CASE OF SIZOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 43318/19 and 4 others

The applicants complained of the lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings.


THIRD SECTION
CASE OF SIZOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 43318/19 and 4 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
10 November 2022

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

In the case of Sizov and Others v. Russia,

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Darian Pavli, President,
Andreas Zünd,
Frédéric Krenc, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 20 October 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 applicants were represented by Mr O. Yelanchik, a lawyer practising in Moscow.

3. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

4. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.

5. The applicants complained of the lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings. They also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

6. 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 6 § 1of the Convention

7. The applicants complained of the lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings.They relied, expressly or in substance, on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 6 § 1

“In the determination of … any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair … hearing … by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”

8. The relevant principles of the Court’s case-law concerning the requirement of impartiality under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention can be found in the leading case of Karelin v. Russia (no. 926/08, §§ 51-57, 20 September 2016, with further references). In that case the Court assessed the national rules of administrative procedure and concluded that the statutory requirements allowing for the national judicial authorities to consider an administrative offence case which falls within the ambit of Article 6 of the Convention under its criminal limb, in the absence of a prosecuting authority, was incompatible with the principle of objective impartiality set out in Article 6 of the Convention.

9. Having examined all the material submitted to it and having due regard to the issue of compliance with the six-month period under Article 35 § 1 of the Convention (see Saakashvili v. Georgia (dec.), nos. 6232/20 and 22394/20, §§ 46-59, 1 March 2022, in which the Court addressed the COVID-related extension of the period in question), 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.

10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

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

11. 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 inFrumkin v. Russia, no. 74568/12, §§ 81-142, 5 January 2016, as regards disproportionate measures taken by the authorities against organisers and participants of public assemblies, and Tsvetkova and Others v. Russia, nos. 54381/08 and 5 others, §§ 84-138, 10 April 2018, as regards unlawful administrative arrest.

IV. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

12. As regards other complaints under Article 6 of the Convention about the administrative-offence proceedings, submitted by the applicants in applications nos. 43318/19,43412/19 and 44024/19, the Court, having reached the conclusion about the lack of impartiality of the tribunal under Article 6 of the Convention (see paragraph 10 above), does not consider it necessary to examine them separately.

13. In application no. 43412/19, the applicant also raised a complaint under Article 5 of the Convention.

14. The Court has examined the application and considers that, in the light of all the material in its possession and in so far as the matter complained of is within its competence, this complaint does not meet the admissibility criteria set out in Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention.

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

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, Kuratov and Others v. Russia [Committee],nos. 24377/15 and 2 others, 22 October 2019), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

17. 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 lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings and the other complaints under well-established case-law of the Court, as set out in the appended table,admissible, decides that it is not necessary to examine separately further complaints under Article 6 of the Convention raised in applications nos. 43318/19, 43412/19 and 44024/19 about the administrative-offence proceedings, and dismisses the remaining complaint in application no. 43412/19 as inadmissible;

3. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in the administrative-offence proceedings;

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 10 November 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 6 § 1 of the Convention
(lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings)

No. Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of birth

 

Representative’s name and location Penalty Date of final domestic decision

Name of court

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. 43318/19

04/08/2019

Aleksey Alekseyevich SIZOV

2000

Yelanchik Oleg Aleksandrovich

Moscow

fines of RUB 20,000 each for two offences 04/02/2019

Moscow City Court

28/02/2019

Moscow City Court

Art. 5 (1) – unlawful deprivation of liberty, including unrecorded detention and detention without a judicial order and any other legal basis – Arrest during the manifestations on 05/05/2018 and on 05/11/2018; detention each time in excess of 3 hours (see Denisenko v. Russia [Committee],

no. 18322/05, 14 February 2017);

Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – Opposition manifestation

Moscow, Pushkinskaya square on 05/05/2018.

Manifestation against the pension reform

Moscow, BolshayaSadovaya on 05/11/2018,

fine of RUB 10,000 each time for participation;

Moscow City Court, 04/02/2019

Moscow City Court, 28/02/2019

3,900
2. 43412/19

04/08/2019

Vladislav Olegovich POPOV

1996

Yelanchik Oleg Aleksandrovich

Moscow

fines of RUB 20,000 each for two offences 04/02/2019

Moscow City Court

 

08/02/2019

Moscow City Court

 Art. 5 (1) – unlawful deprivation of liberty, including unrecorded detention and detention without a judicial order and any other legal basis- on 10/09/2018 arrest, escorting to the police station and detention although the record of his administrative offence could have been drawn up on the spot (raised on appeal);

Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – Strike against the pension reform in Moscow on 10/09/2018;

Manifestation of “Bessrochniy Protest” passing from Kazanskiy Cathedral to the Red Square, Moscow on 13/10/2018;

fines of RUB 10,000 for both events;

Article 20.2 § 5 of CAO;

Moscow City Court, 04/02/2019;

Moscow City Court, 08/02/2019

3,900
3. 44024/19

08/08/2019

Dmitriy Anatolyevich BOGACHEV

1987

Yelanchik Oleg Aleksandrovich

Moscow

fine of

RUB 10,000

08/02/2019

Moscow City Court

Art. 5 (1) – unlawful deprivation of liberty, including unrecorded detention and detention without a judicial order and any other legal basis – arrest on 16/12/2018; to draw up a record of administrative offence; detention in excess of 3 hours; raised on appeal;

Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – “March for Peace” in Moscow on 16/12/2018; Article 20.2 § 5 of CAO; fine of RUB 10,000;

Moscow City Court, 08/02/2019

3,900
4. 31093/20

22/06/2020

SofyaPavlovna KARDASH

1997

Yelanchik Oleg Aleksandrovich

Moscow

fine of

RUB 15,000

24/09/2019

Moscow City Court

 

Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – Political manifestation in Moscow on 12/12/2018; Article 20.2 § 5 of CAO; fine of RUB 15,000;

Moscow City Court, 24/09/2019

3,900
5. 35788/20

30/07/2020

Nikita Olegovich RYADNOV

1997

Yelanchik Oleg Aleksandrovich

Moscow

fine of

RUB 10,000

30/10/2019

Moscow City Court

Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – Manifestation in support of Ivan GolunovStrastnoy boulevard, Moscow on 12/06/2019;

Article 20.2 § 6.1 of CAO; fine of RUB 10,000;

Moscow City Court, 30/10/2019

3,900

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

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