CASE OF LEVINŢA v. MOLDOVA
(Application no. 17332/03)
16 December 2008
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 Levinta v. Moldova,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 25 November 2008,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
1. The applicants’ arrest and alleged ill-treatment
2. Alleged violations of the rights of the defence
3. Alleged further ill-treatment
4. The findings of the Court of Appeal of 16 April 2002
5. The applicants’ appeal
6. The findings of the Supreme Court of Justice of 22 October 2002
The Supreme Court of Justice dismissed the applicants’ appeal in cassation.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
... Evidence obtained in violation of the present Code or not properly examined during the court hearing cannot constitute the basis of a court conviction or of other procedural documents.”
... The first questioning of an accused who has been taken into custody is to be conducted only in the presence of a defender, chosen [by the accused] or appointed ex-officio.”
The following shall serve as a ground for initiating a criminal investigation:
(1) declarations, letters from citizens;
... (6) the direct discovery by the investigating authority, the investigator, prosecutor, judge or court of the elements of a crime.
The proceedings may be initiated in cases where there is sufficient information regarding the crime committed.”
... In response to a declaration or a notification received, one of the following decisions shall be adopted within 3 days or, if additional verification is needed, within 15 days:
(1) to initiate a criminal investigation;
(2) to refuse the initiation of a criminal investigation;
(3) to forward the declaration or notification to the authority competent to deal with it.
The decision taken under paragraphs 3 and 4 above shall be brought to the attention of the person who made the declaration or notification”
In complex or voluminous cases the investigation may be carried out by several investigators. This is to be mentioned in the decision to initiate the criminal investigation or in a decision adopted for that purpose. ... In such cases the ... accused ... is to be informed of the names of all the participating investigators and his [or her] right to challenge any of them is to be explained to him [her].”
The place of detention on remand of persons against whom preventive measures have been applied shall be remand centres. In certain cases such persons may be detained in prisons, in police cells....
Persons detained on remand may be detained in police cells for up to three days. If they cannot be brought to a remand centre because of the considerable distance or the lack of appropriate transport facilities, they may be detained in police cells for longer periods, not exceeding 30 days.”
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
1. Admissibility of the complaints under Article 3 of the Convention
Therefore, it could not be said that the authorities had been able to prevent the attacks, having taken reasonable action to protect the applicants. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
It follows that this complaint must be rejected for failure to exhaust domestic remedies, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention.
a. Alleged ill-treatment in November 2000
b. Effectiveness of the investigation into the ill-treatment in November 2000
c. Medical assistance provided to the applicants in 2000
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ...
a. The parties’ submissions
b. The Court’s assessment
(i) General principles
(ii) Application of those principles to the present case
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLES 6 § 3 and 13 OF THE CONVENTION
Article 6 § 3 reads as follows:
“3. Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:
(b) to have adequate time and facilities for the preparation of his defence;
(c) to defend himself in person or through legal assistance of his own choosing ...”
Article 13 reads as follows:
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
VI. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros) each in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,150 (one thousand one hundred and fifty euros) jointly in respect of costs and expenses, to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 16 December 2008, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza