(Application no. 69124/01)
19 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 Hikmedin Yıldız v. Turkey,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr J. Hedigan,
Mr R. Türmen,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 28 September 2006,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of ...any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a...hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ...tribunal...”
23. As to the conduct of the domestic authorities, the Court observes that there was a significant period of delay which was attributable to the authorities. In this respect, the Court notes that the factual circumstances of the case against the applicant and a number of co-accused were elucidated as early as 2 April 1996 when the public prosecutor submitted his observations on the merits. Regardless of this fact, the proceedings continued for approximately four years. Admittedly, the Court notes that the proceedings were prolonged partly because of the failure of some of the accused, in particular those who were remanded in custody, to appear before the court. However, reiterating that Article 6 § 1 of the Convention imposes on the Contracting States the duty to organise their legal systems in such a way that their courts can meet each of the requirements of that provision including the obligation to decide cases within a reasonable time (see Arvelakis v. Greece, no. 41354/98, § 26, 12 April 2001), the Court considers that the domestic court could have applied stricter measures to speed up the proceedings. Neither the complexity of the case nor the conduct of the defendants is sufficient to explain the delay in which the case was processed by the first-instance court. Therefore, the Court considers the delay must be considered to be attributable to the domestic court's handling of the proceedings.
24. Finally, the Court considers that what was at stake for the applicant in these proceedings was of considerable importance to him.
25. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that, in the instant case, the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.
26. There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
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 according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts to be converted into new Turkish liras at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 3,500 (three thousand and five hundred euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 1,000 (one thousand 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 19 October 2006, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Vincent Berger Boštjan M. Zupančič