Case Klinkenbuß v. Germany

Importance Nature Application Number Case language State Date (dd/mm/yyyy)
2 Judgement 53157/11 English Germany 25/02/2016

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 Klinkenbuß v. Germany - 53157/11

Article 5

Twenty-eight year preventive detention based on medical reports : no violation


In 1983 the Münster Regional Court sentenced the applicant to five years’ imprisonment and ordered his detention in a psychiatric hospital without any maximum duration, on the basis of an expert report stating that he had reduced mental capacities – and therefore acted with diminished criminal responsibility. Since then, the applicant had been detained in a psychiatric hospital. The applicant complained that his continued detention for more than 28 years was in violation of Article 5§1.

The Court observed that the sentencing court “ordered [in 1983] the applicant’s placement in a psychiatric hospital because it had to be expected that the applicant, as a result of his mental retardation and […] his sadistic tendencies […] would commit further unlawful acts” (§50), and that this decision had been confirmed at regular intervals by domestic courts dealing with the execution of sentences, in line with the objectives of the judgment of the sentencing court.

These courts based their assessment “on a sufficiently recent report by an external psychiatric expert” (§56). Therefore, their decision “not to release the applicant was […] based on an assessment which does not disclose any unreasonableness in this respect” (§56).

The Court therefore concluded that “there was still a sufficient causal connection between the applicant’s criminal conviction in 1983” and his current detention (§60), and declared that there had been no violation of Article 5§1.