Panteleiciuc v. the Republic of Moldova and Russia (Application no. 57468/08)

A selection of key paragraph(s) can be found below the document.


48. The Court reiterates that the concept of a “criminal charge” within the meaning of Article 6 § 1 is an autonomous one. The Court’s established case-law sets out three criteria, commonly known as the “Engel criteria” (see Engel and Others v. the Netherlands, 8 June 1976, § 82, Series A no. 22), to be considered in determining whether or not there was a “criminal charge” within the meaning of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. The first criterion is the legal classification of the offence under national law, the second is the very nature of the offence, and the third is the nature and degree of severity of the penalty that the person concerned risks incurring. The second and third criteria are alternative, and not necessarily cumulative. This, however, does not exclude a cumulative approach where separate analysis of each criterion does not make it possible to reach a clear conclusion as to the existence of a criminal charge (see, in particular, Jussila v. Finland [GC], no. 73053/01, § 30-31, ECHR 2006‑XIII andBlokhin v. Russia [GC], no. 47152/06, §§ 179 and 180, ECHR 2016).

49. The Court reiterates that according to its well-established case-law, the guarantees contained in paragraph 3 of Article 6 are specific aspects of the general concept of a fair trial set forth in paragraph 1. The various rights, of which a non-exhaustive list appears in paragraph 3, reflect certain of the aspects of the notion of a fair trial in criminal proceedings. When compliance with paragraph 3 is being reviewed, its basic purpose must not be forgotten nor must it be severed from its roots. The Court therefore considers complaints under Article 6 § 3 under paragraphs 1 and 3 of Article 6 taken together (see, inter alia, Meftah and Others v. France [GC], nos. 32911/96 and 2 others, § 40, ECHR 2002‑VII, with further references and Correia de Matos v. Portugal [GC], no. 56402/12, § 119, 4 April 2018). The minimum rights listed in Article 6 § 3, which exemplify the requirements of a fair trial in respect of typical procedural situations which arise in criminal cases, are not aims in themselves: their intrinsic aim is always to contribute to ensuring the fairness of the criminal proceedings as a whole (see Ibrahim and Others v. the United Kingdom [GC], nos. 50541/08 and 3 others, § 251, ECHR 2016 and Correia de Matos v. Portugal [GC], no. 56402/12, § 120, 4 April 2018).

50. In the present case, the Court notes that the applicant was convicted of an administrative offence and sentenced to three days’ imprisonment. In view of this sanction involving deprivation of liberty, the Court considers that the proceedings against the applicant were such as to bring the “charge” against him within the criminal sphere for purposes of Article 6 § 1 (see paragraph 48 above). 54.  In the Court’s view, the various shortcomings of the proceedings mentioned in paragraphs 51 and 53 above, none of which was accompanied by any reasons given either by the “MRT” courts, or the respondent Governments, amount to breaches ofArticle 6 § 3(b), (c) and (e) of the Convention.


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