CASE OF ZHUKOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA (European Court of Human Rights) 41323/18 and 2 others

The applicants complained about theirconfinement in a metal cage in the courtroom during the criminal proceedings against them.


THIRD SECTION
CASE OF ZHUKOV AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 41323/18 and 2 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
1 December 2022

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

In the case of Zhukov and Others v. Russia,

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

Having deliberated in private on 10 November 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 D. Panfilov, 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 about theirconfinement in a metal cage in the courtroom during the criminal proceedings against them.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 3 OF THE CONVENTION

7. The applicants complained principally about their confinement in a metal cage in the courtroom during the criminal proceedings against them. They relied on Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 3

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

8. The Court notes that the applicants were kept in a metal cage in the courtroom in the context of their trial. In the leading cases of Svinarenko and Slyadnev v. Russia [GC],nos. 32541/08 and 43441/08, ECHR 2014 (extracts) and Vorontsov and Others v. Russia, no. 59655/14 and 2 others, 31 January 2017, the Court already dealt with the issue of the use of metal cages in courtrooms and found that such a practice constituted in itself an affront to human dignity and amounted to degrading treatment prohibited by Article 3 of the Convention.

9. 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 applicants’ confinement in a metal cage before the court during the criminal proceedings against them amounted to degrading treatment.

10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 3 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 well‑established case-law (see Raks v. Russia, no. 20702/04, §§ 43-51, 11 October 2011, Kilin v. Russia, no. 10271/12, §§ 103‑16, 11 May 2021, and Kartoyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 9418/13 and 2 others, §§ 56-63, 19 October 2021, concerning holding a criminal trial in camera).

IV. 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, Vorontsov and Others, cited above), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

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 applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention on account of the applicants’ placement in a metal cage before the court during the criminal proceedings against them;

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 1 December 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 3 of the Convention
(use of metal cages in courtrooms)

No. Application no.

Date of introduction

Applicant’s name

Year of birth

 

Name of the court

Date of the relevant judgment

Other complaints under well-established case-law Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses per applicant

(in euros)[1]

1. 41323/18

20/08/2018

Ivan Alekseyevich ZHUKOV

1984

Dzerzhinskiy District Court of the Kaluga Region

29/06/2018

Art. 6 (1) – trial in camera

No weighing against the importance of holding the trial in public (Krestovskiy v. Russia, no. 14040/03, § 29, 28 October 2010).

9,750
2. 41325/18

20/08/2018

Sergey Gennadyevich KRASNOPEROV

1969

Dzerzhinskiy District Court of the Kaluga Region

29/06/2018

Art. 6 (1) – trial in camera

No weighing against the importance of holding the trial in public (Krestovskiy v. Russia, no. 14040/03, § 29, 28 October 2010).

9,750
3. 8547/19

03/02/2019

Valentin Aleksandrovich SOTSKIY

1978

Kaluga Regional Court

20/09/2018

Art. 6 (1) – trial in camera

No weighing against the importance of holding the trial in public (Krestovskiy v. Russia, no. 14040/03, § 29, 28 October 2010).

9,750

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

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