CASE OF CORNEANU v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) 45021/20 and 9 others

The applicants complained of the excessive length of their pre-trial detention. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.


FIRST SECTION
CASE OF CORNEANU AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Applications nos. 45021/20 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 Corneanu and Others v. Hungary,

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

Erik Wennerström, President,
Lorraine Schembri Orland,
Ioannis Ktistakis, judges,
and Attila Teplán, 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 Hungary 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 Hungarian 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 excessive length of their pre-trial detention. 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 ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION

6. The applicants complained principally that their pre-trial detention had been unreasonably long. They relied on Article 5 § 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 5 § 3

“3. Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be … entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”

7. The Court observes that the general principles regarding the right to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial, as guaranteed by Article 5 § 3 of the Convention, have been stated in a number of its previous judgments (see, among many other authorities, Kudła v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, § 110, ECHR 2000‑XI, and McKay v. the United Kingdom [GC], no. 543/03, §§ 41-44, ECHR 2006‑X, with further references).

8. In the leading cases of Gál v. Hungary, no. 62631/11, 11 March 2014 and Lakatos v. Hungary, no. 21786/15, 26 June 2018, 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 length of the applicants’ pre-trial detention was excessive.

10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.

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

11. Some applicants submitted further complaints under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention which also raised issues, 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 among many authorities, Bandur v. Hungary, no. 50130/12, §§ 79 to 85, 5 July 2016.

12. In application no. 6435/21, the applicant moreover submitted complaints under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention. 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 likewise admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that they disclose violations of the Convention in the light of its findings in among many authorities, Barta and Drajkó v. Hungary, no. 35729/12, 17 December 2013.

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, 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 applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of pre-trial detention;

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.

Attila Teplán                                  Erik Wennerström
Acting Deputy Registrar                      President

____________

APPENDIX

List of applications raising complaints under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention

(excessive length of pre-trial detention)

No. Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of birth

Representative’s name and location Period of detention Length of detention Other complaints under well-established case-law Amount awarded for pecuniary and non‑pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant

(in euros)[1]

1. 45021/20

29/09/2020

Ciprian CORNEANU

1991

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

16/03/2018 to

22/09/2020

2 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 7 day(s) 3,500
2. 45025/20

29/09/2020

Constantin MATEIUC

1984

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

16/03/2018 to

22/09/2020

2 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 7 day(s) 3,500
3. 4427/21

22/12/2020

Ferenc FORRAI

1985

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

19/10/2018 to

22/10/2020

2 year(s) and 4 day(s)

 

Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The applicant’s appeal against the decision maintaining the detention after indictment was decided on with a delay of two and a half months. 3,500
4. 5770/21

07/01/2021

Csilla BALOG

1994

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

15/09/2019

pending

More than 2 year(s) and

1 month(s) and 22 day(s)

2,900
5. 6435/21

15/01/2021

József ÁDÁM

1978

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

29/05/2017 to

19/05/2021

3 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 21 day(s)

 

Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month review was delayed 4.5 months, the 1-year review took place 26 days overdue, the 1.5-; 2- and 2.5-year reviews did not take place at all.

Art. 6 (1) – excessive length of criminal proceedings – The trial has been pending for over 4.5 years; so far only a 1st instance judgment was given.

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

6,800
6. 8564/21

19/01/2021

Attila ROZSNYAI

1981

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

14/01/2019 to

26/03/2021

2 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 13 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 12-month review was delayed 53 days. The applicant’s appeals were decided on after several months. 3,900
7. 10336/21

01/02/2021

Emil FARKAS

1976

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

01/06/2019 to

27/05/2021

1 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 27 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory six-month review was carried out with a delay of 106 days. The obligatory one-year review was carried out with a delay of 144 days. The 1.5-year review was completely omitted. 3,400
8. 15090/21

05/03/2021

József HŐGYE

1995

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

26/02/2019 to

18/01/2021

1 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 24 day(s) 2,700
9. 15095/21

04/03/2021

Róbert KASZÁS

1988

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

20/06/2019 to

29/04/2021

1 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 10 day(s) 2,700
10. 15457/21

02/03/2021

Attila BERÉNYI

1991

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

10/08/2019 to

10/05/2021

1 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 1 day(s)

 

Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory one-year review was carried out with a delay of 23 days. The applicant’s appeal against the decision maintaining the detention after the one-year review was decided with a delay of 1.5 months. The 1.5-year review was omitted altogether. 3,400

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

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