(Application no. 29435/04)
14 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 Luganskaya v. Ukraine,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr P. Lorenzen, President,
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr V. Butkevych,
Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska,
Mr R. Maruste,
Mr J. Borrego Borrego,
Mrs R. Jaeger, judges,
and Mrs C. Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 20 November 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
6. On 5 May and 21 July 2003, respectively, the Novogrodivskyy Town Bailiffs' Service (Відділ Державної виконавчої служби Новогродівського міського управління юстиції) instituted enforcement proceedings in respect of the above judgments.
7. The Novogrodivska Mining Company was reorganised and became a structural subdivision of the Selidovvugillya Mining Company. As the latter thereby became the debtor, the enforcement proceedings were transferred to the Selidivskyy Town Bailiffs' Service (Відділ Державної виконавчої служби Селидівського міського управління юстиції).
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
“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.”
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest ....”
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. ...”
16. The Government maintained that the judgments in the applicant's favour had been enforced in part. They further maintained that the responsibility of the State in this situation had been limited to the organisation and proper conduct of enforcement proceedings and that the length of the enforcement proceedings had been caused by the critical financial situation of the debtor company and the energy sector of the Ukrainian economy in general. The Government contended that the Bailiffs' Service had performed all necessary actions and could not be blamed for the delay. The regularity of the enforcement proceedings in the present case was confirmed by the domestic courts. The Government argued that the State could not be considered responsible for the debts of its enterprises and that the State annually allocated substantial amounts from its budget to cover part of disability allowances and other compensatory payments to the workers in the mining industry.
18. The Court notes that the judgments in the applicant's favour have not been enforced for more than three years and five months and for more than three years and three months, respectively.
20. Having examined all the materials submitted to it, the Court considers that the Government have not put forward any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion in the present case.
21. There has, accordingly, been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
22. The Court does not consider it necessary in the circumstances to rule on the same complaint under Article 13 of the Convention.
VI. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
23. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“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. Declares the application admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
3. Holds that it is not necessary to rule on the applicant's complaint under Article 13 of the Convention;
4. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the judgments' debts still owed to her, as well as EUR 1,300 (one thousand three hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(b) that the above amount shall be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(c) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
6. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant's claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 14 December 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen
1. At the material time around 890.89 euros (“EUR”).
2. At the material time around EUR 691.10.
3. Around EUR 672.
4. Last known to the Court to be UAH 5,225.82 (currently around EUR 850.43).