Постановление Европейского суда по правам человека от 22.04.2010 «Дело Горощеня (goroshchenya) против России» [англ.]

Город принятия

(Application No. 38711/03)
(Strasbourg, 22.IV.2010)
*This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Goroshchenya v. Russia,

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

Christos Rozakis, President,

Nina {Vajic}*,

*Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.

Anatoly Kovler,

Elisabeth Steiner,

Khanlar Hajiyev,

Dean Spielmann,

Sverre Erik Jebens, judges,

and {Soren} Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 25 March 2010,

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

1. The case originated in an application (No. 38711/03) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by a Russian national, Mr Arkadiy Yuryevich Goroshchenya ("the applicant"), on 17 November 2003.

2. The applicant was represented by Mr D. Grigoryev, a lawyer practising in Omsk. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented Mrs V. Milinchuk, former Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.

3. The applicant alleged, in particular, that he had been detained in appalling conditions, that his detention had been unreasonably long and that the criminal proceedings had not complied with the "reasonable time" requirement.

4. On 21 May 2007 the President of the First Section decided to give notice of the application to the Government. It was also decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility (Article 29 § 3).

I. The circumstances of the case
5. The applicant was born in 1967 and lived in St Petersburg until his arrest. He is now serving his sentence in a correctional colony in Omsk.

A. Arrest and detention during the investigation
6. On 4 October 1999 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of fraud. Two days later he was charged with aggravated robbery. On the following day the St Petersburg City Prosecutor authorised his detention, finding that the applicant was liable to reoffend, pervert the course of justice and abscond, as he was charged with a particularly serious criminal offence, had been living unregistered in St Petersburg and in 1995 had been placed on the wanted persons' list owing to his absconding from an investigation into aggravated fraud. The prosecution authorities used the same grounds while further extending on 25 October and 17 December 1999 and 23 June 2000 the detention of the applicant and his eight co-defendants.

7. On 12 May 2000 the applicant was charged with organisation of a criminal enterprise, twelve counts of robbery, unlawful possession of a weapon, theft of a weapon, forgery of documents, fraud, aggravated theft and intentional destruction of property. On 7 September 2000 he was committed to stand trial before the St Petersburg City Court.

B. Judicial proceedings and further extensions of detention
1. Detention order of 6 October 2000 and trial proceedings
8. On 6 October 2000 the St Petersburg City Court fixed the first trial hearing for 24 October 2001 and, without providing any grounds, held that the applicant should remain in custody. The Government, relying on a letter drafted on 17 July 2007 by the acting first deputy of the St Petersburg City Court President, stressed that it had been impossible to schedule the first trial hearing for an earlier date because the City Court judges had been overburdened with cases. In particular, 502 cases were pending before twenty judges.

9. The first hearing fixed for 24 October 2001, as well as the following one listed for 27 November 2001 had been adjourned because the presiding judge was participating in other unrelated proceedings. The hearing fixed for 10 January 2002 was rescheduled because a co-defendant was ill and two counsel failed to appear. The hearing on 25 January 2002 also did not take place owing to the absence of free courtrooms.

10. Between 29 January and 18 March 2002 the City Court held eighteen hearings. Of four hearings fixed between 18 March and 25 September 2002, two were postponed because the presiding judge was participating in other proceedings and two were rescheduled because two co-defendants and a lawyer were ill.

2. Detention order of 1 July 2002
(extension until 30 September 2002)
11. On 1 July 2002 a new Code of Criminal Procedure became effective. On the same day the St. Petersburg City Court extended the applicant's and his co-defendants' detention until 30 September 2002, holding that they were charged with especially serious criminal offences and were liable to reoffend, pervert the course of justice and abscond. The defendants and their lawyers were not present at the hearing.

12. On 7 October 2002 the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation quashed the decision of 1 July 2002, finding that the City Court had not summoned the defendants and their lawyers.

13. On the following day the City Court re-examined the detention issue and retrospectively extended the applicant's detention for three months, until 30 September 2002. It held that the applicant and his co-defendants were charged with serious criminal offences and that if released they could pervert the course of justice, reoffend or abscond. The City Court did not cite any factual circumstances supporting its conclusion of the defendants' liability to interfere with the proceedings, to commit another offence or escape the trial.

14. The two trial hearings fixed for 23 October and 11 November 2002 were adjourned because counsel was ill. The following hearing was scheduled for 28 November 2002.

15. On 23 December 2002 the Supreme Court quashed the decision of 8 October 2002 in respect of the applicant and ordered a re-examination of the detention issue. It noted that the applicant's lawyer had been summoned to the hearing on 8 October 2002. However, he had been ill and unable to attend. The Supreme Court, reiterating that the City Court had accepted the reason for the lawyer's absence as valid, concluded that in such circumstances it should have adjourned the examination of the detention matter in respect of the applicant.

16. The City Court once again re-examined the detention matter on 24 December 2002 and retrospectively extended the applicant's detention until 30 September 2002, referring to the same grounds as in the previous detention orders.

17. The applicant and his lawyers, including retained counsel, Mr R., appealed against the decision of 24 December 2002.

18. On 11 March 2003 the Supreme Court dismissed the applicant's appeal against the decision of 24 December 2002 because no procedural or substantive violations had been established and refused to examine the statement of appeal submitted by Mr R. because the latter did not attend the appeal hearing.

3. Detention orders of 25 September and 26 December 2002
(extensions until 30 December 2002 and 30 March 2003)
19. In the meantime, on 25 September and 26 December 2002 the St Petersburg City Court, using collective orders, extended the detention of all co-defendants, including the applicant, until 30 December 2002 and 30 March 2003, respectively. The reasons for the extensions were identical to those that had been given in the previous detention orders. Both detention orders were upheld by the Supreme Court on 9 December 2002 and 12 March 2003, respectively. The Supreme Court found no violations of substantive and procedural law.

20. Between 28 November 2002 and 13 March 2003 the City Court scheduled twenty-six hearings, of which six were postponed to obtain attendance of witnesses and victims, seven were adjourned owing to counsel's illness or inability to attend, four were rescheduled because defendants were not brought to the court-house from the detention facility and one was fixed for a later date to allow defendants to study new materials presented by the prosecution.

4. Detention order of 13 March 2003
(extension until 30 June 2003)
21. On 13 March 2003 the St Petersburg City Court extended the applicant's and his co-defendants' detention until 30 June 2003. It noted that the defendants were charged with particularly serious criminal offences, certain "episodes of criminal activity" had not yet been examined in open court and the defendants were still liable to abscond and pervert the course of justice. The trial hearing fixed for 13 March 2003 was rescheduled for 2 April 2003. On 26 May 2003 the Supreme Court examined the grounds of the applicant's appeal against the decision of 13 March 2003 and upheld the decision.

22. Between 2 April and 24 June 2003 the City Court listed twenty-nine hearings, of which two were postponed because the defendants were not transported to the court-house, two hearings were adjourned owing to the prosecutor's or counsel's illness and one was rescheduled because victims and witnesses failed to appear.

5. Detention order of 24 June 2003
23. On 24 June 2003 the St Petersburg City Court extended the applicant's and his co-defendants' detention, holding that they were charged with serious criminal offences and were liable to abscond. It appears that on an unspecified date the detention order was upheld by the Supreme Court.

6. Conviction
24. At the hearing on 25 June 2003 the applicant unsuccessfully asked the St. Petersburg City Court to invite his non-marital partner as a "public defender" in the proceedings.

25. Of four hearings fixed between 26 June and 7 July 2003, three were adjourned due to a lawyer's illness.

26. On 7 July 2003 the St Petersburg City Court held that another lawyer should be appointed to replace the frequently ill counsel. The new lawyer was afforded ten days to study the case file.

27. On 14 July 2003 the applicant complained to the City Court that he had been ill-treated in a detention facility. The City Court referred the complaint to the St. Petersburg City Prosecutor, who on 11 December 2003 dismissed it as unsubstantiated and informed the applicant of his right to appeal against that decision to a higher-ranking prosecutor or a court. No appeal followed.

28. According to the applicant, on the day of a court session reveille was at 5 or 6 a.m. Inmates were brought to a small room of 6 square metres where they were kept for several hours. The room was cold in winter. It was dirty and poorly lit. At about 9 a.m. transportation of inmates to the courthouse began. Inmates were placed into an overcrowded van and transported in inhuman conditions for many hours; the van called in on the way at several courthouses until the inmates reached their destination. The inmates received no food for the entire day.

29. On 21 July 2003 the St Petersburg City Court found the applicant guilty of aggravated robbery and fraud and sentenced him to twelve years' imprisonment. The City Court discontinued the proceedings in respect of the remaining charges either because the prosecution had dropped the charges or the limitation period had expired. It based its one hundred and thirty-four-page judgment on statements by numerous witnesses, victims and defendants who had been heard in open court, material evidence and expert opinions. The City Court, with the applicant's consent, read out statements by three witnesses who had not been heard in open court. Those statements were made during the pre-trial investigation. The applicant was represented by retained counsel who had assisted him throughout the criminal proceedings and a court-appointed lawyer.

30. On 15 January 2004 the Supreme Court examined the appeals lodged against the judgment of 21 July 2003. It discontinued the proceedings in respect of the fraud charges because the limitation period had expired and upheld the remaining conviction. The Supreme Court reduced the applicant's sentence to eleven years' imprisonment.

31. On 21 June 2007 the Kuybyshevskiy District Court of Omsk, having established that the applicant "had definitely taken his first steps on the road to improvement", authorised his release on probation. The management of the correctional colony supported that finding. The applicant was released on 4 July 2007, after the decision of 21 June 2007 had become final.

C. Conditions of the applicant's detention
32. From 14 October to 10 December 1999 the applicant was detained in facility No. IZ-47/1 in St Petersburg, commonly known as Kresty. On 10 December 1999 he was transferred to facility No. IZ-47/4 in St Petersburg, where he was kept until 3 April 2004.

33. According to the applicant, the general conditions of his detention in those facilities were similar. Relying on written statements by his former fellow inmates, he argued that he had been detained in three different cells in facility No. IZ-47/1 and ten different cells in facility No. IZ-47/4. The cells had six sleeping places and housed from eight to twenty-five inmates. Given the lack of beds, inmates slept in shifts. The sanitary conditions were unsatisfactory. The lavatory pan was not separated from the rest of the cell. At no time did inmates have complete privacy. Anything the applicant happened to be doing - using the toilet, sleeping - was subject to observations by warders or inmates. The cells were infected with bedbugs and lice but the administration did not provide any insecticide. Windows, measuring 0.6 square metres, were covered with thick metal bars that blocked access to natural light and fresh air. The bars were only removed in February 2003. In addition, only four cells had glazed windows. It was extremely cold in winter and was hot, stuffy and excessively damp in summer. There was no artificial ventilation. Inmates had an hour's daily exercise. On his admission to a detention facility he was given a mattress and a thin blanket. The food was of poor quality. Inmates were allowed to take a shower three times a month. The applicant contracted several infectious skin diseases. Medical assistance was not provided as the facilities lacked necessary medicines and encouraged inmates' relatives to bring them.

34. The Government, relying on certificates issued in July 2007 by the directors of the detention facilities, submitted that in facility No. IZ-47/1 the applicant had been detained in three different cells measuring 7.6 square