(Application no. 9204/04)
7 December 2006
This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
In the case of Nogolica v. Croatia (No. 3),
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 16 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
“(1) The Constitutional Court shall examine a constitutional complaint even before all legal remedies have been exhausted in cases when a competent court has not decided within a reasonable time a claim concerning the applicant's rights and obligations or a criminal charge against him ...
(2) If the constitutional complaint ... under paragraph 1 of this Section is accepted, the Constitutional Court shall determine a time-limit within which a competent court shall decide the case on the merits...
(3) In a decision under paragraph 2 of this Article, the Constitutional Court shall fix appropriate compensation for the applicant in respect of the violation found concerning his constitutional rights ... The compensation shall be paid from the State budget within a term of three months from the date when the party lodged a request
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
16. The Court considers that the period to be taken into consideration began on 6 November 1997, the day after the entry into force of the Convention in respect of Croatia. However, in assessing the reasonableness of the time that elapsed after that date, account must be taken of the state of proceedings at the time. In this connection the Court notes that the proceedings commenced on 5 October 1995, when the applicant brought his civil action seeking damages against a Croatian weekly magazine. Consequently, the case was already pending for one year and eleven months before the ratification.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 13 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Joins to the merits the Government's objection as to the exhaustion of domestic remedies and rejects it;
2. Declares the complaint concerning the excessive length of the proceedings admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts which are to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at a rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 4,000 (four thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 500 (five hundred euros) in respect of costs and expenses;
(iii) any tax that may be chargeable on the above amounts;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 7 December 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis