CASE OF ARYSTARKHOV AND OTHERS v. UKRAINE (European Court of Human Rights) 22948/20 and 9 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention and of the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.


FIFTH SECTION
CASE OF ARYSTARKHOV AND OTHERS v. UKRAINE
(Applications nos. 22948/20 and 9 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 Arystarkhov and Others v. Ukraine,

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

Lətif Hüseynov, President,
Lado Chanturia,
Arnfinn Bårdsen, 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 Ukraine 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 Ukrainian 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 and of the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.

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 ARTICLES 3 AND 13 OF THE CONVENTION

6. The applicants complained principally of the inadequate conditions of their detention and that they had no effective remedy in this connection. They relied on Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention, which read as follows:

Article 3

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

Article 13

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority …”

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 cases of Melnik v. Ukraine, no. 72286/01, 28 March 2006 and Sukachov v. Ukraine, no. 14057/17, 30 January 2020, 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, 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, the Court considers that in the instant case the applicants’ conditions of detention, as described in the table appended below, were inadequate.

10. The Court further notes that the applicants did not have at their disposal an effective remedy in respect of these complaints.

11. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention.

III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS UNDER WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE-LAW

12. In application no. 10868/21, the applicant submitted other complaints which also raised issues under the Convention, given the relevant well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table). These complaints are not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor are they inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, they must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that they also disclose violations of the Convention in the light of its findings in Nechay v. Ukraine, no. 15360/10, 1 July 2021, as regards the excessive length of the criminal proceedings and the lack of an effective remedy to complain about it.

IV. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

13. In application no. 22948/20 the applicant also raised other complaints under Article 3 of the Convention as to the inadequate conditions of his detention between 18 April 2016 and 4 December 2018.

14. The Court has examined these complaints 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, they 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 application must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

V. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

15. 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.”

16. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Sukachov, cited above, §§ 165 and 167), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

17. 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 indicated in the appended table, the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law and the other complaints under well-established case-law of the Court, as set out in the appended table, admissible and the remainder of application no. 22948/20 inadmissible;

3. Holds that these complaints disclose a breach of Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention concerning the inadequate conditions of detention for the periods indicated in the table below and the lack of any effective remedy in domestic law;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of the Convention as regards the other complaints raised under well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table);

5. 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                            Lətif Hüseynov
Acting Deputy Registrar                           President

____________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Articles 3 and 13 of the Convention
(inadequate conditions of detention and lack of any effective remedy in domestic law)

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 Other complaints under well-established case-law Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage per applicant

(in euros)[1]

1. 22948/20

12/05/2020

Oleksandr Vitaliyovych ARYSTARKHOV

1989

Kulbach Sergiy Oleksandrovych

Limoges

Dnipro Penitentiary Facility no. 4

18/10/2019

to

21/12/2019

2 months and 4 days

2.4 m² overcrowding, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of fresh air, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, passive smoking, no or restricted access to shower, no or restricted access to potable water 1,100
2. 43624/20

10/08/2020

Igor Sergiyovych POLULYAKH

1988

Rybiy Sergiy Mykolayovych

Dnipro

 

Kulbach Sergiy Oleksandrovych

Limoges

Dnipro Penitentiary Facility no. 4

12/07/2017

to

20/08/2020

3 years and 1 month and 9 days

3.5-3.7m² lack of fresh air, passive smoking, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of privacy for toilet, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of toiletries, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient electric light, overcrowding 7,000
3. 55800/20

30/11/2020

Vladyslav Romanovych BURLAKOV

1998

Pustyntsev Andriy Vitaliyovych

Dnipro

Cherkasy Pre-Trial Detention Facility

15/02/2017

pending

More than 4 years and 9 months and 4 days

2.5 m² lack of fresh air, lack of toiletries, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or insufficient electric light, overcrowding 7,500
4. 1177/21

20/11/2020

Stepan Oleksandrovych SHCHERBAN

1989

Vavrenyuk Oleksandr Volodymyrovych

Pyatykhatky

Cherkasy Pre-Trial Detention Facility

11/05/2019

pending

More than 2 years and 6 months and 8 days

2.7 m² lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, overcrowding, lack of toiletries, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or insufficient natural light 5,900
5. 6315/21

20/01/2021

Borys Ruslanovych KYRYCHENKO

1999

Pustyntsev Andriy Vitaliyovych

Dnipro

Mykolaiv Pre-Trial Detention Facility

10/10/2018

pending

More than 3 years and 1 month and 9 days

2.2 m² overcrowding, lack of fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of toiletries, lack of privacy for toilet, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen 7,000
6. 6760/21

20/01/2021

Oleksandr Olegovych FEDORENKO

1984

Vavrenyuk Oleksandr Volodymyrovych

Pyatykhatky

Mykolaiv Pre-Trial Detention Facility

13/03/2017

pending

More than 4 years and 8 months and 6 days

2.7-6.2 m² lack of fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, overcrowding, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower 7,500
7. 8822/21

28/01/2021

Viktor Mykolayovych BULAKH

1967

Vavrenyuk Oleksandr Volodymyrovych

Pyatykhatky

Vinnytsya Penitentiary Facility no. 1

16/06/2015

pending

More than 6 years and 5 months and 3 days

2.5-5.7 m² lack of fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of toiletries, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, no or restricted access to shower, overcrowding, poor quality of food 7,500
8. 10868/21

31/01/2021

Volodymyr Anatoliyovych KRASNOSHCHOK

1970

Pustyntsev Andriy Vitaliyovych

Dnipro

Mykolayiv Pre-Trial Detention Facility

08/09/2014

pending

More than 7 years and 2 months and 11 days

2.6 m² lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient electric light, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, overcrowding, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, poor quality of food, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of toiletries Art. 6 (1) – excessive length of criminal proceedings – 04/09/2014 – pending (1 level of jurisdiction),

 

Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of excessive length of criminal proceedings

9,800
9. 12539/21

19/02/2021

Maksym Anatoliyovych PRYKHODKO

1990

Rybiy Sergiy Mykolayovych

Dnipro

Dnipro Penitentiary Facility no. 4

11/07/2018

to

12/01/2021

2 years and 6 months and 2 days

2.5 m² overcrowding, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, no or restricted access to shower, lack of or insufficient quantity of food, lack of toiletries, lack of privacy for toilet, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, lack of fresh air 5,900
10. 20315/21

08/04/2021

Igor Georgiyovych GURGENASHVILI

1985

Kulbach Sergiy Oleksandrovych

Limoges

Kyiv Pre‑Trial Detention Facility

27/02/2020

pending

More than 1 year and 8 months and 23 days

2.6 m² lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of privacy for toilet, lack of toiletries, mouldy or dirty cell, overcrowding, poor quality of potable water, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen 4,400

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

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