Case of European Court of Human Rights, March 11, 2004 (case Iorgov v. Bulgaria)

Resolution Date:March 11, 2004

Violation of Art. 3 No separate issue under Art. 13 Non-pecuniary damage - financial award Costs and expenses partial award - Convention proceedings


Information Note on the Court’s case-law No. 62

March 2004

Iorgov v. Bulgaria - 40653/98

Judgment 11.3.2004 [Section I]

Article 3

Inhuman treatment

Conditions of detention of a prisoner sentenced to death: violation

Facts: The applicant was sentenced to death in May 1990 and the Supreme Court upheld the sentence the following October. In the meantime, in July of that year, Parliament had adopted a decision deferring the execution of death sentences which had entered into force. The moratorium on execution of death sentences was maintained until 1998, when capital punishment was abolished. Until abolition, there was significant political debate in Bulgaria on the death penalty. Several attempts to reintroduce executions were defeated in Parliament. The applicant complained that his detention during the moratorium amounted to inhuman treatment, given the fear of a possible resumption of executions, as well as of the material conditions and regime of his detention (in particular between 1995 until 1998, when he was placed in solitary confinement and his sole human contact was during a one-hour daily walk with other prisoners).

Law: Article 3 – Although the Convention only came into force in respect of Bulgaria in 1992, and the Court’s competence ratione temporis went from this time until abolition in 1998, the whole period of the applicant’s detention could be taken into consideration to assess the applicant’s conditions of detention. Given the safeguards that existed during the period, the...

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