CASE OF VIKTOROV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 49592/14 and 5 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 VIKTOROV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 49592/14 and 5 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 Viktorov 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 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 lack of impartiality of the tribunal in view of the absence of the prosecuting party in administrative-offence proceedings. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention and Protocol No. 7.

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 6 § 1of the Convention

6. The applicants complained principally 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.”

7. 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.

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.

9. 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

10. The applicants in applications nos. 78321/17, 8373/20, 9495/20, 9963/20 and 10150/20 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 Frumkin v. Russia, no. 74568/12, §§ 81-142, 5 January 2016, concerning 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, §§ 178-91, 10 April 2018, concerning lack of a suspensive effect of an appeal and immediate execution of a sentence of administrative detention.

IV. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

11. As regards other complaints under Article 6 of the Convention about the unfairness of the administrative-offence proceedings, submitted by the applicants in applications nos. 78321/17, 9963/20 and 10150/20, the Court, having reached the conclusion about the lack of impartiality of the tribunal under Article 6 of the Convention (see paragraph 9 above), does not consider it necessary to examine them separately.

V. 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, 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 and dismisses the remainder of the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction.

14. 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 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, and decides that it is not necessary to deal separately with the remainder of the applicants’ complaints under Article 6 of the Convention concerning the administrative-offence proceedings against them;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach 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 administrative-offence proceedings;

4. Holds that there has been a violation of the Convention and its Protocol 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;

(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;

6. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction.

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. 49592/14

23/06/2014

GennadiySavelyevich VIKTOROV

1954

Viktorova Yelena Alekseyevna

Ladozhskaya

administrative fine of
RUB 500
22/08/2014, Supreme Court of Russia 1,000
2. 78321/17

02/11/2017

Yuriy Vladimirovich VLASOV

1976

Popkov Aleksandr Vasilyevich

Sochi

detention of

3 days

detention of

3 days

11/05/2017, Krasnodar Regional Court

03/05/2017,

Krasnodar Regional

Court

 

Prot. 7 Art. 2 – delayed review of conviction by a higher tribunal – The sentence of administrative detention imposed on the applicant by the court of first instance was executed immediately, on account of the lack of suspensive effect of an appeal under the CAO(see Tsvetkova and Others v. Russia,nos. 54381/08 and 5 others,§§ 179-191, 10 April 2018;Martynyuk v. Russia, no. 13764/15,§§ 38-42, 8 October 2019);

Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – Arrest of the applicant at a manifestation on 26/03/2017, his subsequent 2 sentences to detention by Krasnodar Regional Court,on 11/05/2017, article 19.3 § 1 of CAO;and by the Krasnodar Regional Court,

on 03/05/2017, article 20.2 § 6.1 of CAO

3,900
3. 8373/20

29/01/2020

German Alekseyevich NECHAYEV

1997

Memorial Human Rights Centre

Moscow

 fine of

RUB 15,000

Moscow City Court 28/08/2019 Art. 11 (2) – disproportionate measures against organisers and participants of public assemblies – Manifestation for fair elections to Mosgorduma in Moscow on 27/07/2019,

fine of RUB 15,000,Article 20.2 § 5 of CAO,

Moscow City Court, 28/08/2019

3,900
4. 9495/20

12/02/2020

Yuriy Gennadyevich MARTYNOVICH

1987

Memorial Human Rights Centre

Moscow

 fine of

RUB 10,000

20/08/2019

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 and escorting to the police office on 12/06/2019 for the purpose of drawing up a record of administrative offence; detention 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 – Manifestation in support of Ivan Golunov Moscow, Strastnoy boulevard on 12/06/2019,

Article 20.2 § 6.1 of CAO,fine of RUB 10.000,

Moscow City Court, 20/08/2019

3,900
5. 9963/20

05/02/2020

Kirill Dmitriyevich ZHARIKOV

1999

Anosova Lidiya Sergeyevna

Orekhovo-Zuyevo

fine of

RUB 15,000

06/08/2019

Moscow City Court

Art. 5 (1) – unlawful deprivation of liberty, including unrecorded detention and detention without a judicial order and any other legal basis – Unlawful (unjustified) arrest on 12 June 2019 and detention in excess of 3 hours for the sole purpose of drafting a record of administrative offence (see Frumkinv. Russia, no. 74568/12, §§ 147-152, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 2016 (extracts));

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

Article 20.2 § 6.1,fine of RUB 15,000,

Moscow City Court, 06/08/2019

3,900
6. 10150/20

31/01/2020

Maksim Dmitriyevich ZEMTSOV

1996

Memorial Human Rights Centre

Moscow

fine of

RUB 10,000

26/08/2019

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 and escorting to the police office on 12/06/2019 for the purpose of drawing up a record of administrative offence; detention in excess of 3 hours;

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

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

Moscow City Court, 26/08/2019

3,900

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

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