by Anđelka KUKOLJ
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 24 September 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Sverre Erik Jebens, judges,
and André Wampach, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 26 March 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Anđelka Kukolj, is a Croatian national who was born in 1941 and lives in Vrbnik. She was represented before the Court by Mr I. Škarpa, a lawyer practising in Split. The Croatian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs Š. StaZnik.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant is the owner of a house in Knin, measuring eighty-six square metres. During the war in Croatia, in August 1995 she left Knin. By virtue of the 1995 Temporary Takeover and Managing of Certain Property Act a certain V.B. was authorised to occupy the applicant’s house temporarily.
On 19 November 1998 the applicant applied for the repossession of her house with the competent administrative authorities. The house was returned to the applicant on 23 April 2003.
On 21 May 2003 date the applicant brought a civil action in the Knin Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Kninu) against the State seeking compensation for the inability to use her property in the period from 19 November 1998 to 23 April 2003.
On 28 September 2004 the Municipal Court gave judgment dismissing the applicant’s claim since a settlement signed on 17 November 2003 between the applicant and the State stipulated that the applicant be paid compensation for the use of her house in the period from 1 November 2002 to 23 April 2003. The judgment was upheld on 29 November 2004 by the Šibenik County Court (Zupanijski sud u Šibeniku) and on 20 November 2007 by the Constitutional Court (Ustavni sud Republike Hrvatske).
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the outcome of the civil proceedings at issue.
She further complained that her property rights were violated because the national courts had awarded her lower than the market-value compensation for the occupation of her house in the period form 1 November to 17 December 2002 and no compensation at all for the period form 9 September 1998 until 1 November 2002.
On 14 April 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I note that the Government of Croatia are prepared to pay ex gratia the sum of 6,000 euros to Anđelka Kukolj with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into the national currency at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. From the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.
Having consulted my client, I would inform you that she accepts the proposal and waives any further claims against Croatia in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. She declares that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
On 25 August 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Croatia offer to pay ex gratia 6,000 euros to Anđelka Kukolj with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into the national currency at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.”
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). 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.
André Wampach Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President