CASE OF INCE AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY (European Court of Human Rights) 20981/21 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.


FIRST SECTION
CASE OF INCE AND OTHERS v. HUNGARY
(Applications nos. 20981/21 and 9 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
21 July 2022

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

In the case of Ince 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 30 June 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.

IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

12. 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.”

13. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Gál, cited above), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

14. 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 21 July 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. 20981/21

06/04/2021

Bektas Deniz INCE

1990

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

22/02/2019 to

20/12/2021

2 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 29 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – There were substantial delays (3.5 months and 4 months) in respect of two appeals. 5,100
2. 36750/21

13/07/2021

András BEGALA

1978

Kiss Dominika Szilvia

Budapest

06/08/2018 to

15/02/2021

2 year(s) and 6 month(s) and 10 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month and 1‑year reviews of the applicant’s detention took place with delays of 91 and 39 days, respectively. 4,600
3. 36752/21

13/07/2021

József ANTAL

1965

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

28/12/2018 to

17/12/2021

2 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 20 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The statutory periodical reviews were substantially overdue; and several appeals were delayed over 1.5 months. 5,100
4. 36763/21

13/07/2021

Zsolt KONYHA

1977

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

10/12/2019 to

12/01/2022

2 year(s) and 1 month(s) and 3 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month review of the applicant’s detention was carried out with a 40-day delay. The 1-year review was omitted. 3,700
5. 36785/21

12/07/2021

István RÁDAI

1970

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

31/05/2019

pending

More than 2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 1 day(s) 4,000
6. 40790/21

02/08/2021

Róbert ÁDÁM

1980

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

31/08/2017 to

14/07/2020

2 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 15 day(s) 15/07/2020 – 19/05/2021 4,000
7. 40795/21

02/08/2021

Róbert DARÓCZI

1977

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

29/08/2019

pending

More than 2 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 1 day(s) 3,900
8. 44491/21

26/08/2021

Kristóf KÁLCSICS

1996

Kiss Dániel Bálint

Budapest

17/09/2019 to

05/07/2021

1 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 19 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The 6-month review was carried out with a delay of 3 months. Two appeals lasted over 2 months. 3,400
9. 54990/21

08/10/2021

Dávid FELEDI

1981

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

20/05/2019 to

01/10/2021

2 year(s) and 4 month(s) and 12 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 6-month review of the applicant’s detention took place more than a month following the expiry of his previous detention order. The 1‑year review was also delayed. 4,200
10. 55007/21

21/10/2021

Zsolt FARKAS

1967

Karsai Dániel András

Budapest

16/10/2018 to

28/06/2021

2 year(s) and 8 month(s) and 13 day(s) Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – The obligatory 1-year review of the applicant’s detention was concluded more than a month after the deadline. 4,900

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

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