Case Korneykova and Korneykov v. Ukraine

Importance Nature Application Number Case language State Date (dd/mm/yyyy)
1 Judgement 56660/12 English Ukraine 24/03/2016

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 Korneykova and Korneykov v. Ukraine - no. 56660/12

Article 3

Degrading treatment

Inhuman treatment

Shackling of pregnant woman before and after delivery; poor conditions of detention of mother and newborn; insufficient medical care to newborn in detention facility; placement of pregnant woman in metal cage during court hearings: violations

This case concerned a pregnant detainee, who alleged that she had been shackled in the maternity hospital where she had given birth and that she and her newborn son had subsequently been held in very poor conditions in a pre-trial detention centre, without adequate medical care.

There had been four violations of Article 3: Ms Korneykova’s shackling in the maternity hospital; the physical conditions of Ms Korneykova and her newborn son in pre-trial detention; the inadequate medical care provided to Ms Korneykova’s newborn son in detention; and, Ms Korneykova’s placement in a metal cage during court hearings on her case.

The Court considered unanimously that in the circumstances of the present case the cumulative effect of malnutrition of the applicant, inadequate sanitary and hygiene arrangements for her and her newborn son, as well as insufficient outdoor walks, must have been of such an intensity as to induce in her physical suffering and mental anguish amounting to her and her child’s inhuman and degrading treatment. Accordingly, there had been a violation of Article 3 of the Convention in respect of the physical conditions of the applicants’ detention.

Furthermore, the applicant was held in a metal cage during all the hearings in her case, which took place on 12 April, 17 May, 15 June, 2 and 31 August and 15 November 2012. During the first two hearings she was at a very advanced stage of pregnancy, whereas during the remaining four hearings she was a nursing mother separated from her baby in the courtroom by metal bars. In fact, no justification for such a restraint measure was even considered given the judge’s position that the mere placement of the first applicant outside the cage would have been equal to her release, contrary to the custodial preventive measure applied.

The Court found in particular that shackling Ms Korneykova when she was suffering labour pains and immediately  after  her  baby’s  delivery,  as  well  as  the  cumulative  effect  –  during  the  ensuing  six months  of  her  pre-trial  detention  –  of  her  malnutrition  as  a  breastfeeding  mother,  inadequate sanitary and hygiene arrangements for her and her newborn son and insufficient outdoor walks had amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment.

There has accordingly been violation of Article 3 of the Convention.