by Stefanka Toncheva KODZHABASHEVA
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 6 October 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska,
Zdravka Kalaydjieva, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 18 February 2004,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mrs Stefanka Toncheva Kodzhabasheva, is a Bulgarian national who was born in 1938 and lives in Plovdiv. She was represented before the Court by Mrs S.H. Stefanova and Mr M. Ekimdzhiev, lawyers practising in Plovdiv. The Bulgarian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agents, Ms N. Nikolova and Ms S. Atanasova, of the Ministry of Justice.
The applicant complained under Articles 6 § 1 and 13 of the Convention of the excessive length of a partition-of-property proceedings and the lack of effective remedy in the respect, and also under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that during the alleged protraction she had been deprived of the possibility to use her property. The Government contested the applicant’s assertions.
On 20 June 2008 the Court gave notice of the application to the Government and proposed to the parties to settle the case by concluding a friendly settlement agreement. The applicant’s representatives failed to respond to the friendly settlement proposal.
On 31 October 2008 the Government submitted their observations and on 3 November 2008 informed the Court that they were interested in concluding a friendly settlement agreement.
On 20 November 2008 the Court reiterated its proposal to the parties to settle the case by concluding a friendly settlement agreement, to which the applicant’s representatives once again failed to respond.
By letter of 22 January 2009, sent by registered post to the applicant’s representatives, the Court noted, inter alia, that the period allowed for submission of the applicant’s observations had expired and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s representatives’ attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, which provides that the Court may strike a case out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the applicant does not intend to pursue the application.
In a letter of 26 January 2009 the applicant’s representatives informed the Court that their client had refused to discuss with them any and all aspects of her application, including such related to the friendly settlement proposal and the claims for just satisfaction, from which they concluded that she had lost interest in being represented by them.
By letter dated 24 February 2009, sent by registered post to the applicant’s address, the Court noted that she had failed to indicate her position on the friendly settlement proposal within the prescribed deadline and, furthermore, that the period allowed for submission of her observations in reply to those of the Government had expired and that no extension of time had been requested. Her attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, which provides that the Court may strike a case out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the applicant does not intend to pursue the application. It is unclear when the letter was received and there was no reply to it.
In a further letter of 19 May 2009, sent by registered post to the applicant’s address, the Court reiterated the information in its letter of 24 February 2009 and warned the applicant that if she did not reply then it might conclude that she was no longer interested in pursuing the application and decide to strike it out of its list of cases. The letter was received by the applicant on 27 May 2009 but she never replied and there has not been any further correspondence in the case.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicant may be regarded as having lost interest in the case and no longer wishing to pursue her 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.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen