CASE OF BELOSLUDTSEV v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 8806/20 and 9 others

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.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF DIACONU AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 8806/20 and 9 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
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,
Jolien Schukking,
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:

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 principally 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 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;

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 23 June 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 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)[1]
1. 8806/20
14/04/2020
Marian DIACONU
1975
Tulcea Prison
23/12/2019 to
12/01/2022
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
2. 9713/20
03/03/2020
Mihăiță-Bogdan GORAN
1984
Craiova Prison
19/12/2019 to
10/12/2020
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
3. 9916/20
08/04/2020
Vasile-Cătălin CĂBULCĂ
1990
Găești Prison
23/12/2019 to
07/09/2020
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. 10082/20
19/03/2020
Mircea-Ionuț IASCIUC
1992
Arad Prison
01/02/2018 to
07/06/2018
4 month(s) and 7 day(s)
Arad Prison
21/06/2018 to
20/09/2018
3 month(s)
Arad Prison
05/11/2018 to
06/05/2019
6 month(s) and 2 day(s)
Arad Prison
16/05/2019
pending
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
5. 10085/20
14/02/2020
Dumitru ȘERBAN
1989
Iași Prison
23/12/2019 to
12/11/2020
10 month(s) and 21 day(s)
Botoșani Prison
10/09/2021
pending
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
6. 10846/20
17/02/2020
Mitică GROZAVU
1971
Târgu Jiu Prison
23/12/2019 to
30/06/2020
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
7. 11900/20
19/02/2020
George Nicuşor MECHEA
1979
Ştefania Victoria Mechea
Mihai Voda
Bucharest – Rahova and Mioveni Prisons
23/12/2019 to
31/07/2020
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
8. 12599/20
21/02/2020
Mihai CÎMPINA
1977
Mărgineni, Ploiești, Bucharest – Jilava, Bucharest – Rahova and Giurgiu Prisons; Bucharest – Rahova Prison Hospital
26/04/2007 to
23/07/2012
5 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 28 day(s)
Giurgiu and Bucharest – Jilava Prisons
23/12/2019 to
28/09/2020
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
9. 15718/20
04/05/2020
Mircea STANCIU
1975
Bucharest – Rahova and Constanța – Poarta Albă Prisons
23/12/2019 to
11/09/2020
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
10. 18522/20
25/05/2020
Iulian OLESCU
1991
Codlea Prison
23/12/2019 to
14/08/2020
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

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

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