CASE OF KUZMIN AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 41563/18 and 2 others

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 KUZMIN AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 41563/18 and 2 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
28 July 2022

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

In the case of Kuzmin 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 having been subjected to permanent video surveillance in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities and about unavailability of an effective domestic remedy in this respect. They also raised other issues 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 ARTICLES 3 and 13 of the Convention AND THE GOVERNMENT’S REQUEST TO STRIKE OUT THE APPLICATIONS

6. The Government submitted unilateral declarations whereby they acknowledged that the applicants had been transported in conditions incompatible with the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention, that Mr Kuzmin (application no. 41563/18) and Mr Zagumennikov (application no. 42603/18) had been held in a metal cage in courtrooms during the trials in contravention of Article 3 of the Convention, and that in violation of Article 13 of the Convention the applicants had not had an effective domestic remedy in respect of their complaints about the inadequate conditions of transport and placement in a metal cage in court hearings. The Government offered to pay 1,500 euros (EUR) to Mr Kuzmin (application no. 41563/18) and the same amount to Mr Zagumennikov (application no. 42603/18) and EUR 1,000 to Mr Vladimirov (application no. 45516/19), and invited the Court to strike the applications out of the list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention. The said amounts would be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable on the date of payment and would be payable within three months from the date of notification of the Court’s judgment. In the event of failure to pay these amounts within the above-mentioned three-month period, the Government undertook to pay simple interest on them, from the expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

7. The applicants accepted the Government’s proposals.

8. In the light of the applicants’ express agreement to the terms of the declarations made by the Government, the parties may be considered to have reached a friendly settlement.

9. The Court takes note of the friendly settlement agreement. It is satisfied that it is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto and finds no reasons to justify the continued examination of the applications in that part.

10. It is hence appropriate to strike the case out of the Court’s list in the part covered by the friendly settlement.

III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 8 AND 13 of the Convention

11. The applicants complained about detention under permanent video surveillance in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities and about the lack of an effective remedy in that respect. They relied on Articles 8 and 13 of the Convention, which read, in so far as relevant, as follows:

Article 8

“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.”

Article 13

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

12. 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 (1) 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) and (2) does not presuppose any balancing exercise or enable an individual to obtain a judicial review of the proportionality of his or her placement under permanent video surveillance to the vested interests in securing his or her privacy (ibid., § 108).

13. 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” and that they did not have at their disposal an effective remedy for their complaints in that respect.

14. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Articles 8 and 13 of the Convention.

IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

15. 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.”

16. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case-law (see, in particular, Gorlov and Others, cited above, § 120, with further references, 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. Decides to strike the applications in accordance with Article 39 of the Convention, insofar as they relate to the conditions of detention during transport, the placement in a metal cage in courtrooms and the absence of any effective remedy in that regard, out of its list of cases;

3. Declares the remaining part of the applications admissible;

4. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Articles 8 and 13 of the Convention concerning the permanent video surveillance of detainees in pre-trial or post-conviction detention facilities and the lack of an effective remedy in that respect;

5. Holds 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 Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant under the friendly settlement
(in euros)[i]
1. 41563/18
21/08/2018
Andrey Mikhaylovich KUZMIN
1978
SIZO-3 Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk Region 22/04/2017 – 09/05/2019 detention in different cells with video surveillance, opposite-sex operators 1,500
2. 42603/18
21/08/2018
Vasiliy Aleksandrovich ZAGUMENNIKOV
1996
SIZO-3 Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk Region 23/03/2017 – 27/04/2018 detention in different cells with video surveillance, opposite-sex operators 1,500
3. 45516/19
21/07/2020
Dmitriy Sergeyevich VLADIMIROV
1990
IK-25 Komi Republic,
IK-31 Komi Republic
09/04/2015 – 21/10/2021 detention in different cells with video surveillance, opposite-sex operators 1,000

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

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