(Application no. 16003/03)
29 June 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 Murashova 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 6 June 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 16003/03) against Ukraine lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Ukrainian national, Mrs Svetlana Grigoryevna Murashova (“the applicant”), on 24 April 2003.
2. The Ukrainian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs V. Lutkovska.
3. On 24 March 2005 the Court decided to communicate the application to the Government. Under the provisions of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention, it decided to examine the merits of the application at the same time as its admissibility.
4. On 1 April 2006 this case was assigned to the newly constituted Fifth Section (Rule 25 § 5 and Rule 52 § 1).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
5. The applicant was born in 1960 and lives in Kherson.
6. In 2001 and 2002 the applicant instituted two separate sets of proceedings in the Labour Disputes Commission against the State Enterprise “Khersonskyy Sudnobudivelnyy Zavod” (the “KSZ”), seeking recovery of salary arrears. By decisions of 12 February 2001 and 25 April 2002, the Labour Disputes Commission allowed the applicant’s claims and ordered the KSZ to pay the applicant a total of UAH 2,387 in salary arrears.
7. On 28 February 2001 and 6 June 2002 the Komsomolskyy District Bailiffs’ Service of Kherson instituted enforcement proceedings concerning the decisions of 12 February 2001 and 25 April 2002, respectively.
8. On 6 October 2003 the Bailiffs’ Service informed the applicant that the decisions in her favour had not been executed due to the substantial number of enforcement proceedings against the debtor and the debtor’s lack of funds.
9. On 20 May 2005 the applicant was paid the amounts due to her in full.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
10. The relevant domestic law is summarised in the judgment of Romashov v. Ukraine (no. 67534/01, §§ 16-18 and 39-41, 27 July 2004).
11. The applicant complained about the State authorities’ failure to enforce the decisions of the Labour Disputes Commission of 12 February 2001 and 25 April 2002 in due time. She invoked Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, which provide, insofar as relevant, as follows:
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. ...”
“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 ....”
12. The Government raised objections regarding the applicant’s victim status and exhaustion of domestic remedies similar to those which the Court has already dismissed in the case of Romashov v. Ukraine (see Romashov, cited above, §§ 23-33). The Court considers that the present objections must be rejected for the same reasons.
13. The Court concludes that the application raises serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. It finds no ground for declaring it inadmissible.
14. In their observations, the Government put forward arguments similar to those in the cases of Romashov v. Ukraine and Voytenko v. Ukraine, contending that there had been no violation of either Article 6 § 1 of the Convention or Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (see Romashov, cited above, § 37, and Voytenko v. Ukraine, no. 18966/02, 29 June 2004, § 37).
15. The applicant disagreed.
16. The Court notes that the decisions of the Labour Disputes Commission of 12 February 2001 and 25 April 2002 remained unenforced for around four years and three months, and three years, respectively.
17. The Court recalls that it has already found violations of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in cases raising issues similar to the present application (see, for instance, Romashov, cited above, §§ 42-46, and Voytenko, cited above, §§ 53-55).
18. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court considers that the Government have not put forward any fact or convincing argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion in the present case. There has, accordingly, been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
19. The Court does not find it necessary in the circumstances to examine the same complaint under Article 13 of the Convention (see Derkach and Palek v. Ukraine, nos. 34297/02 and 39574/02, § 42, 21 December 2004).
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
20. 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.”
21. The applicant claimed EUR 5,000 by way of just satisfaction.
22. The Government maintained that the applicant had not substantiated the amount claimed and submitted that the finding of a violation would constitute sufficient just satisfaction.
23. The Court, making its assessment on an equitable basis, as required by Article 41 of the Convention, awards the applicant EUR 800 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
B. Costs and expenses
24. The applicant did not submit any claim under this head. The Court therefore makes no award.
C. Default interest
25. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.
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 there has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;
4. Holds that it is not necessary to examine the applicant’s complaint under Article 13 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 according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 800 (eight hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable on the date of settlement;
(b) 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 29 June 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Claudia WESTERDIEK Peer LORENZEN
. Around 390 euros – “EUR”.