Court: Moldova prison without food, water, power or heating led to inmates’ human rights violations

Judges have accepted that two men, held in a Moldovan prison without food, water, power and heating, suffered breaches of his human rights.

In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Pocasovschi and Mihaila v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia (application no. 1089/09) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights by Moldova,


a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in respect of the first of the two applicants by Moldova.

 The case was declared inadmissible as concerned Russia.

The case concerned the applicants’ Ruslan Pocasovschi and Ion Mihăilă’s complaint about being held in poor conditions in a Moldovan prison whose electricity and water had been cut off by the separatist ‘Moldavian Republic of Transdniestria’ (the “MRT”).

As Just satisfaction (Article 41), the court held that the Republic of Moldova was to pay 3,000 euros (EUR) in respect of nonpecuniary damage to the first applicant and EUR 1,800 to the second applicant. It awarded EUR 1,500 jointly in respect of costs and expenses.

The European court found that although the municipal authority which ordered the utilities to be cut had been controlled by the “MRT”, the prison itself had been under full Moldovan government control.

The court agreed with the domestic findings that the men had been held in inhuman conditions between September 2002 and April 2004 owing to a lack of water, electricity, food and warmth.

The domestic courts had awarded compensation, however, the amount was below that normally given by the court. The men had therefore suffered a violation of their rights under the convention and the Court ordered each to be paid further amounts in respect of non-pecuniary damage.





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