CASE OF KOROTEYEV AND SITARSKIY v. RUSSIA
(Applications nos. 70371/13 and 19972/14)
14 December 2017
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Koroteyev and Sitarskiy v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Luis López Guerra, President,
Jolien Schukking, judges,
and Liv Tigerstedt, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 23 November 2017,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in applications against Russia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.
2. The applications were communicated to the Russian Government (“the Government”).
3. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.
4. The applicants alleged that they did not receive adequate medical care in detention and that there was no effective remedy in that regard. They also raised other complaints under the provisions of the Convention.
I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS
5. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.
II. THE GOVERNMENT’S REQUEST TO STRIKE OUT THE APPLICATIONS UNDER ARTICLE 37 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
6. The Government informed the Court that they proposed to make unilateral declarations with a view to resolving the issue raised by Mr Koroteyev under Article 3 of the Convention, and by Mr Sitarskiy under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.
7. The Government acknowledged that between 29 January 2009 and 20 May 2013 Mr Koroteyev was detained in IZ-3/1 in the Republic of Bashkortostan in conditions which did not comply with the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention and that Mr Sitarskiy was detained in violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention between 4 November 2012 and 5 February 2014. The Government offered to pay the applicants the amounts detailed in the appended table and invited the Court to strike the relevant part of their applications out of the list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention. The amounts would be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and would be payable within three months from the date of notification of the Court’s judgment. In the event of failure to pay those amounts within the abovementioned three-month period, the Government undertook to pay simple interest on them, from the expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the cases.
8. The applicants refused the above proposals.
9. The Court observes that Article 37 § 1 (c) enables it to strike a case out of its list if:
“for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the applications.”
10. Thus, it may strike out applications under Article 37 § 1 (c) on the basis of a unilateral declaration by a respondent Government even if the applicants wish the examination of the cases to be continued (see the principles emerging from the Court’s case-law, and in particular the Tahsin Acar v. Turkey (preliminary objections) ([GC], no. 26307/95, §§ 75-77, ECHR 2003-VI)).
11. Noting the admissions contained in the Government’s declaration as well as the amounts of compensation proposed - which are consistent with the amounts awarded in similar cases - the Court considers that it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the relevant parts of the two applications (Article 37 § 1 (c)). The Court is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto does not require it to continue the examination of the applications in their relevant parts.
12. Finally, the Court emphasises that, should the Government fail to comply with the terms of their unilateral declarations, the applications may be restored to the list in accordance with Article 37 § 2 of the Convention (Josipović v. Serbia (dec.), no. 18369/07, 4 March 2008).
13. In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the part of the application no. 70371/13 lodged by Mr Koroteyev about the conditions of his detention in remand prison, and the part of the application no. 19972/14 lodged by Mr Sitarskiy about the unreasonable length of his pre-trial detention out of its list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 3 OF THE CONVENTION
14. The applicants complained principally that they were not afforded adequate medical treatment in detention. They relied on Article 3 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
15. The Court notes that the two applicants suffered from serious medical conditions, as indicated in the appended table, which affected their everyday functioning. Therefore they could have experienced considerable anxiety as to whether the medical care provided to them was adequate.
16. The Court reiterates that the “adequacy” of medical assistance remains the most difficult element to determine (see Blokhin v. Russia [GC], no. 47152/06, § 137, ECHR 2016). It has clarified in this context that the authorities must ensure that diagnosis and care are prompt and accurate (see Gorbulya v. Russia, no. 31535/09, § 62, 6 March 2014, with further references) and that ‒ where necessitated by the nature of a medical condition ‒ supervision is regular and systematic and involves a comprehensive therapeutic strategy aimed at successfully treating the detainee’s health problems or preventing their aggravation (see Kolesnikovich v. Russia, no. 44694/13, § 70, 22 March 2016, with further references). The Court stresses that medical treatment within prison facilities must be appropriate and comparable to the quality of treatment which the State authorities have committed themselves to providing for the entirety of the population. Nevertheless, this does not mean that each detainee must be guaranteed the same level of medical treatment that is available in the best health establishments outside prison facilities (see Sadretdinov v. Russia, no. 17564/06, § 67, 24 May 2016, with further references).
17. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has identified the shortcomings in the applicants’ medical treatment, which are listed in the appended table. The Court has already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case (see Yankovskiy v. Russia, no. 24051/11, §§ 63-65, 25 July 2017; Khayletdinov v. Russia, no. 2763/13, §§ 71-78, 12 January 2016; Ivko v. Russia, no. 30575/08, §§ 104-12, 15 December 2015; Litvinov v. Russia, no. 32863/13, §§ 90-96, 22 March 2016; Khloyev v. Russia, no. 46404/13, §§ 80-88, 5 February 2015; and Budanov v. Russia, no. 66583/11, §§ 68-76, 9 January 2014). Bearing in mind its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the applicants did not receive comprehensive and adequate medical care whilst in detention.
18. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.
IV. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE ABSENCE OF REMEDIES TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE QUALITY OF MEDICAL CARE
19. The applicants also complained that no effective domestic remedies regarding the quality of the medical care in detention were available to them. Their complaints fall to be examined under Article 13 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in this Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority ...”
20. The Court has on many occasions established that there is a lack of effective domestic remedies to complain about the quality of medical treatment in detention (see, among many other authorities, Urazov v. Russia, no. 42147/05, §§ 66-70, 14 June 2016; Makshakov v. Russia, no. 52526/07, §§ 86-89, 24 May 2016; Litvinov, cited above, §§ 78-81; Gorbulya, cited above, §§ 56-58; Reshetnyak v. Russia, no. 56027/10, §§ 65-73, 8 January 2013; and Koryak v. Russia, no. 24677/10, §§ 86-93, 13 November 2012). In the aforementioned cases the Court established that none of the legal avenues suggested by the Government constituted an effective remedy to prevent the alleged violations or stop them from continuing, or to provide the applicants with adequate and sufficient redress for their complaints under Article 3 of the Convention.
21. The Court sees no reason which would justify departure from its well-established case-law on the issue. It finds that the applicants did not have at their disposal an effective domestic remedy for their complaints, in breach of Article 13 of the Convention.
V. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION ON ACCOUNT OF THE ABSENCE OF REMEDIES TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE DETENTION CONDITIONS
22. The applicant in application no. 70371/13, Mr Koroteyev, also complained under Article 13 of the Convention about the lack of effective domestic remedies to complain about the material conditions of his detention (see appended table). Given the Government’s acknowledgment of the poor material conditions in which the applicant had been detained (see paragraph 7 above), the present complaint is thus “arguable” and not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It is also not inadmissible on any other ground. Accordingly, it must be declared admissible. Having examined all the material before it, the Court concludes that it discloses a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in the light of findings in Ananyev and Others v. Russia, nos. 42525/07 and 60800/08, 10 January 2012.
VI. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
23. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“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.”
24. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case-law (see, in particular, Kolesnikovich v. Russia, no. 44694/13, §§ 82-92, 22 March 2016; Tselovalnik v. Russia, no. 28333/13, §§ 70-77, 8 October 2015; and Budanov v. Russia, no. 66583/11, §§ 77-83, 9 January 2014), as well as the sums which the Government are to pay the applicants under the unilateral declarations, the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.
25. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
1. Decides to join the applications;
2. Takes note of the terms of the Government’s declarations and of the arrangements ensuring compliance with the undertakings referred therein;
3. Decides to strike the part of the application lodged by Mr Koroteyev under Article 3 of the Convention about the conditions of his detention in remand prison, and the part of the application lodged by Mr Sitarskiy under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention about the unreasonable length of his pre-trial detention out of its list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention;
4. Declares the remainder of the applications admissible;
5. Holds that the applications disclose a breach of Article 3 of the Convention on account of the inadequate medical care in detention;
6. Holds that the applications disclose a breach of Article 13 of the Convention on account of the lack of an effective domestic remedy regarding complaints about the quality of the medical care in detention;
7. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 13 of the Convention in application no. 70371/13 on account of the lack of an effective domestic remedy to complain about the material conditions of detention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months, the amounts indicated in the appended table, to be converted into the 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.
9. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 14 December 2017, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Liv Tigerstedt Luis López Guerra
Acting Deputy Registrar President
List of applications
raising complaints under Article 3 and Article 13 of the Convention
(inadequate medical treatment in detention and lack of any effective remedy in domestic law)
Date of introduction
Date of birth
Representative name and location
Principal medical condition
Shortcomings in medical treatment
Amount awarded for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage per applicant (in euros)
Amount awarded for costs and expenses per application
Amount to be paid under unilateral declaration
Sergey Nikolayevich Koroteyev
Stasyuk Olga Andreyevna
lack of consultation by a nephrologist
from 01/11/2008 to
(5 years, 2 months and
lack of prescribed immunosuppressant drugs, or regular blood and urine testing
from 20/06/2013 to 12/11/2013
(4 months and
to be paid into the bank account indicated by the applicant’s representative
Konstantin Eduardovich Sitarskiy
Khrunova Irina Vladimirovna
lack of surgery prescribed on 19/11/2013
from 19/11/2013 to
lack of surgery prescribed on 03/07/2013
from 03/07/2013 to
(1 year, 4 months and 16 days)