CASE OF TSAREV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights)

The case originated in applications against Russia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”)


THIRD SECTION
CASE OF TSAREV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 83036/17 and 7398/18)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
28 July 2022

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

In the case of Tsarev and Others v. Russia,

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

Peeter Roosma, President,
Andreas Zünd,
Mikhail Lobov, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 10 March 2022,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in applications against Russia 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 Russian 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 permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities. Some applicants also raised other complaints under 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 8 of the Convention

6. The applicants complained principally of the permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities. They relied, expressly or in substance, on Article 8 of the Convention, which reads, in so far as relevant, as follows:

“1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private … life … .

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

7. The Court has already established, in an earlier case against Russia, that the national legal framework governing the placement of detainees under permanent video surveillance in penal institutions falls short of the standards set out in Article 8 of the Convention (see Gorlov and Others v. Russia, nos. 27057/06 and 2 others, 2 July 2019). In Gorlov and Others, the Court summed up the general principles concerning the detainees’ right to respect for private life reiterating that placing a person under permanent video surveillance whilst in detention was to be regarded as a serious interference with the individual’s right to respect for his or her privacy (ibid., §§ 81-82). It has further concluded that the national law cannot be regarded as being sufficiently clear, precise or detailed to have afforded appropriate protection against arbitrary interference by the authorities with the detainees’ right to respect of their private life (ibid., §§ 97-98).

8. 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. It considers, regard being had to the case-law cited above, that in the instant case the placement of the applicants under permanent video surveillance when confined to their cells in pre-trial and post-conviction detention facilities was not “in accordance with law”.

9. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 8 of the Convention.

III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS UNDER WELL-ESTABLISHED CASE-LAW

10. Mr Fedorov (application no. 7398/18) also submitted a complaint under Article 13 of the Convention about the absence of an effective domestic remedy to complain about permanent video surveillance in detention facilities (see the appended table). This complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention, nor is it inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, it must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that it discloses a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in the light of its well-established case-law (see Gorlov and Others, cited above, §§ 106-10).

IV. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

11. Mr Tsarev (application no. 83036/17) also raised other complaints under various Articles of the Convention.

12. The Court has examined these complaints 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 application must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

V. 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 Gorlov and Others, with further references, § 120, which imposed on the respondent State a legal obligation, under Article 46 of the Convention, to implement, under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers, such measures as they consider appropriate to secure the right of the applicants and other persons in their position to respect of their private life), the Court considers that the finding of a violation constitutes a sufficient just satisfaction in the present case.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the complaints concerning the permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities and another complaint under well-established case-law of the Court, as set out in the appended table, admissible, and the remainder of application no. 83036/17 inadmissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 8 of the Convention concerning the permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in relation to the complaint under Article 8 of the Convention (see the appended table);

5. Holds that the finding of a violation constitutes in itself sufficient just satisfaction.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 28 July 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                     Peeter Roosma
Acting Deputy Registrar                  President

____________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Article 8 § 1 of the Convention
(permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities)

No. Application no.
Date of introduction
Applicant’s name
Year of birth
Detention facility Period of detention Specific circumstances Other complaints under well-established case-law
1. 83036/17
30/10/2017
(3 applicants)
Sergey Nikolayevich TSAREV
1980
Gennadiy Vasilyevich BOGDANOV
1967
Vyacheslav Yuryevich PANFILOV
1972
IK-34 Krasnoyarsk Region (all applicants),
Prison-2 Krasnoyarsk Region (Mr Tsarev),
IZ-1 Krasnoyarsk Region (Mr Tsarev)
from 15/11/2012 to 03/10/2017 (Mr Tsarev)
from 01/06/2012 to 10/12/2017 (Mr Bogdanov)
from 31/12/2012 to 05/06/2020 (Mr Panfilov)
from 21/11/2019 to 28/09/2020 (Mr Tsarev Prison-2 Krasnoyarsk Region)
from 29/09/2020 to 08/10/2020 (Mr Tsarev IZ‑1 Krasnoyarsk Region)
Detention in different cells with video surveillance, opposite-sex operators.
2. 7398/18
16/01/2018
Vladimir Borisovich FEDOROV
1962
SIZO-1 Krasnoyarsk Region from 10/02/2011 to 24/08/2017 Detention in different cells with video surveillance. Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of constant video surveillance in the detention facility.

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