Case Zherebin v. Russia

Importance Nature Application Number Case language State Date (dd/mm/yyyy)
2 Judgement 51445/09 English Russia 24/03/2016

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Zherebin v. Russia - 51445/09

Article 46

Article 46-2

Execution of judgment

Measures of a general character

Respondent State required to continue to adopt measures to address structural problem relating to excessive length of pre-trial detention

The applicant alleged that he had been detained pending trial notwithstanding the absence of relevant and sufficient reasons, in breach of Article 5§3 of the Convention. The Court first observed that the domestic judicial authorities justified need to detain the applicant during the criminal proceedings against him saying he might “abscond or interfere with the administration of justice by inter alia putting pressure on witnesses” (§57). Their reasoning was essentially based on the severity of the sentence faced. The Court also pointed that the domestic authorities “in refusing to release the applicant, argued that he had failed to furnish evidence to distorve the prosecution’s allegations as to the existence” of this risk (§60), and therefore shifted the burden of proof to the detained person. As a result, the Court concluded that “by failing to consider alternative ‘preventive measures’, relying essentially on the seriousness of the charges and by shifting the burden of proof to the applicant”, the authorities extended the applicant’s detention on grounds that cannot be regarded as sufficient to justify its duration. Accordingly, the Court declared there had been a violation of Article 5§3.

The Court further observed that since its first judgment concerning the excessive length of pre-trial detention it had delivered more than 110 against Russia in which a violation of Article 5§3 was found, and that approximatively 700 applications raising an issue un Article 5§3 were pending. The Court went on to note that the issue had already been considered by the Committee of Ministers (see i.a. CM/inf/DH(2007)4). Last, the Court pointed that according to official data the domestic courts granted approximatively 90% of all initial applications for remand in custody lodged by prosecuting authorities and more than 93% requests for extension of pre-trial detention. These findings demonstrated that the present case was not isolated but originates from a structural problem consisting of a practice incompatible with the Convention. In view of the extent of this problem, the Court declared  the respondent State has the obligation to select, under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers, appropriate measures to redress so far as possible the effects. The Court concluded stressing “the importance of the presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings” (§82).