ECtHR - C.D. and Others v. Greece, Application Nos. 33441/10, 33468/10 and 33476/10

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Country of Applicant: 
Afghanistan
Iraq
Pakistan
Turkey
Date of Decision: 
19-03-2014
Citation: 
Application Nos. 33441/10, 33468/10 and 33476/10
Court Name: 
First Section; European Court of Human Rights
Headnote: 

Although the decision and length of Greek detention of asylum seekers was justified and proportionate, the conditions of the Venna detention centre did not comply with Article 3 and there was no effective review of the lawfulness of their detention.

Facts: 

The 12 Applicants were all asylum seekers in 2009 in Greece who were detained pending removal to their countries of origin, from which they fled for political reasons on unknown dates.

They lodged objections to the Greek authorities concerning the conditions of their months (exact lengths varied) of detention at Venna detention centre, due to a lack of hygiene, insufficient living space and no access to outdoor exercise.

Except for one, who obtained refugee status, the rest were either deported to their countries of origin or to Turkey, or released in 2010.

Before the ECtHR, the Applicants raised claims based on Article 3 concerning their detention conditions, Article 5 concerning the unlawfulness of their detention, and Article 9 due to their being allegedly forced, as Muslims, to choose between eating pork or nothing at all.

Decision & Reasoning: 

Concerning the alleged violation of Article 3, the Court observed that the allegations of the Applicants in relation to conditions at the Venna detention centre were consistent with the findings of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT), the UN Special Rapporteur against Torture and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants, which concluded that detention conditions were inadequate there. The centre was closed after the visit of the latter in December 2012. On this basis, the Court declared a violation of Article 3.

The Court also found a violation of Article 5(4) because the remedies provided for by the Greek law at the time of the detention of the Applicants did not allow for judicial review of the lawfulness of the expulsion order that served as legal basis for detention. Instead, detention could only be challenged on the basis of risk of absconding or threat to public order. In addition, the administrative challenge of the expulsion order could not be used to challenge detention. Therefore, the Applicants did not have an effective remedy for the review of the lawfulness of their detention.

As regards Article 5(1), the Court found that the detention of the Applicants was based on Greek law. In addition, the time that transpired until they were returned could not be considered disproportionate in view of the necessary administrative formalities that the Greek and Turkish authorities, as well as the authorities of the countries of origin of some of the Applicants, had to comply with. The Greek authorities had not acted passively during the returns procedure and therefore the detention of the Applicants had been justified.

Finally, the Court declared the Applicants’ allegations under Article 9 manifestly ill-founded and inadmissible.

Outcome: 

Violations of Articles 3 and 5(4); No violation of Articles 5(1) and 9. Compensation awarded to each Applicant for non-pecuniary damage – 5000 Euros to four, 6,000 Euros to two, 9,000 Euros to four, and 10,000 Euros to two. 

Case Law Cited: 

ECtHR - Carabulea v. Romania, Application No. 45661/99

ECtHR - Anakomba Yula v. Belgium, Application No. 45413/07

ECtHR - Labita v. Italy [GC], Application No. 26772/95

ECtHR - El Masri v. the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia [GC], Application No. 39630/09

ECtHR - Riad and Idiab v. Belgium, Application Nos. 29787/03 and 29810/03

ECtHR - Dougoz v. Greece, Application No. 40907/98

ECtHR - Creanga v. Romania [GC], Application No. 29226/03

ECtHR - Witold Litwa v. Poland, Application No. 26629/95

ECtHR - Baranowski v Poland, Application No. 28358/95

ECtHR - Sanoma Uitgevers B.V. v. the Netherlands, Application No. 38224/03

ECtHR - Chalal v. the United Kingdom, Application No. 1948/04

ECtHR - Kudla v Poland [GC], Application No. 30210/96

ECtHR - McFarlane v Ireland [GC], Application No. 31333/06

ECtHR - Tabesh v. Greece, Application No. 8256/07

ECtHR - Amuur v. France, Application No. 19776/92

ECtHR - Case of Saadi v United Kingdom (Application no.13229/03) - (UP)

ECtHR - S.D. v Greece (Application no. 53541/07)

ECtHR - A.A. v. Greece, Application No. 12186/08

ECtHR - Akdivar v Turkey, Application No. 21893/93

ECtHR - Galotskin v. Greece, Application No. 2945/07

ECtHR - Fressoz Roire v. France [GC], Application No. 29183/95

ECtHR - Stoica v. Romania, Application No. 42722/02

ECtHR - Jacóbski v. Poland, Application No. 18429/06

ECtHR - Agnissan v. Denmark, Application No. 39964/98

ECtHR - Bygylashvili v. Greece, Application No. 58164/10

ECtHR - Nisiotis v. Greece, Application No. 34704/08

ECtHR - Manoussakis and Others v. Greece, Application No. 18748/91

ECtHR - Hassan and Tchaouch v. Bulgaria [GC], Application No. 30985/96

ECtHR - Günaydin. Turkey, Application No. 27526/95

ECtHR - Horshill v. Greece, Application No. 70427/11

ECtHR - UK v. Greece, Application No. 2237/08

ECtHR - Efremidze v. Greece, Application No. 33225/08

ECtHR - Ramirez Sanchez v. France [GC], Application No. 59450/00

ECtHR - Van der Ven v. the Netherlands, Application No. 50901/99

ECtHR - Moreira Barbosa v. Portugal, Application No. 65681/01
Other sources cited: 
  • Recommendation Rec (2006) 2 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the European Prison Rules;
  • Reports of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) 2007 and 2009;
  • Reports of the Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations 10 to 20 October 2010
Authentic Language: 
French
State Party: 
Greece
National / Other Legislative Provisions: 
Greece - Constitution - Art. 5
Greece - Law No. 3386/2005 - Article 2
Greece - Law No. 3386/2005 - Article 76
Greece - Law No. 3386/2005 - Article 77
Greece - Law No. 3386/2005 - Article 79
Greece - Άρθρα 76 του Νόμου 3900/2010 “Εξορθολογισμός Διαδικασιών και επιτάχυνση της Διοικητικής Δίκης και άλλες διατάξεις” (Φύλλο Εφημερίδας Κυβερνήσεως 213 Τεύχος Α) (Art 76 of Act 3900/2010)
Greece - Criminal Code - Article 74
Greece - Criminal Code - Article 99
Greece - Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 565
Greece - Code of Criminal Procedure - Article 572
Greece - Penal Law (Law No. 2776/1999) - Art 6
Greece - Penal Law (Law No. 2776/1999) - Art 86
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 114/2010 entitled ‘Refugee status: single procedure for foreigners and stateless persons’ - Art 5
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 114/2010 entitled ‘Refugee status: single procedure for foreigners and stateless persons’ - Art 6
Greece - Presidential Decree No. 114/2010 entitled ‘Refugee status: single procedure for foreigners and stateless persons’ - Art 13