(Application no. 45081/04)
27 October 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 Stepanyan v. Armenia,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Boštjan M. Zupančič,
Luis López Guerra, judges,
and Stanley Naismith, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 6 October 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
1. The applicant's alleged harassment and political persecution
2. The administrative proceedings against the applicant
“On 20 May at 1 p.m. [we] were in the yard of building no. 26 on Kharazyan Street in Artashat where the resident of flat no. 55 of the same building, [the applicant], was speaking loudly with an unknown man. We approached and demanded [the applicant] to lower his voice and not to violate public order. Having heard this, [the applicant] turned from the unknown man towards us and spoke to us in the same manner, saying that it was not our business to judge how he was speaking and then he said that we should stop poking our noses into everything and pestering. We tried to calm him down but he continued insulting us and using insulting language. This lasted about five minutes, after which he was brought to the police station.”
“On 20 May 2004 at around 1.15 p.m. next to building no. 26 on Kharazyan Street in Artashat the resident of the same building, [the applicant], was speaking loudly and making a loud noise with an unknown person, disturbing public order[. In this connection the police officers of the Ararat Police Department] tried to call him to order but [the applicant] continued to make a loud noise and to use foul language, not obeying the lawful orders of [the police officers].
[The applicant] refused to give explanations at the court hearing.
Police officers of the Ararat Police Department [N.S. and G.N.] stated that indeed on 20 May 2004 at around 1.15 p.m. next to building no. 26 on Kharazyan Street the resident of the same building, [the applicant], while being called to order, used foul language, telling them: “stop poking your noses into everything and pestering”, and [using] other disrespectful words, and disobeyed their lawful orders.
The court finds that [the applicant] has violated public order and disobeyed the lawful orders of [the police officers] so he should be subjected to an administrative penalty.”
“[The applicant] was subjected to eight days of administrative detention under Article 182 of the CAO by the decision of the Ararat Regional Court of 20 May 2004 for having made loud noise, violated public order and maliciously disobeyed the lawful orders of the police officers who tried to prevent those acts, next to building no. 26 on Kharazyan Street in Artashat on 20 May 2004 at around 1 p.m. ...
By applying to the Criminal and Military Court of Appeal [the applicant] seeks to have [the above decision] quashed and the proceedings terminated in view of the fact that he has not committed an administrative offence.
Having acquainted myself with the appeal and the materials of the administrative case (the reports [and] the records), I find that the appeal must be dismissed because [the applicant] did commit the acts in question on 20 May 2004, in connection with which he had been brought to the police station, an appropriate record had been drawn up and an administrative penalty under Article 182 of the CAO had been imposed by the first instance court.”
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
Article 182: Maliciously disobeying a lawful order or demand of a police officer or a member of the voluntary police
“Maliciously disobeying a lawful order or demand of a police officer or a member of the voluntary police made in the performance of his duties of preserving public order leads to an imposition of a fine of between 50% and double the fixed minimum wage, or of correctional labour between one and two months with deduction of 20% of earnings or, in cases where, in the circumstances of the case, taking into account the offender's personality, the application of these measures would be deemed insufficient, of administrative detention not exceeding 15 days.”
I. COMPLIANCE WITH THE SIX-MONTH RULE AS REGARDS THE DECISION OF 20 MAY 2004
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONVENTION AS REGARDS THE DECISION OF 8 JUNE 2004
“In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
1. Applicability of Article 6
2. Substantive issues
(a) The right to a reasoned judgment
(b) The right of access to court
(c) The right to an oral hearing
III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
IV. 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 is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts:
(i) EUR 1,200 (one thousand two hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(ii) EUR 1,000 (one thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicant, in respect of costs and expenses, to be converted into pounds sterling at the rate applicable at the date of settlement and to be paid into his representatives' bank account in the United Kingdom;
(b) 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 27 October 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Stanley Naismith Josep Casadevall
Deputy Registrar President