CASE OF SHMONIN AND YEFREMOV v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 52727/19 and 25327/20

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 SHMONIN AND YEFREMOV v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 52727/19 and 25327/20)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
28 July 2022

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

In the case of Shmonin and Yefremov v. Russia,

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

Darian Pavli, President,
Andreas Zünd,
Mikhail Lobov, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, 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 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 excessive length of their pre-trial detention. They 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. THE GOVERNMENT’S REQUEST TO STRIKE OUT APPLICATION NO. 52727/19 UNDER ARTICLE 37 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION

6. In application no. 52727/19 the Government submitted a unilateral declaration which did not offer a sufficient basis for finding that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention does not require the Court to continue its examination of the case (Article 37 § 1 in fine). The Court rejects the Government’s request to strike the application out and will accordingly pursue its examination of the merits of the cases (see Tahsin Acar v. Turkey (preliminary issue) [GC], no. 26307/95, § 75, ECHR 2003‑VI).

III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION

7. 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.”

8. 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).

9. In the leading case of Dirdizov v. Russia, no. 41461/10, 27 November 2012, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

10. 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.

11. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.

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

12. The applicants submitted other complaints which also raised issues under the Convention, 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 Svinarenko and Slyadnev v. Russia [GC], nos. 32541/08 and 43441/08, ECHR 2014 (extracts), as regards detention in a metal cage during court hearings; Idalov v. Russia [GC], no. 5826/03, §§ 154-58, 22 May 2012, as regards lengthy review of detention matters; and Gorlov and Others v. Russia, nos. 27057/06 and 2 others, 2 July 2019, as regards video surveillance in prison.

V. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

13. In application no. 25327/20 the applicant also raised other complaints under various Articles of the Convention.

14. 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.

15. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.

VI. 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, Pastukhov and Yelagin v. Russia, no. 55299/07, 19 December 2013), 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. Rejects the Government’s request to strike application no. 52727/19 out of its list of cases under Article 37 § 1 of the Convention on the basis of the unilateral declaration which they submitted;

3. Declares the complaints concerning the excessive length of pre-trial detention and the other complaints under well-established case-law of the Court, as set out in the appended table, admissible, and the remainder of application no. 25327/20 inadmissible;

4. Holds that these complaints disclose a breach of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of pre-trial detention;

5. 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);

6. 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 28 July 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                   Darian Pavli
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
 
Period of detention Court which issued detention order/examined appeal Length of detention Specific defects Other complaints under well-established case-law Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant
(in euros)[i]
1. 52727/19
21/09/2019
Vitaliy Gennadyevich SHMONIN
1987
13/11/2017 to
28/10/2019
Ukhta Town Court of the Komi Republic, Supreme Court of the Komi Republic 1 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 16 day(s) failure to conduct the proceedings with due diligence during the period of detention Art. 5 (4) – excessive length of judicial review of detention – detention order of 12/02/2019 was upheld on appeal on 12/04/2019
Art. 3 – use of metal cages and/or other security arrangements in courtrooms – placement in metal cages on several occasions in the Ukhta Town Court from February 2019 to 28/10/2019
Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law against placement in metal cages during court hearings
9,750
2. 25327/20
27/05/2020
Nikita Aleksandrovich YEFREMOV
1993
15/02/2018 to
29/11/2021
Dzerzhinskiy District Court of St Petersburg; St Petersburg City Court 3 year(s) and 9 month(s) and 15 day(s) use of assumptions, in the absence of any evidentiary basis, of the risks of absconding or obstructing justice; failure to assess the applicant’s personal situation reducing the risks of re-offending, colluding or absconding as the case progressed; failure to conduct the proceedings with due diligence during the period of detention; collective detention orders; failure to examine the possibility of applying other measures of restraint Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in domestic law in respect of permanent video surveillance in detention facilities
Art. 8 (1) – permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities – by different sex-operators in various cells of the detention facility SIZO-1 in St Petersburg since his arrest and until conviction in 2021
Art. 3 – use of metal cages and/or other security arrangements in courtrooms – during numerous hearings before the Dzerzhinskiy District Court of St Petersburg and before the St Petersburg City Court, since 17/02/2018 and until conviction in 2021
9,750

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

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