(Application no. 56793/00)
10 August 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 Babichkin v. Bulgaria,
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 3 July 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
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...”
The applicant disagreed with the Government’s arguments.
A. Period to be taken into consideration
The Court notes that following the issuance of the writ of execution the defendant appealed against the judgment of the Plovdiv Court of Appeals and the proceedings continued before the Supreme Court of Cassation (see paragraphs 22-24 above). Accordingly, the judgment of the Plovdiv Court of Appeals did not enter into force and did not definitively determine the amount of compensation due, thereby bringing the domestic proceedings to an end (see Pailot v. France, judgment of 22 April 1998, Reports 1998 II, p. 802, § 59). The Court therefore finds that the period under consideration ended on 5 March 2004, when the Plovdiv Court of Appeals’s judgment became final (see paragraph 24 above).
The most significant delay in the proceedings, however, resulted from the judgment of the Plovdiv Regional Court having been declared null and void on 16 July 1996 due to a procedural violation by the said court (see paragraph 12 above). This resulted in a retrial and fully negated the proceedings up to that point, which had involved two levels of jurisdiction and had lasted almost four years and two months, of which eight months and seventeen days were attributable to the applicant and the defendant (see paragraphs 9 and 33 above).
Thus, considering the above period of inactivity before the Supreme Court of Cassation and the delay as a result of the retrial, the period of delay attributable to the authorities is five years, four months and five days.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
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.”
III. 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
(a) that the respondent State is to pay to 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, to be converted into Bulgarian levs at the rate applicable on the date of settlement :
(i) EUR 3,600 (three thousand six hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, payable to the applicant himself;
(ii) EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros) in respect of costs and expenses, payable in two equal instalments of EUR 500 (five hundred euros) into the bank accounts of the applicant’s lawyers in Bulgaria, Ms S. Stefanova and Mr M. Ekimdjiev;
(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 10 August 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen