CASE OF TURCIN AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) 46051/19 and 14 others

The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF TURCIN AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Application no. 46051/19 and 14 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 Turcin 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. 46051/19, 46779/19, 52782/19, 58690/19, 64121/19, 967/20, 5039/20, 7342/20 and 21943/20, 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
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. 46051/19
19/11/2019
Costel-Viorel TURCIN
1980
Arad Prison
06/05/2019
pending
More than 3 year(s) and 8 day(s)
poor quality of food, mouldy or dirty cell, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or insufficient natural light 492 days in compensation for a total period of 2,468 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 24/07/2012 to 06/05/2019, including all the periods spent in Craiova and Mărgineni Prisons, except for the periods spent in transit rooms 3,000
2. 46779/19
10/10/2019
Francisc-Carol STOICA
1973
Arad Prison
23/01/2019 to
21/03/2019
1 month(s) and 27 day(s)
Arad Prison
06/11/2019
pending
More than 2 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 8 day(s)
mouldy or dirty cell, lack or inadequate furniture, inadequate temperature, no or restricted access to warm water, poor quality of food 372 days in compensation for a total period of 1,861 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 28/07/2014 to 06/11/2019, including all the periods spent in Aiud, Oradea and Deva Prisons, except for the periods spent in transit rooms and the first period mentioned in column
no. 4
3,000
3. 52177/19
05/11/2019
Ion PETRIŞOR
1977
Arad Prison
20/10/2016
pending
More than 5 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 24 day(s)
lack of fresh air, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, no or restricted access to potable water, no or restricted access to shower 132 days in compensation for a total period of 665 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 18/12/2014 to 20/10/2016, including all the periods spent in Bacău, Iași and Tulcea Prisons 5,000
4. 52782/19
29/11/2019
Ioan FISCUTIAN
1990
Gherla Prison
23/12/2019 to
23/09/2020
9 month(s) and 1 day(s)
Gherla Prison
22/02/2021
pending
More than 1 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 22 day(s)
2.74 – 2.95 m² overcrowding (save for the periods 10/02/2020 – 20/02/2020 and 05/08/2020 – 23/09/2020), no or restricted access to warm water, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack or inadequate furniture, no or restricted access to potable water 348 days in compensation for a total period of 1,757 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 27/12/2014 to 22/12/2019, including all the periods spent in Bistrița County Police Station, Gherla and Botoșani Prisons, expert for the days spent in infirmary or transit rooms 3,000
5. 58690/19
17/12/2019
Florian GULIE
1988
Craiova Prison
23/12/2019 to
28/09/2020
9 month(s) and 6 day(s)
Craiova Prison
17/11/2020
pending
More than 1 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 27 day(s)
2.71 m² overcrowding (save for the periods 23/12/2019 – 17/11/2020 and 27/11/2020 – 04/01/2021), bunk beds, lack of or insufficient natural light, inadequate temperature, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities 384 days in compensation for a total period of 1,923 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 12/07/2014 to 22/12/2019, including all the periods spent in Olt County Police Station and Craiova Prison 3,000
6. 64121/19
28/01/2020
Ionuţ Marian ŢÎMPĂU
1988
Arad Prison
24/03/2016 to
16/08/2016
4 month(s) and 24 day(s)
Arad Prison
14/01/2018
pending
More than 4 year(s) and 4 month(s)
infestation of cell with insects/rodents, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of food, lack of or restricted access to leisure or educational activities, lack of fresh air 132 days in compensation for a total period of 673 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 24/07/2012 to 22/12/2019 in Arad and Iași Prisons, except for days spent in transit rooms and the periods indicated in column no. 4 3,000
7. 64849/19
05/05/2020
Rita-Maria BRUMĂ
1972
Gherla Prison
23/12/2019
pending
More than 2 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 21 day(s)
1.94 – 2.87 m² overcrowding (save for the periods 15/01/2020 – 10/03/2020 and 08/04/2020 – 11/02/2021), lack of or insufficient natural light, inadequate temperature, lack of privacy for toilet, mouldy or dirty cell 3,000
8. 363/20
27/01/2020
Dumitru HUSAR
1985
Baia Mare Prison
23/12/2019 to
30/06/2020
6 month(s) and 8 day(s)
2.55 m² overcrowding, lack of or insufficient natural light, mouldy or dirty cell, poor quality of potable water, no or restricted access to warm water 84 days in compensation for a total period of 421 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 24/10/2018 to 22/12/2019 in Gherla and Baia Mare Prisons 1,000
9. 967/20
06/02/2020
Dragoș-Petronel MOROȘANU
1996
Arad Prison
12/03/2019 to
18/03/2019
7 day(s)
Arad Prison
16/04/2019
pending
More than 3 year(s) and 28 day(s)
lack of toiletries, no or restricted access to warm water, poor quality of food, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air 138 days in compensation for a total period of 703 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 14/03/2017 to 16/04/2019 in Botoșani, Iași and Bacău Prisons, except for periods spent in Arad Prison and transit rooms 3,000
10. 2118/20
03/01/2020
Dorel CATÎRU
1983
Bucharest – Jilava Prison Hospital
12/09/2019 to
17/09/2019
6 day(s)
Giurgiu Prison
23/12/2019 to
08/07/2020
6 month(s) and 16 day(s)
infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack or inadequate furniture, poor quality of potable water, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, poor quality of food 60 days in compensation for a total period of 328 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 28/03/2017 to 23/09/2017 and from 23/07/2019 to 22/12/2019, including all the period spent in Giurgiu Prison 1,000
11. 4392/20
09/01/2020
Liviu LUCA
1953
Găești Prison
22/11/2018
pending
More than 3 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 22 day(s)
infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or inadequate hygienic facilities, lack or inadequate furniture, inadequate temperature, lack of requisite medical assistance 3,000
12. 5039/20
25/02/2020
Adrian-Claudiu PERCA
1990
Mioveni Prison
23/12/2019 to
20/02/2020
1 month(s) and 29 day(s)
2.53 m² overcrowding (save for the period 27/01/2020 – 20/02/2020), infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient natural light, lack of fresh air, lack of or insufficient physical exercise in fresh air 270 days in compensation for a total period of 1,350 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 09/02/2016 to 22/12/2019, including all the periods spent in Mioveni Prison 1,000
13. 7035/20
17/02/2020
Radu-Marian TURNAGIU
1994
Bucharest – Jilava Prison
23/12/2019 to
01/10/2020
9 month(s) and 9 day(s)
2.26 – 2.54 m² overcrowding, mouldy or dirty cell, infestation of cell with insects/rodents, lack of or insufficient natural light, poor quality of food 360 days in compensation for a total period of 1,827 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 17/12/2014 to 22/12/2019, including all the periods spent in Giurgiu and Bucharest – Jilava Prisons 1,000
14. 7342/20
28/02/2020
Laurenţiu BOJĂ
1981
Bucharest – Jilava Prison
23/12/2019 to
01/02/2020
1 month(s) and 10 day(s)
Bucharest – Jilava Prison
05/02/2020 to
28/07/2021
1 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 24 day(s)
1.94 – 2.94 m² overcrowding, no or restricted access to shower, poor quality of food, mouldy or dirty cell, infestation of cell with insects/rodents 138 days in compensation for a total period of 698 days spent in detention in inadequate conditions from 29/03/2018 to 22/12/2019 in Giurgiu and Bucharest – Jilava Prisons,
except for the period 06/02/2019 – 08/02/2019 spent in a transit room
3,000
15. 21943/20
04/05/2020
Mihai Florin GHEOCALESCU
1954
Bucharest – Jilava Prison
23/12/2019 to
20/02/2020
1 month(s) and 29 day(s)
Bucharest – Jilava Prison
27/02/2020 to
24/11/2020
8 month(s) and 29 day(s)
2.54 m² overcrowding 1,000

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

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