CASE OF ZAKHAROV v. RUSSIA
(Application no. 14881/03)
5 October 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 Zakharov v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mrs E. Steiner,
Mr K. Hajiyev,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar
Having deliberated in private on 14 September 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“Such outrageous conduct of the appointed (not elected!) head of the town council vis-à-vis the town residents, – in full view of everyone – discredits the power that appointed A. and sets an example of breaking the law with impunity provided that you can 'make a deal' with the council head.
I ask you to state your opinion on A.'s anti-social behaviour and assist [us] in returning the land plot into communal use, notwithstanding her opposition...”
“In addition to failing to substantiate the said allegations with any proof, [the applicant] used expressions which, in their form and contents, are not appropriate in respect of an official, which the plaintiff is...
Also, the court considers that the judgments used by the [applicant] in his letter – such as 'A. knows that by law protected areas may not be occupied, but ostensibly makes an exemption for V.', 'such outrageous conduct... discredits the power that appointed A. and sets an example of breaking the law with impunity provided that you can 'make a deal' with the council head', 'A.'s anti-social behaviour' – are not only untrue because the [applicant] failed to prove that these facts had occurred, but also insulting for the Town Council Head; this information, phrased as insults, damages dignity and honour of the plaintiff, and it was sent to a deputy Governor of the Moscow Region, which might have led to belittlement of the plaintiff's authority in the eyes of regional managers...”
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
A. Constitution of the Russian Federation (of 12 December 1993)
B. Civil Code of the Russian Federation (of 30 November 1994)
C. Supreme Court's Resolution
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 10 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority.
2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.”
A. Arguments by the parties
B. The Court's assessment
II. 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 the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros) in respect of pecuniary damage, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable;
(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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 5 October 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis