(Application no. 28653/05)
23 June 2009
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 Buzilov v. Moldova,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 2 June 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“[According to the applicant] On 30 May 2002 he was taken to Hânceşti Police Station. His arms and legs were tied together, and he was beaten with a baton and with metal bars. Electric wires were attached to his toes and he was given electric shocks. When he was losing consciousness water was poured over him. The wires were then attached to his ears and he was again given electric shocks. When he was losing consciousness water was again poured over him. A gas mask was put over his head and the air permanently cut off. The applicant complained of headache, nausea and pain in the injured places.
Above the right eyebrow – a scratch of 2.4 x 1.4 cm, ..., in the right occipital region of the head – a light-yellowish bruise of 1 x 0.8 cm, on the right upper eyelid - an oval bruise of 3.5 x 0.8 cm, around the left eye – a light-yellowish bruise of 4.5 x 2.1 cm, ... irregular-shaped light-violet bruises of 2.6 x 2 cm and 2.7 x 1.9 cm on both cheeks, in the right temporal region – an irregular-shaped light-yellowish bruise of 4 x 2 cm, auricles (right and left) [ears] – yellow, ... on the front part of the right shoulder – a yellow bruise of 10 x 7 cm, ... multiple bruises of between 7.3 x 2.4 cm, 1.3 x 1.2 cm and 4 x 0.9 cm on both sides of the chest, on the abdomen – multiple irregular-shaped light-yellowish bruises of between 1.8 x 1.2 cm and 6 x 1.7 cm, on the scapulas – irregular-shaped dark-reddish bruises of 9 x 6 cm, 14 x 2 cm and 3.7 x 1 cm, multiple bruises of between 0.2 x 0.4 cm and 7 x 2.2 cm on both legs. ... On the tip of the [applicant's] tongue – oval scar of 1.4 x 0.6 cm, 0.3 cm in depth.
The scratches and bruises ... were inflicted by blows with a hard blunt object, the scar on the tip of the tongue ... could have been caused by human teeth, [the injuries] could have been caused in the circumstances and at the time indicated and are qualified as light bodily injuries.”
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
An abuse of power accompanied by acts of violence, use of arms or acts of torture and humiliation shall be punishable by imprisonment of three to ten years and by a prohibition on carrying on certain activities for a period of up to five years. ...”
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”
I. ADMISSIBILITY OF THE CASE
18. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the criminal proceedings against him were excessively long. The Government disputed the applicant's submission and argued that in view of the complexity of the case and the behaviour of the accused persons, the length of the proceedings had not been excessive.
19. The Court reiterates that the reasonableness of the length of proceedings must be assessed in the light of the circumstances of the case and with reference to the criteria established by its case-law, particularly the complexity of the case, the conduct of the applicant and of the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicant in the dispute (see, among many other authorities, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII). In the present case, the Court notes that the applicant did not substantiate his complaint and did not provide the Court with a copy of the domestic case file. Without that, the Court is not able to determine the reasonableness of the length of the proceedings. In such circumstances, the complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be declared inadmissible in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
20. The applicant also complained that the two newspapers that wrote articles about him (see paragraphs 10 and 11 above) breached his right to be presumed innocent. The Court notes that the State-owned newspaper did not disclose the applicant's identity and/or make him identifiable in any way. Accordingly, the complaint is manifestly ill-founded. As regards the other newspaper, the Court notes that it was privately owned and, therefore, the complaint is incompatible ratione materiae. In any event, it appears that the applicant has not used any available domestic remedies in order to initiate proceedings against the newspapers. The Court therefore considers the applicant's complaint under Article 6 § 2 to be inadmissible under Article 35 §§ 1, 3 and 4 of the Convention.
21. The applicant finally complained under Article 38 of the Convention that his lawyer did not have adequate facilities to meet with him. In the Court's opinion, this complaint refers in substance to the applicant's right of petition guaranteed by Article 34 of the Convention. However, since the applicant failed to substantiate it by providing any evidence, the complaint must be declared inadmissible as manifestly ill-founded in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION
III. 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 applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 30,000 (thirty thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable, and EUR 500 (five hundred euros) in respect of costs and expenses, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(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 23 June 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President