Case of Rrapo v. Albania (Application no. 58555/10)

A. Constitution of Albania

45. The Albanian Constitution, in its relevant parts, provides as follows.


Article 17

1. The restriction of the rights and freedoms provided for in this Constitution may be laid down only by law in the public interest or for the protection of the rights of others. A restriction shall be proportionate to the situation that has dictated it.

2. These restrictions may not infringe the essence of the rights and freedoms and in no case should exceed the restrictions provided for in the European Convention on Human Rights.”

90. The Court recalls that the imposition of a life sentence on an adult offender is not, in itself, prohibited by Article 3 or any other provision of the Convention or incompatible therewith (see, among many other authorities, Bamber v. the United Kingdom, no. 13183/87, Commission decision of 14 December 1988, and Sawoniuk v. the United Kingdom (dec.), no. 63716/00, ECHR 2001-VI). It is only in very exceptional cases that an applicant will be able to demonstrate that the sentence he or she would face in a non-Contracting State would be grossly disproportionate and thus contrary to Article 3 at the moment of its imposition (see Harkins and Edwards v. the United Kingdom, nos.9146/07 and 32650/07, § 134, 17 January 2012). In the absence of any such gross disproportionality, an Article 3 issue will arise for a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole in the same way as for a discretionary life sentence, when it can be shown: (i) that the applicant’s continued imprisonment can no longer be justified on any legitimate penological grounds; and (ii) that the sentence is irreducible de facto and de iure (seeHarkins and Edwards, cited above, § 138; and, Kafkaris v. Cyprus [GC], no. 21906/04, § 98, ECHR 2008).

  • Proportionality of sentencing

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