Goginashvili v. Georgia

Application No. 47729/08
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Goginashvili, a prisoner, sued the government of Georgia, alleging that the prison authority violated his right to health care due to its failure to protect his health and well-being in prison, contrary to its obligation under Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“Convention”). Article 3 prohibits inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The issue was whether or not the State had been able to maintain the stability of the applicant’s health in prison by dispensing adequate treatment for his illness. The applicant suffered from several illness, including chornic renal failure and viral hepitis C, among others. The prison took charge of the applicant’s health problems for the first time on 6 July 2006. Since then, the applicant’s health condition had worsened, and he had received treatments many times. The applicant alleged that the prison authority failed to protect his health.

On 1 October 2010 the Prison Code entered into force, which provided for the right to health care in prison.

The Court held that the applicant’s complaint under Article 3 of the Convention concerning the alleged lack of adequate medical treatment for the period until 1 October 2010 (the time before the the Prison Code entered into force) was admissible. However, the second part of compliant concerning treatment after 1 October 2010 was rejected.

The Court held that the prison authority had shown a sufficient degree of due diligence, providing the applicant with prompt and systematic medical care. Accordingly, there had been no violation of Article 3 of the Convention. The Court reasoned that the applicant promptly and with sufficient regularity was examined by the relevant doctors in prison, who then made an accurate diagnosis and prescribed him the relevant form of treatment. The prison authority ensured that the prescribed treatment was duly administered to the applicant in the prison hospital, which had all necessary medical facilities, and the treatment was given at the State’s expense.

“Thus, the Court finds that not only was the applicant promptly and with sufficient regularity consulted by the relevant doctors in prison, who made an accurate diagnosis and prescribed him the relevant form of treatment, but also the prison authority then ensured that the prescribed treatment was duly administered to the applicant in the prison hospital, which has all the necessary medical facilities, at State expense (contrast with Hummatov, cited above, § 116, and Melnik, also cited above, §§ 104-106). Indeed, the applicant’s medical supervision has proved to be of a regular and systematic nature, rather than addressing his renal disorders on a symptomatic basis, and has made use of a truly comprehensive therapeutic strategy (compare with Sarban v. Moldova, no. 3456/05, § 79, 4 October 2005, and Popov v. Russia, no. 26853/04, § 211, 13 July 2006). No less important is the fact that the prison authority has been able to maintain a comprehensive medical record of the applicant’s state of health, monitoring the treatment he underwent from the beginning of his detention until the present day (compare with, for example, Khudobin v. Russia, no. 59696/00, § 83, ECHR 2006-XII (extracts))." Para. 80.

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