Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (Third Section), October 10, 2000 (case CASE OF GRAUZINIS v. LITHUANIA)

Resolution Date:October 10, 2000
Issuing Organization:Court (Third Section)

No violation of Art. 5-3 Violation of Art. 5-4 Pecuniary damage - claim dismissed Non-pecuniary damage - financial award Costs and expenses partial award - Convention proceedings




(Application no. 37975/97)



10 October 2000



This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention.

In the case of Graužinis v. Lithuania,

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

             Mr              J.-P. Costa, President,              Mr              W. Fuhrmann,              Mr              L. Loucaides,              Mr              P. Kūris,              Mr              K. Jungwiert,              Sir              Nicolas Bratza,              Mrs H.S. Greve, judges,and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 2 March 1999 and 19 September 2000,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:


  1. The case originated in an application (no. 37975/97) against the Republic of Lithuania lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights (“the Commission”) under former Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Lithuanian national, Mr Arminas Graužinis (“the applicant”), on 21 July 1997.

  2. The applicant was represented by Mr K. Stungys, a lawyer practising in Vilnius. The Lithuanian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr G. Švedas, Deputy Minister of Justice.

  3. The applicant alleged violations of Article 5 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention in that he was not brought before a judge repeatedly and he could not contest the lawfulness of his detention.

  4. The application was transmitted to the Court on 1 November 1998, when Protocol No. 11 to the Convention came into force (Article 5 § 2 of Protocol No. 11).

  5. The application was allocated to the Third Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court). Within that Section, the Chamber that would consider the case (Article 27 § 1 of the Convention) was constituted as provided in Rule 26 § 1 of the Rules of Court.

  6. By a decision of 2 March 1999, the Chamber declared the application partly admissible.

  7. The applicant and the Government each filed observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1).



  8. The applicant is a Lithuanian national, born in 1960. He lives in Klaipėda, Lithuania.

    A.              Particular circumstances of the case

  9. In May 1997, an owner of a café alleged that the applicant had beaten him and threatened to take over the control of his property.

  10. The applicant was arrested on 19 May 1997. On 21 May 1997 he was brought before the Klaipėda City District Court which issued a detention order against him. The court reasoned that the applicant might commit further crimes while under this current suspicion.

  11. On 22 May 1997 the applicant was indicted for attempting to obtain property by threats of force.

  12. On 27 June 1997 the applicant appealed against the decision to remand him in custody, claiming inter alia that there was no reason for his detention and asking for bail.

  13. On 3 July 1997 the Klaipėda Regional Court dismissed the appeal. The applicant was not present at the hearing, but his counsel was. The Regional Court noted that the applicant had been brought before the District Court which had issued the detention order, and that the first instance court could therefore assess the need for him to be held in custody inter alia on the basis of his personality and attitude. The appellate court concluded that the first instance court had properly specified the danger of the applicant committing further crimes as the reason for his remand in custody.

  14. On 17 July 1997 the Klaipėda City District Court extended the term of the applicant’s detention, in his absence but with his counsel present. The court no longer held that the applicant might commit further crimes, but specified fresh grounds for the detention, namely that the applicant could abscond and influence witnesses.

  15. On 5 September 1997 the applicant appealed, claiming inter alia that his detention on remand was unlawful under domestic law and the Convention. He alleged in particular that the decision was arbitrary, as the court had presented no facts in support of its conclusion that he might abscond or influence witnesses. He requested bail.

  16. On 9 September 1997 a judge of the Klaipėda Regional Court returned the appeal without examination. The judge informed the applicant by letter that the Code of Criminal Procedure did not provide for an appeal against a...

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