(Application no. 5950/04)
30 April 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 Blinov and Blinova v. Russia,
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Sverre Erik Jebens,
George Nicolaou, judges,
and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 7 April 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
“[P]rovide [the applicants] with a decent dwelling for a family of four, offering 12 m² per person and having an extra surface of 40 m² with regard to two family members' right to extra surface: either 20 m² per person or a separate room per person.”
This judgment became binding on 8 September 2003, but was not enforced immediately.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 ON ACCOUNT OF SUPERVISORY REVIEW
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 ON ACCOUNT OF NON-ENFORCEMENT
The applicants had failed to exhaust domestic remedies, as required by Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, because they had not brought proceedings against the authorities responsible for the enforcement.
The complaint was manifestly ill-founded. The bailiffs had not idled: they had several times asked the council whether it had available ats, they had twice asked the court to change the mode of enforcement, and had attached the council's assets. The courts had caused no delays either. Besides, the nature of the award, the distribution of a property, required extra effort and time. The delay had been partly due to the council's reluctance to assume the expense of the federal budget. By contrast, the applicants had delayed the enforcement by engaging in friendly-settlement negotiations, advancing new claims, and appealing to courts.
22. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
24. Given the above finding that the supervisory review of the judgment was incompatible with the Convention, the Court considers that the period of enforcement should be extended beyond the date of the supervisory review (see Sukhobokov v. Russia, no. 75470/01, §§ 25–26, 13 April 2006). Accordingly, to date the enforcement of the judgment has lasted over four years and nine months.
25. This period is prima facie incompatible with the requirements of the Convention. The Court accepts, to the Government's advantage, that the authorities did look for ways to enforce the judgment, and that the in-kind nature of the award complicated the enforcement. Nevertheless, the fact remains that the applicants were prevented from enjoying the award for a considerable time.
III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
30. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“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
35. The applicants also claimed RUB 214,000 for the costs and expenses incurred before the domestic courts and the Court.
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Declares the complaints concerning non-enforcement and supervisory review admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of supervisory review;
3. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 on account of non-enforcement;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants jointly, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes ﬁnal according to Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts, to be converted into Russian roubles at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:
(i) EUR 4,000 (four thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(ii) EUR 500 (ﬁve hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants, in respect of costs and expenses;
(b) that from the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amounts at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points;
5. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants' claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notiﬁed in writing on 30 April 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Søren Nielsen Christos