EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
CASE OF KOZHOKAR AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 61766/11 and 7 others – see appended list)
<*> This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Kozhokar and Others v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Luis Guerra, President,
Jolien Schukking, judges,
and Liv Tigerstedt, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 15 June 2017,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
- 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.
- The applications were communicated to the Russian Government (“the Government”).
- The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.
- The applicants complained of the inadequate conditions of their detention. Some applicants also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.
- Joinder of the applications
- Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.
- Alleged violation of Article 3 of the Convention
- The applicants complained principally of the inadequate conditions of their detention. They relied on Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
- The Court notes that the applicants were kept in detention in poor conditions. The details of the applicants’ detention are indicated in the appended table. The Court refers to the principles established in its case-law regarding inadequate conditions of detention (see, for instance, v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, §§ 90-94, ECHR 2000-XI, and Ananyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 42525/07 and 60800/08, §§ 139-65, 10 January 2012). It reiterates in particular that extreme lack of space in a prison cell or overcrowding weighs heavily as an aspect to be taken into account for the purpose of establishing whether the impugned detention conditions were “degrading” from the point of view of Article 3 and may disclose a violation, both alone or taken together with other shortcomings (see, amongst many authorities, v. Lithuania, no. 53254/99, §§ 36-40, 7 April 2005).
- In the leading case of Sergey Babushkin v. Russia, no. 5993/08, 28 November 2013, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.
- 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’ conditions of detention were inadequate.
- These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.
III. Other alleged violations under well-established case-law
- Some applicants submitted other complaints which also raised issues under the Convention, in accordance with 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 Ananyev and Others, cited above, §§ 100-19 (concerning lack of an effective domestic remedy for a complaint about poor conditions of detention); Idalov v. Russia [GC], no. 5826/03, §§ 103-108, 22 May 2012 (related to the conditions of detention during transport); and Yevdokimov and Others v. Russia, nos. 27236/05 and 10 others, § 48, 16 February 2016 (concerning inability of detainees to attend hearings in civil proceedings).
- Remaining complaints
- In applications nos. 61766/11 and 73809/13, the applicants also raised other complaints under various Articles of the Convention.
- The Court has examined the applications listed in the appended table 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.
It follows that this part of the applications must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.
- Application of Article 41 of the Convention
- 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.”
- Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case-law (see, in particular, Sergey Babushkin v. Russia, (just satisfaction), no. 5993/08, 16 October 2014, and Mozharov and Others v. Russia, no. 16401/12 and 9 others, 21 March 2017), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.
- The Court 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
- Decides to join the applications;
- Declares the complaints concerning the inadequate conditions of 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 the applications nos. 61766/11 and 73809/13 inadmissible;
- Holds that these complaints disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention concerning the inadequate conditions of detention;
- Holds that there has been a violation as regards the other complaints raised under well-established case-law of the Court (see appended table);
(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 6 July 2017, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Luis Guerra President
Liv Tigerstedt Acting Deputy Registrar
LIST OF APPLICATIONS RAISING COMPLAINTS UNDER ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION (INADEQUATE CONDITIONS OF DETENTION)
Date of introduction
Date of birth
Start and end date
|Number of inmates per brigade
Sq. m. per inmate
Number of toilets per brigade
|Specific grievances||Other complaints under well-established case-law||Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs and expenses
(in euros) <1>
|Vladimir Semenovich Kozhokar
|IK-7 Tula Region
1 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 24 day(s)
|no heating, high humidity, poor quality of food, rusty drinking water, no hot water, tuberculosis-infected inmates in the unit||Art. 3 – inadequate conditions of detention during transport –
Assembly cell in IK-2 Tula 0.23 sq. m. 29/12/2011 4.5 hours. No heating. No privacy when using lavatory.
Van Tula Region 0.14 sq. m. 29/12/2011 2.5 hours. No heating,
Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in respect of inadequate conditions of detention
|no outside walks, poor quality of food, rats and mice, insects, no adequate footgear for winter/summer|
|Sergey Aleksandrovich Manushkov
5 month(s) and 22 day(s)
|3 m2||no privacy when using toilet, no ventilation, high humidity, poor quality of beds, low temperature, poor quality of food||Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in respect of inadequate conditions of detention||2,800|
|Aleksandr Ivanovich Devyatov
|IK-56 Sverdlovsk Region
More than 7 year(s) and
4 month(s) and 27 day(s)
|no running water, no proper toilet (rather, a bucket), stench, lack of personal space, no privacy when using the bucket, no ventilation and no access to fresh air||10,000|
|Viktor Yuryevich Gorziyenko
|IK-2 Zabaykalsk Region
6 year(s) and 10 month(s) and 4 day(s)
|poor quality of food||Art. 6 (1) – absence of detainees from civil proceedings –
Karymskiy District Court 02/04/2015, Zabaykalsk Regional Court 19/08/2015
|Stanislav Vladislavovich Somov
|IK-11, Nizhniy Novgorod Region
More than 3 year(s) and
7 month(s) and 9 day(s)
|1.5 m2||lack of sufficient hygienic facilities, overcrowding, lack of (sufficient) natural light, lack of fresh air, insufficient number of beds in the cell||9,300|
|Vladislav Albertovich Kalinin
|EPKT IK-8 Novosibirsk region
1 year(s) and 6 day(s)
|2 m2||lack of (sufficient) natural light, lack of fresh air, toilet not separated from the rest of the cell, lack of requisite medical assistance||Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in respect of inadequate conditions of detention||5,300|
|Roman Aleksandrovich Kovalev
More than 12 year(s) and
|overcrowding, lack of (sufficient) natural light, no ventilation, air heavy with cigarette smoke, no hot water, lack of privacy when using the toilet., no seasonal shoes or clothes||8,300|
|Vladimir Aleksandrovich Sofronov
|IK-56 Ivdel Sverdlovsk Region
More than 9 year(s) and
11 month(s) and 5 day(s)
|toilet not separated from the rest of the cell, lack of (sufficient) natural light, lack of fresh air, shower once a week, no water supply system in the cell||Art. 13 – lack of any effective remedy in respect of inadequate conditions of detention||8,300|
<1> Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.