by Vasil Serafimov and Rayna Georgieva DIMITROVI
The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 3 February 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 2 September 1999,
Having regard to the correspondence with the parties,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Mr Vasil Serafimov Dimitrov and Mrs Rayna Georgieva Dimitrova, are Bulgarian nationals who were born in 1916 and 1914 respectively and live in Sofia. The Bulgarian Government (“the Government”) are represented by their Agent, Mrs M. Dimova of the Ministry of Justice.
Judge Kalaydjieva, the judge elected in respect of Bulgaria, withdrew from sitting in the case (Rule 28 of the Rules of Court). On 1 October 2008, the Government, pursuant to Rule 29 § 1 (a), informed the Court that they had appointed in her stead another elected judge, namely Judge Lazarova Trajkovska.
The applicants complained, relying on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention and Articles 13, 14 and 17, that they had been arbitrarily deprived of the property of an apartment they had bought from the State in 1966. The complaint is of the type examined by the Court in its Velikovi and Others v. Bulgaria judgment (nos. 43278/98, 45437/99, 48014/99, 48380/99, 51362/99, 53367/99, 60036/00, 73465/01 and 194/02, 15 March 2007).
On 18 September 2007 the Court sent a letter to the applicants informing them that notice of the application had been given to the Government of Bulgaria.
By letter dated 15 February 2008 the Government’s observations were sent to the applicants, who were invited to submit, by 11 April 2008, any observations in reply together with any claims for just satisfaction.
By letter dated 3 September 2008, sent by registered post, the applicants were notified that the period allowed for submission of their observations had expired and were requested to indicate whether they wished to maintain the application. Their 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. The letter was returned with a note that it had not been claimed.
On 9 October 2008, by registered post, the Court forwarded the letter of 3 September 2008 to the lawyer who had represented the applicants in the initial stage of the proceedings and requested him to indicate, by 14 November 2008, whether the applicants wished to maintain the application. This letter was received by the lawyer on 13 October 2008. It remained without reply.
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.
Claudia Westerdiek Peer Lorenzen