by Włodzimierz MATUSIAK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 17 March 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 25 March 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Włodzimierz Matusiak, is a Polish national who was born in 1975 and lives in Płock. The Polish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr J. Wołąsiewicz of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
1. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
On 30 November 2001 a bill of indictment against the applicant was lodged with the Zgierz District Court. The applicant was charged with two counts of robbery and battery. On 30 August 2005 the Zgierz District Court convicted the applicant and sentenced him to 3 years and 6 months’ imprisonment. On 22 May 2006 the Łódź Regional Court quashed the first-instance judgment in respect of one of the charges and upheld the remainder of the judgment. Subsequently, the Zgierz District Court held hearings on 28 August, 30 October and 2 November 2006, 11 January, 13 March, 16 May and 10 December 2007 and 19 February 2008. The proceedings were pending before the Zgierz District Court.
2. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
In January 2008 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Łódź Regional Court under the Act of 17 June 2004 on complaints about breaches of the right to a trial within a reasonable time (“the 2004 Act”). He also claimed just satisfaction in the amount of 10,000 Polish zlotys (PLN– approximately 2,630 euros (EUR) at that time).
On 17 March 2008 the Łódź Regional Court acknowledged that the impugned proceedings had been excessively lengthy and an “unreasonable delay” had occurred between 12 June 2006 and 19 February 2008. The Regional Court refused to examine the applicant’s complaint in respect of undue delay in the proceedings which occurred prior to the date of entry into force of the Act on 17 September 2004. The Regional Court refused to award the applicant any just satisfaction, holding that “the excessive length of the proceedings, although evident, had not been of such significance as to entitle the applicant to an award of just satisfaction.”
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention of a violation of his right to have his case heard within a reasonable time.
The applicant complained under Article 13 of the Convention that the 2004 Act was not an effective remedy against the excessive length of proceedings.
On 19 January 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Włodzimierz Matusiak, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of 13,900 (thirteen thousand nine hundred) zlotys with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 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.
I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Poland in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”
On 13 February 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay 13,900 (thirteen thousand nine hundred) zlotys to Mr Włodzimierz Matusiak with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.”
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). 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.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza