The ECHR judgment of 20 October 2016 in the case of Mursic v. Croatia (application No. 7334/13).
In 2013, the applicant was assisted in preparing the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Croatia.
In the case, the applicant's complaint on the lack of personal space in the prison cell was successfully considered. The case involved a violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms with respect to the period when the applicant had less than 3 square meters. m of personal space, in respect of the remaining non-consecutive periods, the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention have not been violated.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
In his application to the European Court, the applicant complained about the lack of personal space in the prison, which did not periodically reach 3 square meters. m.
In the judgment of 12 March 2015 the Chamber of the European Court decided, by six votes in favor, "against", that the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention were not violated in the case. In particular, she stated that the conditions of the applicant's detention, although not always adequate, did not reach the threshold of severity required to characterize treatment as inhuman or degrading within the meaning of Article 3 of the Convention.
On July 7, 2015, at the applicant's request, the case was referred to the Grand Chamber of the European Court for review.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 3 of the Convention. The assessment of the European Court whether there was a violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention can not be reduced to the calculation of the square meters that the prisoner has. This approach does not take into account the fact that practically only a comprehensive approach to specific conditions of detention can provide an accurate picture of the real life of prisoners.
However, if the personal space available to the prisoner does not reach 3 sq. Km. m of floor space in crowded prison cells, the lack of personal space is considered to be so severe that a strong presumption of violation of Article 3 of the Convention arises.
The burden of proof was placed on the respondent State, which could refute this presumption, proving that there were factors capable of adequately compensating for the lack of personal space. A serious presumption of a violation can usually be refuted only if there are a combination of the following factors: a reduction in the required minimum personal space of 3 sq. Km. m was brief, incidental and insignificant, these reductions were accompanied by sufficient freedom of movement outside the cell and adequate activities outside the cells, the applicant was detained in a place that from the general point of view was an appropriate place of detention and there were no other aggravating aspects of the conditions of his detention.
In cases where it was a question of the personal space of the prison cell of 3-4 square meters. m per prisoner, the space remained an important factor for assessing the adequacy of the conditions of detention by the European Court.
In such cases, the violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention was established if the factor of the presence of personal space was aggravated by other aspects of inadequate physical conditions of detention, in particular, access to walks, natural lighting or ventilation, accessibility of ventilation, adequacy of the temperature in the room, the possibility of privacy when using the toilet and compliance with basic sanitation and hygiene requirements.
In cases where the prisoner had more than 4 square meters. m of personal space in the prison's multi-prison cell, and therefore the issue of personal space did not arise, other aspects of the physical conditions of detention mattered for the assessment by the Court of the adequacy of the applicant's detention conditions.
The applicant was sometimes held in cells that did not reach the 3 sq. m, therefore there was a serious presumption of violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention.
As for one such case lasting 27 days, the presumption of the violation could not be called into question. The conditions of the applicant's detention at that time affected him beyond the inevitable level of suffering inherent in detention and were therefore an appeal constituting degrading treatment prohibited by article 3 of the Convention. As for the remaining periods, when the applicant had less than 3 square meters. m of personal space, the respondent State denied the existence of a serious presumption of violation. The applicant was generally held in appropriate circumstances, inconsistent periods could be regarded as brief and insignificant reductions in personal space during which he had sufficient freedom of movement and activities outside the cell, and the Court therefore decided that the periods in question were not degrading treatment prohibited Article 3 of the Convention.
The conditions of detention of the applicant during the period when he had an area of 3 to 4 square meters. m of personal space, did not constitute inhuman or degrading treatment.
The case involved a violation of the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention, as for the period of 26 days when the applicant had less than 3 square meters. (unanimously), in respect of the remaining non-consecutive periods in which the applicant had less than 3 square meters of personal space. m of the personal space, the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention were not violated (taken by 10 votes in favor at seven against), the requirements of Article 3 of the Convention were not violated in the case, as regards the periods in which the applicant had an area of 3 to 4 square meters. m of personal space (taken by 13 votes "for" with four - "against").
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded the applicant EUR 1,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
See also Ananyev and Others v. Russia, judgment of 10 January 2012, applications N 42525/07 and 60800/08.