Tsarkov v Russia
Case No. 16854/03
Judgment date: 16 July 2009
On 20 September 2001 the applicant was arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder and placed in custody. On 21 September 2001 the prosecutor authorised the applicant’s detention pending investigation, referring to the gravity of the charges and the risk of his absconding and obstructing justice. No time-limit for detention was fixed. The applicant’s appeal was rejected on all instances, with the Supreme Court upholding this decision on 5 July 2002. In the meantime, charges of organising a criminal group, kidnapping, fraud and extortion were added to the indictment. In April 2002 the applicant and his lawyers started studying the case file comprising of 72 volumes. The applicant’s detention appears to have been extended on a number of occasions. The extensions were mainly based on the basis that applicant would abscond, influence witnesses and that the fact that the applicant would require more time to read the case files.
On 29 August 2002 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan further extended the applicant’s detention until 4 January 2003. On 6 November 2002 the Supreme Court of Russia dismissed the applicant’s appeal and upheld the decision of 29 August 2002. On 20 November 2002 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan further extended the applicant’s detention pending his study of the case file. No time-limit for the detention period was indicated. This decision was also upheld on appeal.
Detention during the trial phase
On 24 October 2005 the Supreme Court of the Republic of Tatarstan found the applicant guilty as charged and sentenced him to twenty-one years of imprisonment. On 12 April 2006 the Supreme Court of Russia upheld the applicant’s conviction on appeal.
Overall, the applicant had been detained for four years and one month.
The Court held unanimously that there had been no violation of Article 5(1) concerning the applicant’s pre-trial detention from 29 August to 19 November 2002, but that there had been a violation of this provision on account of his detention from 20 November 2002 to 21 July 2004.
The Court further held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 5(3) on account of the excessive length – approximately four years and one month – of his detention.
The Court awarded Mr Tsarkov EUR 2,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damages.