The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has reviewed existing case law in relation to pre-trial detention in the case of Buzadji v the Republic of Moldova.  The decision of the Grand Chamber holds that although “reasonable suspicion” is sufficient for initial detention of an accused, further detention must be justified by “relevant and sufficient reasons” in addition to the lawful grounds already enumerated in European case law.

In Buzadji, the applicant was a businessman arrested in May 2007 and formally charged with defrauding a State company of which he was a director. He was placed in detention pending trial given the gravity of the charges against him, the complexity of the case and a risk of collusion. The detention was then extended on a number of occasions, for essentially the same reasons, until July 2007 when the national courts accepted Mr Buzadji’s request to be placed under house arrest. He remained under house arrest until March 2008 when he was released on bail.

Relying in particular on Article 5 & 3 (right to liberty and security/entitlement to trial within a reasonable time or release pending trial) of the ECHR Mr Buzadji complained that the domestic court failed to give relevant and sufficient reasons for his detention pending trial for ten months. He argued the prosecution failed to show that there was “reasonable suspicion” to detain him and that they should have taken into account his good character, permanent residence in the country and his cooperation with the investigation since 2006 …

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This is an article from the PILA bulletin of 31 August 2016