by Paula CIOBOTARU
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 9 June 2009, as a Chamber composed of:
Ann Power, judges,
and Stanley Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 8 August 2007,
Having regard to the declaration submitted by the respondent Government on 20 January 2009 requesting the Court to strike the application out of the list of cases and the applicant’s reply to that declaration,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Paula Ciobotaru, is a Romanian national who was born in 1945 and lives in Bucharest. The Romanian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr Răzvan Horaţiu Radu, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 10 September 1997, the applicant lodged a request with the Bucharest District Court complaining of the illegality of a decision of the General Secretariat of the Government by which she was dismissed.
Following a quashing decision of the Bucharest County Court of 4 June 1999, the complaint was rejected by a final decision of the said court of 26 February 2001.
On 27 August 2001, the Prosecutor General lodged an extraordinary appeal against the latter decision. The Supreme Court of Justice, by a decision of 30 January 2002, allowed the extraordinary appeal and ordered a re examination of the case.
Following two quashing decisions of the Bucharest Court of Appeal ordering a re-examination, the case was settled in favour of the applicant by a final decision of the same court of 9 March 2007, ordering her reintegration on the position held before being dismissed. By the same decision, the applicant was awarded the claimed judicial costs.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the unreasonable length of the proceedings.
By letter dated 20 January 2009, the Government informed the Court that they proposed to make a unilateral declaration with a view to resolving the issue raised by the application. They further requested the Court to strike out the application in accordance with Article 37 of the Convention.
The declaration provided as follows:
“Le Gouvernement déclare – au moyen de la présente déclaration unilatérale – qu’il reconnaît l’existence d’une violation de l’article 6 de la Convention.
Le Gouvernement déclare être prêt à verser à la partie requérante au titre de satisfaction équitable la somme de 3 400 EUR, montant qu’il considère comme raisonnable au vu de la jurisprudence de la Cour. Cette somme qui couvrira tout préjudice matériel et moral ainsi que les frais et dépens, ne sera soumise à aucun impôt. Elle sera versée en lei roumains au taux applicable à la date du paiement sur le compte bancaire indiqué par la partie requérante, dans les trois mois suivant la date de la notification de la décision de la Cour rendue conformément à l’article 37 § 1 de la Convention européenne des droits de l’homme. A défaut de règlement dans ledit délai, le Gouvernement s’engage à verser, à compter de l’expiration de celui-ci et jusqu’au règlement effectif de la somme en question, un intérêt simple à un taux égal à celui de la facilité de prêt marginal de la Banque centrale européenne, augmenté de trois points de pourcentage.
Le Gouvernement invite respectueusement la Cour à dire que la poursuite de l’examen de la requête n’est plus justifiée et à la rayer du rôle en vertu de l’article 37 § 1 c) de la Convention.”
In a letter of 24 February 2009, the applicant expressed the view that the sum mentioned in the Government’s declaration was unacceptably low. She considered that the non-pecuniary and pecuniary damage that she suffered was significantly higher.
The Court recalls that Article 37 of the Convention provides that it may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to one of the conclusions specified under (a), (b) or (c) of paragraph 1 of that Article. Article 37 § 1 (c) enables the Court in particular to strike a case out of its list if:
“for any other reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application”.
It also recalls that in certain circumstances, it may strike out an application under Article 37 § 1 (c) on the basis of a unilateral declaration by a respondent Government even if the applicant wishes the examination of the case to be continued.
To this end, the Court will examine carefully the declaration in the light of the principles emerging from its case-law, in particular the Tahsin Acar judgment (Tahsin Acar v. Turkey, [GC], no. 26307/95, §§ 75-77, ECHR 2003-VI); WAZA Spółka z o.o. v. Poland (dec.) no. 11602/02, 26 June 2007; and Sulwińska v. Poland (dec.) no. 28953/03).
The Court has established in a number of cases, including those brought against Romania, its practice concerning complaints about the violation of the right to a hearing within a reasonable time (see, for example, Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII; Cocchiarella v. Italy [GC], no. 64886/01, §§ 69-98, ECHR 2006 V; Majewski v. Poland, no. 52690/99, 11 October 2005; Nicolau v. Romania, no. 1295/02, 12 January 2006, Cârstea and Grecu v. Romania, no. 56326/00, 15 June 2006, Cârjan v. Romania, no. 42588/02, 25 January 2007).
Having regard to the nature of the admissions contained in the Government’s declaration, as well as the amount of compensation proposed, the Court considers that it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application (Article 37 § 1(c)).
Moreover, in light of the above considerations, and in particular given the clear and extensive case-law on the topic, the Court is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto does not require it to continue the examination of this part of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine).
Accordingly, it should be struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Takes note of the terms of the respondent Government’s declaration in respect of the complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and of the modalities for ensuring compliance with the undertakings referred to therein;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.
Stanley Naismith Josep Casadevall
Deputy Registrar President