by Duško and Stana SIMONOVSKI
against the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 13 October 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 19 December 2005,
Having regard to the declaration submitted by the respondent Government on 3 March 2009 requesting the Court to strike the length complaint out of the list of cases and applicants’ reply to that declaration,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Mr Duško Simonovski and Mrs Stana Simonovska, are Macedonian nationals who were born in 1936 and 1944 respectively and live in Skopje. They are represented before the Court by Mr R. Stanojkovski, a lawyer practising in Skopje. The Macedonian Government (“the Government”) are represented by their Agent, are represented by their Agent, Mrs R. Lazareska Gerovska. The case mainly concerns the length of civil proceedings in which the applicants lodged a claim for unlawful enrichment against a third party. The proceedings started on 27 June 1994 and ended on 17 November 2006 when the Supreme Court’s decision of 4 October 2006 was served on the applicants.
The applicants complained under Article 6 of the Convention that their case had not been heard within a reasonable time. They further alleged under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the Convention that they had been deprived of their property.
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
By letter dated 3 March 2009, the Government informed the Court that they proposed to make a unilateral declaration with a view to resolving the issue raised by this part of the application. They further requested the Court to strike out the application in accordance with Article 37 of the Convention.
The declaration provided, inter alia, as follows:
“... the Government would hereby like to express – by a way of unilateral declaration – its acknowledgement that in the special circumstances of the present case, the length of the domestic proceedings did not fulfil the requirement of ”reasonable time” referred to in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. Consequently, the Government is prepared to pay to the two applicants the global sum of 2,100 euros (two thousand and one hundred euros). In its view, this amount would constitute adequate redress and sufficient compensation for the impugned length of the said proceedings, and thus a reasonable sum as to quantum in the present case in the light of the Court’s case law. This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as the costs and expenses and will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. This sum will be payable to an account named by the applicants within three months from the date of the notification of the decision pursuant to Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention ... In the light of the above and in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention the Government would like to suggest that the circumstances of the present case allow the Court to reach the conclusion that for “any other reason” it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application. Moreover, there are no reasons of a general character, as defined in Article 37 § 1 in fine, which would require the further examination of the case by virtue of that provision. Therefore, the Government invites the Court to strike the application out of its list of cases”
In a letter received by the Court on 30 April 2009 the applicants stated that the sum mentioned in the Government’s declaration was unacceptably low.
Having regard to the Court’s practice in this field (see Petkovski v. the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, no. 27314/04, 13 November 2008 and Ajvazi v. the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, no. 30956/05, 13 November 2008) and to the nature of the admissions contained in the Government’s declaration, as well as the amount of compensation proposed, which is compatible with the amounts awarded in similar cases, the Court considers that it is no longer justified to continue the examination of the application (Article 37 § 1(c)).
Moreover, in light of the above considerations, and in particular given the clear and extensive case-law on the topic, the Court is satisfied that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto does not require it to continue the examination of this part of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine). Accordingly, it should be struck out of the list.
The Court has examined the remainder of the complaints as submitted by the applicants. However, having regard to all the material in its possession, and in so far as the matters complained of are within its competence, the Court finds that the applicants have failed to substantiate their complaints. It follows that this part of the application must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Takes note of the terms of the respondent Government’s declaration in respect of the length-of-proceedings complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases in so far as it relates to the above complaint in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention;
Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen