18 May 2020

International Cases

In the case of Zadonskiy and Others v. Russia

Russian Federation


Human Rights

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

Present case originated in twenty-eight applications against Russian Federation lodged with Court under Article 34 of Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“Convention”) by sixteen Russian nationals. Applicants were convicted by Russian Courts and given custodial sentences and served their sentences in penitentiary facilities which were overcrowded and suffered from a shortage of sanitary installations. Applicants complained that, conditions of their detention had been inhuman and degrading in breach of Article 3 of Convention.

Article 3 of Convention provides that, no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Government has acknowledged a breach of applicants’ right to protection from inhuman or degrading treatment. However, the amount of compensation appears to be substantially lower than what the Court generally awards in comparable cases.

Government did not dispute the applicants’ factual submissions relating to overcrowding in penitentiary facilities, a shortage of sanitary installations and their poor state of repair. Court refers to principles established in its case-law regarding inadequate conditions of detention. 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 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.

Article 13 of Convention provides that, everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that, violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity. Government were unable to show what redress could have been afforded to the applicant by a prosecutor, a court, or any other State agency, bearing in mind that the problems arising from the conditions of the applicant’s detention were apparently of a structural nature and did not concern the applicant’s personal situation alone.

Respondent-State is directed to pay the applicants, within three months, the amounts indicated, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement; that from expiry of above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on above amounts at a rate equal to marginal lending rate of European Central Bank during default period plus three percentage points.

Tags : Detention Degrading treatment Compensation

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