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. The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.
CASE OF DIACONU AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 8806/20 and 9 others – see appended list)
23 June 2022
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Diaconu and Others v. Romania,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Armen Harutyunyan, President,
Ana Maria Guerra Martins, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 2 June 2022,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
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.
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.
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:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
7. The Government raised a preliminary objection concerning loss of victim status by the applicants for the periods of detention specified in the appended table because they were afforded adequate redress based on Law no. 169/2017 amending and completing Law no. 254/2013 on the execution of sentences for those specific periods of detention.
8. The Court notes that the domestic remedy introduced in respect of inadequate conditions of detention in Romania and applicable until December 2019 was held to be an effective one in the case of Dîrjan and Ştefan v. Romania ((dec.), nos. 14224/15 and 50977/15, §§ 23-33, 15 April 2020). This remedy was available to the applicants in the present applications, and they were, indeed, afforded adequate redress for certain periods of detention (for details see the appended table).
9. Therefore, the Court accepts the Government’s objection and finds that these parts of the applications are incompatible ratione personae with the provisions of the Convention and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.
10. Turning to the remaining periods of the applicants’ detention as specified in the appended table, 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).
11. 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.
12. 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, (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 appended table, were inadequate.
13. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.
III. REMAINING COMPLAINTS
14. In applications nos. 10082/20, 10085/20, 10846/20, 11900/20, 12599/20 and 18522/20, the applicants also raised other complaints under Article 3 of the Convention.
15. 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
16. 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.”
17. 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.
18. 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, for the periods 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 below;
(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 23 June 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Viktoriya Maradudina Armen Harutyunyan
Acting Deputy Registrar President
List of applications raising complaints under Article 3 of the Convention
(inadequate conditions of detention)
Date of introduction
Year of birth
|Representative’s name and location||Facility
Start and end date
|Sq. m per inmate||Specific grievances||Domestic compensation awarded (in days) based on total period calculated domestically||Amount awarded for pecuniary and
non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant (in euros)
2 year(s) and 21 day(s)
|2.08 – 2.60 m²||overcrowding, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of food||78 days in compensation for a total period of 314 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 18/02/2019 to 22/12/2019 in Galați and Tulcea Prisons||3,000|
11 month(s) and 22 day(s)
|2 – 2.50 m²||overcrowding, poor quality of food, inadequate temperature, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air||1,000|
8 month(s) and 16 day(s)
|–||mouldy or dirty cell, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or restricted access to warm water, no or restricted access to running water, no or restricted access to potable water||1,000|
4 month(s) and 7 day(s)
6 month(s) and 2 day(s)
More than 3 year(s) and 3 day(s)
|–||infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air||60 days in compensation for a total period of 310 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 14/03/2017 to 16/05/2019 in Iași and Botoșani Prisons||3,000|
10 month(s) and 21 day(s)
More than 8 month(s) and 9 day(s)
|2.19 – 2.86 m²||overcrowding, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, poor quality of food, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities||120 days in compensation for a total period of 601 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 01/04/2018 to 22/12/2019, including all the periods spent in Iași, Bacău and Botoșani Prisons, except for days spent in transit rooms||3,000|
|Târgu Jiu Prison
6 month(s) and 8 day(s)
|2.45 – 2.73 m²||overcrowding (save for the period 23/12/2019 – 21/01/2020), lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture||66 days in compensation for a total period of 342 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 08/01/2019 to 22/12/2019 in Mioveni and Târgu Jiu Prisons, except for days spent in transit rooms||1,000|
|George Nicuşor MECHEA
|Ştefania Victoria Mechea
|Bucharest – Rahova and Mioveni Prisons
7 month(s) and 9 day(s)
|2.18 – 2.75 m²||overcrowding (save for the period 13/01/2020 – 20/01/2020), no or restricted access to potable water, lack of or poor quality of bedding and bed linen, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of fresh air||90 days in compensation for a total period of 467 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 20/02/2018 to 22/12/2019 in Mioveni and Bucharest – Rahova Prisons, except for days spent in infirmary||1,000|
|Mărgineni, Ploiești, Bucharest – Jilava, Bucharest – Rahova and Giurgiu Prisons; Bucharest – Rahova Prison Hospital
5 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 28 day(s)
Giurgiu and Bucharest – Jilava Prisons
9 month(s) and 6 day(s)
|2.02 – 2.86 m²||overcrowding (save for the period 23/12/2019 – 06/04/2020), infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or inadequate furniture, lack of fresh air, mouldy or dirty cell||534 days in compensation for a total period of 2,686 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 24/07/2012 to 22/12/2019 in Mărgineni and Giurgiu Prisons, except for periods spent in infirmary and prison hospitals||5,000|
|Bucharest – Rahova and Constanța – Poarta Albă Prisons
8 month(s) and 20 day(s)
|2.56 – 2.82 m²||overcrowding (save for the period 01/07/2020 – 13/08/2020), inadequate temperature, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities||1,000|
7 month(s) and 23 day(s)
|1.88 – 2.37 m²||overcrowding||108 days in compensation for a total period of 549 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 22/06/2018 to 22/12/2019 in Codlea and Miercurea Ciuc Prisons||1,000|
 Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.