CASE OF HANKÓ AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) 17701/21 and 9 others

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”).


FIRST SECTION
CASE OF HANKÓ AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Applications nos. 17701/21 and 9 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
25 May 2022

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

In the case of Hankó and Others v. Hungary,

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

Alena Poláčková, President,
Raffaele Sabato,
Davor Derenčinović, judges,
and Attila Teplán, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 5 May 2022,

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. 18920/21, the applicant 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 (see, in particular, Gál v. Hungary, no. 62631/11, 11 March 2014), 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 25 May 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Attila Teplán                               Alena Poláčková
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 House arrest
Start and end date
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. 17701/21
23/03/2021
Noémi HANKÓ
1995
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
01/03/2019 to
16/02/2021
1 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 16 day(s) 2,600
2. 18920/21
23/03/2021
Ilona BUDAI
1981
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
17/11/2017 to
24/06/2019
05/02/2020 to
21/06/2021
1 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 8 day(s)
1 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 17 day(s)
Art. 6 (1) – excessive length of criminal proceedings – Criminal proceedings were instituted against the applicant on suspicion of prostitution/ human trafficking on 17/11/2017. After a remittal, the case is still pending at first instance.
Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of excessive length of criminal proceedings.
5,100
3. 19377/21
31/03/2021
Zoltán HORVÁTH‑PANKOVITS
1975
Kiss Dániel Bálint
Budapest
04/06/2019 to
28/10/2020
10/12/2020 to
17/09/2021
1 year(s) and
4 month(s) and 25 day(s)
9 month(s) and 8 day(s)
28/10/2020 – 10/12/2020 Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month and 1-year reviews of detention took place 54 and 47 days too late. An appeal was delayed more than 2 months. 3,900
4. 20479/21
06/04/2021
Zsolt PETZ
1979
Kiss Dominika Szilvia
Budapest
04/09/2019
pending
More than 2 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 18 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month review was substantially delayed. The 1-year review was also overdue. Two appeals were delayed over 1.5 months. 4,600
5. 20985/21
06/04/2021
Patrik LAKATOS
1999
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
07/01/2019 to
17/06/2021
2 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 11 day(s) 3,400
6. 21982/21
06/04/2021
Norbert DANCS
1979
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
14/05/2019 to
17/01/2022
2 year(s) and 8 month(s) and 4 day(s) 3,800
7. 24641/21
03/05/2021
László Károly RÁCZ
1999
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
19/07/2019 to
26/03/2021
1 year(s) and 8 month(s) and 8 day(s) 2,500
8. 25960/21
03/05/2021
Dániel CSIKÓS
1992
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
23/11/2019 to
30/06/2021
1 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 8 day(s) 2,300
9. 26835/21
06/05/2021
Sándor BALOGH
1991
Kiss Dominika Szilvia
Budapest
18/05/2019 to
25/01/2021
1 year(s) and 8 month(s) and 8 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month review was carried out with a delay of 34 days. One appeal was delayed over a month. 3,200
10. 35923/21
05/07/2021
Judit RÓZSA
1969
Karsai Dániel András
Budapest
02/05/2019
pending
More than 2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 16 day(s) 4,000

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

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