Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (Third Section Committee), June 18, 2015 (case CASE OF OPREA AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA)

Defense:ROMANIA
Resolution Date:June 18, 2015
Issuing Organization:Court (Third Section Committee)

THIRD SECTION

CASE OF OPREA AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA

(Applications nos. 54966/09, 57682/10, 20499/11, 41587/11, 27583/12, 75692/12, 76944/12, 77474/12, 9985/13, 16490/13, 29530/13, 37810/13, 40759/13, 55842/13, 56837/13, 62797/13, 64858/13, 65996/13,

66101/13 and 15822/14)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

18 June 2015

This judgment is final. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Oprea and Others v. Romania,

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

             Luis López Guerra, President,              Johannes Silvis,              Valeriu Griţco, judges,

and Hasan Bakırcı, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 28 May 2015,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

  1. The case originated in applications against Romania 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 applications were communicated to the Romanian Government (“the Government”).

    THE FACTS

    THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE

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

  4. The applicants complained of inadequate conditions of detention. In some of the applications, the applicants also raised complaints under other provisions of the Convention.

    THE LAW

    1. 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.

    1. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION

  6. The applicants complained principally of the inadequate conditions of their detention. 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.”

  7. 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, Kudła v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, §§ 90-94, ECHR 2000‑XI, and Ananyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 42525/07 and 60800/08, §§ 139-165, 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, Karalevičius v. Lithuania, no. 53254/99, §§ 36‑40, 7 April 2005).

  8. In the leading case of Iacov Stanciu v. Romania (no. 35972/05, §§ 116-129, 24 July 2012), the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

  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’ conditions of detention were inadequate (see appended table for details).

  10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.

  11. In applications nos. 57682/10, 37810/13, 56837/13, and 62797/13, the applicants also complained of other aspects concerning material conditions of detention or transport. In the light of its findings above, the Court does not consider it necessary to examine these remaining aspects (see Epistatu v. Romania, no. 29343/10, § 55, 24 September 2013; Bahnă v. Romania, no. 75985/12, § 53, 13 November 2014; and Bujorean v. Romania, no. 13054/12, § 32, 10 June 2014).

    1. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS RAISED UNDER WELL‑ESTABLISHED CASE‑LAW

  12. The applicant in case no. 41587/11 also submitted a complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention on the basis of well-established Convention case-law (see appended table). This complaint is not manifestly ill‑founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention nor is it inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, it must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that it also discloses a violation of the Convention in the light of its findings in Vlad and Others v. Romania (nos. 40756/06, 41508/07 and 50806/07, §§ 131-133 and 161, 26 November 2013).

    1. REMAINING COMPLAINTS

  13. Some applicants also raised other complaints under various Articles of the Convention.

  14. The Court has carefully 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 do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols thereto.

    It follows that this part of the...

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