CASE OF RODKIN v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 63038/10)
10 January 2017
This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Rodkin v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Branko Lubarda, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 6 December 2016,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 63038/10) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Russian national, Mr Nikolay Gennadyevich Rodkin (“the applicant”), on 4 October 2010.
2. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr G. Matyushkin, Representative of the Russian Federation to the European Court of Human Rights.
3. On 18 February 2014 the complaint concerning the length of pre-trial detention was communicated to the Government and the remainder of the application was declared inadmissible.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
4. The applicant was born in 1988 and is detained in Saransk.
5. On 3 August 2009 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of the rape of a girl, who was also a minor.
6. On 5 August 2009 the Staroshaygovskiy District Court of the Mordovia Republic remanded him in custody. He remained in pre-trial detention pending investigation and trial on the grounds that he was accused of a serious crime, might reoffend, abscond, destroy evidence, threaten witnesses, or interfere with the investigation.
7. On 24 December 2010 the Supreme Court of the Mordovia Republic found him guilty as charged.
B. Correspondence with the Court
8. On 4 October 2010 the applicant, acting for himself, submitted his first letter to the Court.
9. On 4 August and 4 October 2010 he provided two powers of attorney authorising Mr Frimu, one of his cellmates, to represent him before the Court.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
10. The applicant complained under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention that his pre-trial detention had been excessively long and had not been based on relevant and sufficient reasons. Article 5 § 3 provides as follows:
“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.”
11. The Government submitted that the applicant’s signature on one of the documents authorising Mr Frimu to act on his behalf had been forged and that, in any event, the applicant had failed to inform the Court about developments in his case. They also acknowledged that the detention orders had contained “certain deficiencies”.
12. The applicant maintained his complaint.
1. Power of attorney
13. The Court notes that when an applicant chooses to have his or her application lodged by a representative, the Court must be provided with the original of the power of attorney or form of authority, signed by the applicant (Rule 47 § 3.1 (d) of the Rules of Court; see also Kaur v. the Netherlands (dec.), no. 35864/11, § 11, 15 May 2012). At the same time, the Court presumes that both parties to the proceedings act in good faith and a claim seeking to rebut that presumption should be supported by sufficient evidence (see Khudobin v. Russia, no. 59696/00, § 74, ECHR 2006-XII. (extracts)).
14. In the present case the applicant submitted his first letter to the Court himself. Later, he provided two powers of attorney, of 4 August 2010 and 4 October 2010, authorising Mr Frimu to represent him before the Court. Mr Frimu was indicated as his representative in the application form. The applicant has not informed the Court that he has cancelled the above powers of attorney.
15. The Court notes that the Government did not produce convincing evidence that the application or any submissions on the applicant’s behalf had been lodged fraudulently or without the applicant’s knowledge. The Court is therefore not persuaded that the difference in the applicant’s signatures is sufficient, by itself, to cast doubt on the authenticity of his signature (see Timergaliyev v. Russia, no. 40631/02, § 36, 14 October 2008). The Court is therefore satisfied of the applicant’s intention to be represented by Mr Frimu. The Government’s objection on that point must be dismissed.
2. Failure to inform the Court of developments in the applicant’s case
16. The Court observes that the present case concerns the allegedly excessive duration of the applicant’s pre-trial detention. In lodging his application with the Court, the applicant complained of a situation in which he had already been for some time, and which seemed set to last. In those circumstances, any subsequent developments in the criminal proceedings against him would not have affected the core of the matter underlying his complaint under the Convention because he had already spent a significant period of time in detention. Accordingly, the Court is unable to find that a lack of information about further extensions to the applicant’s detention and his conviction would have had a decisive influence on its judgment, or have prevented it from ruling on the case (see Kalinin v. Russia [Committee], no. 54749/12, §§ 18-21, 19 February 2015). It finds the Government’s argument without merit and of no legal consequence to the proceedings.
17. The Court considers that the complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
18. The Court has already examined a large number of applications against Russia raising similar complaints under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention and found a violation of that Article on the grounds that the domestic courts extended an applicant’s detention by relying essentially on the gravity of the charges and using stereotyped formulae without addressing his or her specific situation or considering alternative preventive measures (see, among many other examples, Shukhardin v. Russia, no. 65734/01, 28 June 2007; Belov v. Russia, no. 22053/02, 3 July 2008; Lamazhyk v. Russia, no. 20571/04, 30 July 2009; Makarenko v. Russia, no. 5962/03, 22 December 2009; Gultyayeva v. Russia, no. 67413/01, 1 April 2010; Logvinenko v. Russia, no. 44511/04, 17 June 2010; Sutyagin v. Russia, no. 30024/02, 3 May 2011; Romanova v. Russia, no. 23215/02, 11 October 2011; and Valeriy Samoylov v. Russia, no. 57541/09, 24 January 2012).
19. In the present case the applicant was kept in pre-trial detention for one year, four months, and twenty-one days. The Court considers that the authorities extended the applicant’s detention on grounds which, although “relevant”, cannot be regarded as “sufficient”. In those circumstances it is not necessary to examine whether the proceedings were conducted with “special diligence”.
20. Having regard to its case-law in similar cases and to the facts of the present case, the Court finds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
21. 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.”
22. The applicant claimed 385,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
23. The Government stated that this sum was excessive.
24. The Court considers that the applicant must have suffered distress and frustration as a result of the violation of his rights. Having regard to the nature of the violation found, and making its assessment on an equitable basis, the Court awards EUR 1,500 to the applicant in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable on that amount.
B. Costs and expenses
25. The applicant did not claim reimbursement of costs and expenses. Accordingly, the Court considers that there is no call to award him any sum on that account.
C. Default interest
26. 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. Declares the complaint concerning the excessive duration of pre-trial detention admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date of the judgment, EUR 1,500 (one thousand five hundred euros) plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, 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 amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
4. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 10 January 2017, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Helena Jäderblom
Deputy Registrar President