, Tulcea, Slobozia Prison, Poarta Albă Prison Hospital

21/04/2011 to

27/01/2017

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

1.32-2.71 m²  overcrowding (save for 27/04/2011-04/05/2011, 06-13/05/2011, 09-13/09/2011, 12-16/03/2012, 24-25/09/2012, 25/04/2013-03/06/2013, 13-24/09/2013, 05-08/05/2015), bunk beds, insufficient number of sleeping places, no or restricted access to potable water, 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, inadequate temperature, lack or inadequate furniture, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food, lack of or restricted access to leisure or educational activities 5,000
17. 42618/17

23/10/2017

Octavian-Ionuț MATEI

1991

 

 

Colibaşi and Târgu-Jiu Prisons

16/02/2016 to

04/07/2017

1 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 19 day(s)

1.69-2.84 m² overcrowding, lack of or insufficient natural light, no or restricted access to toilet, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air, poor quality of potable water, no or restricted access to warm water, inadequate temperature, constant electric light, lack of privacy for toilet, 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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