by Sahib MAMMADOV and Rauf BEYLEROV
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 7 July 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Sverre Erik Jebens,
Giorgio Malinverni, judges,
and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 3 May 2007,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Mr Sahib Mammadov and Mr Rauf Beylerov, are Azerbaijani nationals who were born in 1954 and 1958 respectively and live in Baku and in Khirdalan respectively. They were represented before the Court by Mr Y. Suleymanov, a lawyer practising in Baku. The Azerbaijani Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr C. Asgarov.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicants are former officers of the Azerbaijani army who were discharged from military service for medical reasons in 1995.
After their discharge from military service, the applicants applied to the Ministry of Defence asking for monetary compensation for various commodities (items necessary for servicemen’s personal use) purchased by them personally during their military service. They claimed that, pursuant to Article 10 of the Law on Servicemen’s Status, they were entitled to monetary compensation for the cost of such commodities purchased with their personal money during their military service and that the Ministry of Defence had an obligation to reimburse their expenses in this regard. According to the applicants, despite their numerous demands, the Ministry of Defence refused to reimburse them.
On an unspecified date in 2000, the applicants brought separate actions against the Ministry of Defence asking for monetary compensation. By judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 the Sabayil District Court upheld the applicants’ claims. The court ordered the Ministry of Defence to pay the first applicant 1,240,354 Azerbaijani manats (AZM) and the second applicant AZM 2,048,868. No appeals were filed against the judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 and, in accordance with domestic law, they became enforceable one month after their delivery.
Following the applicants’ numerous demands for execution, by a letter of 28 July 2006 the Ministry of Defence informed the applicants that the judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 could not be enforced, because of the Ministry of Finance’s failure to allocate funds for this type of spending in the Ministry of Defence’s annual budget.
After receipt of the aforementioned letter, the applicants brought an action against the Ministry of Defence and the Sabayil District Department of Enforcement Officers asking the court to compel the competent authorities to execute the judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 and to institute criminal proceedings in connection with their non execution. On 14 September 2006 the Sabayil District Court dismissed the applicants’ claim. The court noted that the non-execution of the judgments was due only to the inactivity of the Ministry of Finance, which was not among the authorities indicated as defendants by the applicants.
The applicants appealed against the Sabayil District Court’s judgment of 14 September 2006 claiming misinterpretation of the domestic law. On 27 December 2006 the Court of Appeal delivered a new judgment on the merits quashing partially the first-instance court’s judgment. The Court of Appeal noted that the judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 were still in force and ordered the Sabayil District Department of Enforcement Officers to enforce them.
The judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 were finally executed by the Ministry of Defence on 11 July 2008 and 20 June 2008 respectively, and the applicants obtained the respective amounts awarded under those judgments.
The applicants complained under Article 6 of the Convention about the continued non-enforcement of the judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001.
They also complained under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention about a violation of their right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions as a result of non-enforcement of the judgments.
The Court notes that on 27 February 2009 the applicants sent a letter informing the Court of their wish to withdraw the application due to the fact that the judgments of 14 September 2000 and 20 February 2001 had been executed by the Ministry of Defence.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicants may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue their application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. In view of the above, it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Søren Nielsen Nina Vajić