AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
by Oleg Vladimirovich PROTZENKO
against Bulgaria, Ukraine and Russia
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 30 June 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Zdravka Kalaydjieva, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 18 February 2005,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Oleg Vladimirovich Protzenko, is a Ukrainian national who was born in 1969 and lives in Sofia.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant alleges that on 17 January 2000 he was arrested at his home in Ukraine by officers from the Organised Crime Combat Unit and was transported to the territory of the Russian Federation, where he was kept for about a week in the isolation unit of the detention centre in the town of Taganrog and subsequently transferred to Moscow. There he was detained in the Third Central Prison and was informed that he was wanted as a witness in a murder case and was under investigation for several offences in Bulgaria. A Russian and a Bulgarian officer questioned the applicant in the absence of a lawyer and made him confess to the above offences, using force and threats.
He also alleges that on an unspecified date in 2000 his home in Ukraine was searched.
In an order of 17 February 2000, issued at the prior request of the Bulgarian authorities, the Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the Russian Federation ordered the extradition of the applicant to Bulgaria.
On 9 March 2000 the applicant was transported to Bulgaria.
Subsequently, on 17 August 2007 the applicant sent a request to the Ukrainian and Russian prosecution authorities for criminal proceedings to be opened against the officials who had taken part in his arrest, detention, ill-treatment and extradition, and in the search of his house in Ukraine.
After his extradition to Bulgaria, the applicant was charged with aggravated murder of another Ukrainian citizen, committed in Bulgaria on 6 March 1996, and with unlawful possession of firearms; and was prohibited from leaving the territory of Bulgaria until the end of the criminal proceedings against him.
He was detained in custody allegedly in an isolation cell in the Sofia Investigation Service between 9 March 2000 and 11 January 2002.
On 11 January 2002 the applicant was transferred to the Sofia prison.
On 22 January 2002 a prosecutor from the Sofia city public prosecutor’s office ordered the separation of the two sets of proceedings against the applicant.
In February 2003 the applicant was presented with the indictment and was informed that the case had been brought to court.
In a judgment of 24 February 2006 the Sofia City Court found the applicant not guilty of murder and ordered his release from custody.
The applicant was released but his prohibition on leaving the country remained.
On an appeal by the prosecutor, in a judgment of 5 April 2007 the Sofia Court of Appeal upheld the previous court’s judgment. So did the Supreme Court of Cassation in a final judgment of 10 July 2007.
3. The criminal proceedings for unlawful possession of firearms
On an unspecified date after the separation of the two sets of criminal proceedings against the applicant his case for unlawful possession of firearms was brought to court.
Between 23 October 2002 and 2 June 2003 at least five hearings were held, one of which was adjourned as the experts’ opinion was not ready.
In a judgment of 2 June 2003 the Sofia District Court found the applicant guilty as charged and sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment.
The applicant appealed. Between 2 June 2003 and 26 January 2004 at least two hearings were held, one of which was adjourned as there was no translator present.
In a judgment of an unspecified date of 2004 the Sofia City Court upheld the previous court’s judgment.
The applicant appealed further. The number of hearings for the period from 2004 to 22 February 2006 is not clear.
In a judgment of 22 February 2006 the Supreme Court of Cassation quashed the previous court’s judgment for procedural breaches and lack of sufficient reasoning and remitted the case to the Sofia City Court.
Between 22 February 2006 and 29 May 2007 at least four hearings were held, two of which were adjourned, as some of the witnesses were not present.
Meanwhile, at the court hearing of 16 October 2006 the Sofia City Court noted a change in the panel which had initially started examining the case after the remittal, as a result of which the new panel started gathering the evidence again.
In a final judgment of 29 May 2007 the Sofia City Court upheld the first-instance judgment.
A. Complaints against Ukraine and Russia
B. Complaints against Bulgaria
A. Complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the two sets of criminal proceedings against the applicant
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the two sets of criminal proceedings against him.
The relevant part of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention provides:
“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of this part of the application to the respondent Government.
B. The remainder of the applicant’s complaints
The Court has examined the remainder of the applicant’s complaints as submitted by him. However, in the light of all the material in its possession, and in so far as the matters complained of are within its competence, the Court finds that they do not disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the Convention or its Protocols.
It follows that this part of the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded, pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicant’s complaints concerning the length of the two sets of criminal proceedings;
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen Registrar President