by Martin THIRSTEIN
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 24 March 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Ireneu Cabral Barreto,
Işıl Karakaş, judges,
and Sally Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 10 April 2006,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Martin Thirstein, is a Swiss national who was born in 1947 and lives in Smederevska Palanka. He was represented before the Court by Mr P. Savić, a lawyer practising in Belgrade. The Serbian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr S. Carić.
The application concerns a property-related case, which the applicant brought before the Municipal Court (Opštinski sud) in Smederevska Palanka on 12 October 2000. Following two remittals, this case is still pending at first instance. The last hearing was held on 4 November 2008.
Under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the applicant complained about the excessive length of his civil suit.
On 6 October 2008 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I declare that the Government of Serbia offer to pay ex gratia 2,600 euros to Mr Martin Thirstein 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 non-pecuniary damage, suffered as a result of domestic procedural delay, as well as the costs and expenses, will be converted into the national currency at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and 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 pending before the European Court of Human Rights. The applicant’s domestic claims shall be considered by the Serbian courts separately and are not affected by this declaration.”
On 23 October 2008 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant’s lawyer:
“I note that the Government of Serbia are prepared to pay ex gratia the sum of 2,600 euros to Mr Martin Thirstein with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights ... I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Serbia in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes the final resolution of ... [the applicant’s] ... case pending before the European Court of Human Rights. The ... [the applicant’s] ... domestic claims shall be considered by the Serbian courts separately and are not affected by this declaration.”
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 public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). Nevertheless, in the particular circumstances of the case, the Court considers that the State should still ensure that all the necessary steps are taken to allow the proceedings to be concluded as speedily as possible, taking into account the requirements of the proper administration of justice.
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.
Sally Dollé Françoise