(Application no. 50717/09)
17 January 2012
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 Levinţa v. Moldova (no. 2),
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Luis López Guerra,
Kristina Pardalos, judges,
and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 13 December 2011,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
2. The applicants were represented by Mr V. Ţurcan and Mr M. Belinschi, lawyers practising in Chişinău. The Moldovan Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr V. Grosu.
3. The applicants alleged, in particular, that they had been detained without legal basis and in the absence of reasons for their detention; that they had not had the opportunity to fully present their case; and that the courts had not decided on their detention pending trial within a reasonable time.
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“[The applicants’] continued detention is necessary in order to ensure the proper conduct of the criminal proceedings, taking into account that there are reasonable grounds to believe that they have committed the crimes of which they are accused, crimes which are considered to be exceptionally serious; [there are reasons to believe that] they could abscond from the court and obstruct the criminal proceedings.”
Accordingly, the court rejected the applicants’ lawyer’s request of 13 April 2010 and ordered their detention for thirty days, starting from 2 p.m. on 14 April 2010. The court also relinquished its jurisdiction in favour of the Supreme Court of Justice.
“In verifying the lawfulness of [the applicants’] detention pending trial, the lower court fully complied with the [relevant provisions of] law, being competent to decide on the issue of applying preventive measures. In the absence of any procedural violations in deciding on [the applicants’] detention pending trial, there are no reasons to quash the lower court’s decision. The lawyer’s request is therefore to be dismissed.”
The court also found that the Chişinău Court of Appeal was the competent trial court in the present case.
“...the prosecutor’s request reveals the existence of reasonable evidence that exceptionally serious crimes have been committed and that there are sufficient grounds to believe that the accused may obstruct the proceedings and abscond from the court; the applicants previously absconded from the law-enforcement authorities, they were declared internationally wanted persons and were extradited from the Russian Federation; they have no social links or home ties, no known sources of income and no employment”.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
“Section 453 Grounds for a request for annulment of a judgment
Final judgments in criminal cases shall be subject to requests for annulment (...) in the following instances:
d. an international court [has] found that there has been a breach of human rights and fundamental freedoms which could be remedied by a rehearing.”
Under Section 435 of the CCP, while examining an ordinary appeal in cassation, the court shall also decide on the additional matters described in Section 416 of the CCP. Under Section 436 of the CCP, if a judgment adopted on appeal is quashed by the court of cassation, the re-examination of the case shall follow the general procedure.
Under Section 416 of the CCP, when examining a case, an appellate court may also decide, if necessary, whether to apply preventive measures.
Under Section 329 of the CCP, a court may on its own motion or at the request of the parties apply, amend or annul preventive measures.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be deprived of his liberty save in the following cases and in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law:
...(c) the lawful arrest or detention of a person effected for the purpose of bringing him before the competent legal authority on reasonable suspicion of having committed an offence or when it is reasonably considered necessary to prevent his committing an offence or fleeing after having done so;
1. The parties’ submissions
2. The Court’s assessment
There has accordingly been a violation of that provision.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be ... entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”
38. The applicants submitted that the domestic courts had not given relevant and sufficient reasons for ordering and extending their detention pending trial.
In view of the above and of the fact that the applicants’ detention in the grounds mentioned by the domestic courts lasted for a relatively short period, the Court considers that there has been no violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention in the present case.
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 4 OF THE CONVENTION
“4. Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”
IV. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 2 OF THE CONVENTION
“2. Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.”
V. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
VI. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION
VII. 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
5. Holds that there is no need to examine the admissibility and merits of the complaints under Article 6 § 3 and Article 13 of the Convention;
(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, the following amounts, to be converted into Moldovan lei at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 8,000 (eight thousand euros) to each of the applicants, plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage; and
(ii) EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) jointly, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants, in respect of costs and expenses;
(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 17 January 2012, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Santiago Quesada Josep Casadevall Registrar President