CASE OF KOMISSAROV v. THE CZECH REPUBLIC (Application no. 20611/17)

Komissarov v the Czech Republic: 18-month detention violates Article 5 ECHR

On the 3 February 2022, the ECHR released its judgment in the case of Komissarov v the Czech Republic. This case involved a Russian national who gained residency in the Czech Republic in 1999. The applicant was indicted by Russia for fraud and was the subject of several extradition requests lodged by Russia. In November 2015 the Ministry of Justice of the Czech Republic authorised the applicant's extradition and he was apprehended and placed in detention in May 2016. On the following day, the applicant lodged an application for asylum and the extradition proceedings were halted, however he remained in detention during the duration of the asylum proceedings and following their rejection he was extradited on the 15 November 2017.
 
The applicant therefore submitted to the ECHR that his detention was arbitrary and excessively lengthy as the time-limit prescribed under domestic law had not been followed and no alternative measures to detention were considered. In its analysis, the Court noted that when extradition and asylum proceedings run together, separate time-limits are provided in domestic law, and in the present case these limits had been greatly exceeded. The Court continued that strict time limits for an examination of the asylum are important safeguards against arbitrariness, and that therefore the domestic authorities were under an obligation to demonstrate the required diligence, under both domestic law and the Convention. It elaborated that in the applicant's case, the authorities did not acknowledge or react to the serious delays in the proceedings despite the applicant's complaints. The Court thereby deduced that the delays in the asylum proceedings and the length of the applicant's detention pending extradition for 18 months was not in accordance with domestic law. It moreover analysed that the two time-limits are linked and that the time-limit for consideration of an asylum claim is intended to ensure the overall length of detention is not excessive. In light of these considerations, the Court concluded that there had been a violation of Article 5§1(f) of the Convention.

ELENA Weekly Legal Update of 4 February 2022

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