AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
by Ivo Stefanov KASHAVELOV
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 30 June 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska,
Mark Villiger, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 7 December 2004,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Ivo Stefanov Kashavelov, is a Bulgarian national who was born in 1964 and is currently serving a sentence in the Sofia Prison.
A. The circumstances of the case
1. The criminal proceedings against the applicant
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
On 5 August 1996 the applicant was arrested following an order for his detention in custody of 30 July 1996 on suspicion of having unlawfully deprived a certain A.D. of his liberty.
On 6 August 1996 he was transferred to the detention centre of the National Investigation Office.
The applicant alleges that on an unspecified date in August 1996 the authorities seized three cars of his and the amount of USD 79,129 without having the necessary documentation and grounds for the seizure.
On 14 August 1996 the applicant was charged with unlawful deprivation of liberty.
In September 1996 he was charged with the murder of three police officers on 3 May 1996.
On 4 June 1997 the applicant was charged with at least 10 other offences.
On 2 December 1997 he was transferred to the Sofia prison.
On an unspecified date in 1998 the applicant’s case was brought to court but before scheduling a court hearing, in an order of 18 September 1998 the judge rapporteur remitted the case back to the prosecution authorities because of breaches of the procedure in presenting some of the charges and the evidence to the applicant.
On 12 October 1998 the applicant was again presented with the charges and the order for his detention in custody was upheld.
Subsequently, the applicant’s case was again brought to court on charges of 12 offences, including the murder of three police officers, several attempted murders, robberies, thefts, unlawful deprivation of liberty and unlawful possession of firearms. In an order of 29 December 1998 the judge rapporteur scheduled the first session of court hearings to be held from 3 to 17 May 1999.
Between May 1999 and 8 March 2000 at least seven hearings appear to have been held.
On 8 March 2000 the Sofia City Court found the applicant guilty of murder of three police officers and of four other offences and sentenced him to life imprisonment under special regime.
Upon appeal at least five hearings appear to have been held before the second instance court, the last of which was held on 14 January 2002.
In a judgment of 10 February 2003 the Sofia Court of Appeal partly quashed the first instance judgment, acquitting the applicant on one of the charges of robbery and on the charges of unlawful possession of firearms and re-qualifying one of the other offences, and upheld the other part of the judgment, including the applicant’s sentence.
On further appeal, on 17 November 2003 a hearing was held before the Supreme Court of Cassation. In a judgment of 27 February 2004 the latter partly quashed the lower court’s judgment and remitted the case for new examination by the Court of Appeal on the charges of robbery and attempted murder and upheld the rest of the judgment.
At least two hearings appear to have been held before the Sofia Court of Appeal after the remittal. In a judgment of 31 August 2004 the latter upheld the first instance court’s judgment and acquitted the applicant on the charges of robbery and attempted murder. The judgment was not appealed against and became final on 6 October 2004, as of which date the applicant’s life imprisonment sentence entered into force.
2. The conditions of the applicant’s detention
The applicant submitted that at the Sofia Prison, where he had been held from 2 December 1997 he was alone in a cell which measured 1.9 m x 4.05 m, that he was taken for walks alone and sometimes in the presence of a few other prisoners with whom he had no right to converse and that after October 2001 he had been taking his walks alone. He also alleged that he was taken to bath and sanitary facilities, where he had access to drinking water, only once or twice a day for five to ten minutes and that during the first six months of his detention once in four days he was deprived of one of his daily meals. Moreover, he submitted that every time when he was taken out of the cell he had to be handcuffed, which amounted to humiliating and degrading treatment.
B. Relevant domestic law
The relevant law in respect of an action for damages stemming from the conditions of detention under the State and Municipalities Responsibility for Damage Act has been summarized in paragraphs 76-80 of the Court’s judgment in the case of Ivochev v. Bulgaria, no. 41211/98, 2 February 2006.
1. The applicant complained under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention that the length of the criminal proceedings against him had been excessive and about the lack of effective remedies thereto.
The relevant part of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention provides:
“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
Article 13 provides:
“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.”
The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of these complaints and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
The relevant part of Article 3 of the Convention provides:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
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.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaints concerning the conditions of detention, the length of the criminal proceedings and the lack of effective remedies relating thereto;
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen