(Application no. 30453/96)
22 May 2001
In the case of Özata and Others v. Turkey,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mrs E. PALM, President,
Mr L. FERRARI BRAVO,
Mr GAUKUR JöRUNDSSON,
Mr B. ZUPANčIč,
Mr T. PANţîRU,
Mr R. MARUSTE, judges,
Mr F. GöLCüKLü, ad hoc judge,
and Mr M. O’BOYLE, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 17 October 2000 and on 3 May 2001,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the last-mentioned date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 30453/96) against the Republic of Turkey lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights (“the Commission”) under former Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by six Turkish nationals, Mr Güven Özata, Mr Sait Kızar, Mr Ali Özmen, Mr İbrahim Tekin, Mr Sabri Öner and Mr Enver Sönmez (“the applicants”), on 3 February 1996.
2. The applicants were represented by Mr Mehmet Nur Terzi, a lawyer practising in İzmir (Turkey). The Turkish Government (“the Government”) did not designate an Agent for the purposes of the proceedings before the Court.
3. The applicants complained that they had been victims of a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention on account of excessive length of their detention in police custody for 9 days in respect of the first applicant and 14 days for the other applicants without being brought before a judge or other officer authorised by law to exercise judicial power.
4. Following communication of the complaints under Articles 5 § 3 of the Convention to the Government and rejection of the remainder of the application by the Commission, the case was transferred to the Court on 1 November 1998 by virtue of Article 5 § 2 of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention.
5. The application was allocated to the First Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court). Within that Section, the Chamber that would consider the case (Article 27 § 1 of the Convention) was constituted as provided in Rule 26 § 1 of the Rules of Court. Mr Rıza Türmen, the judge elected in respect of Turkey, withdrew from sitting in the case (Rule 28). The Government accordingly appointed Mr Feyyaz Gölcüklü to sit as an ad hoc judge in his place (Article 27 § 2 of the Convention).
6. On 17 October 2000, after obtaining the parties’ observations, the Court declared the application admissible.
7. On 16 February 2001, after an exchange of correspondence, the Registrar suggested to the parties that they should attempt to reach a friendly settlement within the meaning of Article 38 § 1 (b) of the Convention. On 27 February 2001 and on 2 March 2001 the applicants’ representative and the Government respectively submitted formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.
8. On 16 November 1995 the first applicant, Mr Güven Özata, and on 21 November 1995 the other applicants were arrested by police officers from the anti-terrorist branch of the Antalya Security Department on suspicion of membership of the PKK.
9. On 29 November 1995 the Antalya Magistrates’ Court ordered the applicants’ detention on remand.
10. On 27 December 1995 the Chief Public Prosecutor at the İzmir State Security Court charged the applicants with membership of the PKK, aiding and sheltering militants of the PKK and having been involved in separatist activities against the State.
11. On 26 June 1997 the İzmir State Security Court acquitted Mr Güven Özata of the charges, but convicted others as charged under Articles 125 and 168 of the Turkish Criminal Code.
12. On 9 February 2001 the Government sent a letter to the Court stating that they were prepared to pay 180,000 French francs on an ex gratia basis to the applicants with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the case.
13. On 2 March 2001 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Turkey offer to pay the amount of 180,000 French francs on an ex gratia basis to Mr Güven Özata, Mr Sait Kızar, Mr Ali Özmen, Mr İbrahim Tekin, Mr Sabri Öner, Mr Enver Sönmez, with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the application registered under no. 30453/96. This sum shall cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs, and it will be payable immediately after the notification of the judgment delivered by the Court pursuant to the Article 39 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.
The Government further undertake not to request the reference of the case to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 § 1 of the Convention.”
14. On 27 February 2001 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicants’ representative:
“I note that the Government of Turkey are prepared to pay a sum totalling 180,000 French francs on an ex gratia basis covering both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage and costs to Mr Güven Özata, Mr Sait Kızar, Mr Ali Özmen, Mr İbrahim Tekin, Mr Sabri Öner, Mr Enver Sönmez, a view to securing a friendly settlement of the application no. 30453/96 pending before the Court.
I accept the proposal and waive any further claims in respect of Turkey relating to the facts of this application. I declare that the case is definitely settled.
This declaration is made in the context of a friendly settlement which the Government and the applicants have reached.
I further undertake not to request the reference of the case to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 § 1 of the Convention after the delivery of the Court’s judgment.”
15. The Court takes note of the agreement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention). It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention and Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court).
16. Accordingly, the case should be struck out of the list.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Decides to strike the case out of the list;
2. Takes note of the parties’ undertaking not to request a rehearing of the case before the Grand Chamber.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 22 May 2001, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Michael O’BOYLE Elisabeth PALM