(Application no. 37976/06)
3 March 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 Hilgartner v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nicolas Bratza, President,
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 10 February 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant was released on 23 December 2008.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
III. RELEVANT COUNCIL OF EUROPE DOCUMENTS
A. The Committee of Ministers
B. The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be ... entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”
As from that date he was detained “after conviction by a competent court”, within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (a) and, consequently, that period of his detention falls outside the scope of Article 5 § 3 (cf. Kudła, cited above, § 104).
Accordingly, the period to be taken into consideration amounts to four years, six months and eight days.
1. General principles
2. Application of the above principles in the present case
In the Court's view, the fact that the case concerned a member of a such criminal group should be taken into account in assessing compliance with Article 5 § 3 (see Bąk v. Poland, no. 7870/04, § 57, 16 January 2007).
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 8 OF THE CONVENTION
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 2 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 TO THE CONVENTION
It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 46 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.
2. The final judgment of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, which shall supervise its execution.”
It concluded, as the Committee of Ministers had already done, that the excessive length of pre-trial detention in Poland revealed a structural problem consisting of “a practice that is incompatible with the Convention” (see Kauczor, cited above, § 60; and mutatis mutandis Broniowski v. Poland [GC], no. 31443/96, §§ 190 191, ECHR 2004 V; Scordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813/97, §§ 229-231, ECHR 2006 ...; Bottazzi v. Italy [GC], no. 34884/97, § 22, ECHR 1999 V with respect to the Italian length of proceedings cases).
V. 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, EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that 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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 3 March 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President