(Application no. 252/04)
20 January 2009
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 Hîrgău and Arsinte v. Romania,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Boštjan M. Zupančič,
Luis López Guerra, judges,
and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 16 December 2008,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
1. Recovery of land
The first page of that judgment states that it became final on 7 November 1995. That statement is accompanied by a signature and a stamp of the Court of First Instance. According to the Government, the judgment became final on 28 November 1996, when an appeal by G.M., a third party intervening in the proceedings, was dismissed as groundless. The Government did not submit either a copy of the alleged judgment of 28 November 1996 or any other document making reference to that judgment.
2. Attempts by the applicants to enforce the judgment
On 14 September 2006 the Court of Appeal, by a final decision, allowed the action taking the view, inter alia, that the land had belonged to the applicants' mother and therefore had been illegally included in the third parties' title.
3. Attempts by the authorities to enforce the judgment
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
I. ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 TO THE CONVENTION
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
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 or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
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 shall ensure, by appropriate means, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the enforcement of the judgment of 11 October 1995 of the Fălticeni Court of First Instance by providing the applicants with a document of title to their land;
(b) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants jointly, within the same three months, the following amounts, to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 5,000 (five thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 320 (three hundred and twenty euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants, in respect of costs and expenses;
(c) 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 20 January 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Santiago Quesada Josep