by Janne Henrik MANNINEN
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 5 May 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar.
Having regard to the above application lodged on 3 September 2007,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Janne Henrik Manninen, is a Finnish national who was born in 1968 and lives in Tampere. He was represented before the Court by Mr Jaakko Tuutti, a lawyer practising in Tampere. The Finnish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr Arto Kosonen of Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 9 May 2001 the applicant was physically assaulted in a bar. He reported the incident to the police immediately and received medical treatment for his injuries on the same day. The police investigated the matter until 14 March 2002 but the perpetrator was never identified.
On 20 August 2002 the applicant lodged an application for compensation with the State Treasury (Valtiokonttori, Statskontoret), asking to be reimbursed on the basis of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act (rikosvahinkolaki, brottsskadelagen, Act no. 935/73). The medical records indicating his injuries and the police report were attached to his application.
On 9 December 2005 the State Treasury rejected the applicant’s application. It found that the applicant’s injuries might have been caused by a physical assault but could also have been caused in some other manner. As there were no witnesses to the incident, it was not shown that the injuries had been caused by a physical assault.
On 16 December 2005 the applicant appealed to the Insurance Court (vakuutusoikeus, försäkringsdomstolen), reiterating his claims and requesting that an oral hearing be held. He named three witnesses to be heard, the doctor who had examined him as well as the police officers who had been called to the crime scene.
On 16 March 2007 the Insurance Court rejected the request for an oral hearing and, as for the merits, upheld the decision of the State Treasury. The court found that an oral hearing would not have added anything new to the case-file as far as the medical evidence was concerned, given that the medical records gave a sufficiently clear and reliable picture of the applicant’s injuries. Since the incident had taken place more than five years earlier, the doctor in question would also have been obliged to rely on the medical records. The same was true for the police officers. Moreover, the police officers had not witnessed the incident themselves. As to the merits, the court found that the applicant’s injuries could have been caused by a physical assault or, just as likely, an accident. The fact that the applicant was heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident not only made his account of the facts less reliable but also made it more likely that his injuries had been caused by an accident. There was thus not enough evidence to show that the applicant’s injuries were a result of an assault.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the total length of his compensation proceedings had been incompatible with the reasonable time requirement.
Moreover, he complained under the same Article that he had not had a fair trial as the Insurance Court had rejected his request for an oral hearing.
On 29 January 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Mr Arto Kosonen, Agent of the Government of Finland, declare that the Government of Finland offer to pay ex gratia EUR 3,300 (three thousand three hundred euros) to Mr Janne Henrik Manninen 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 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.”
On 4 February 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Mr Janne Henrik Manninen, the applicant in the above-mentioned case, note that the Government of Finland are prepared to pay me ex gratia the sum of EUR 3,300 (three thousand three hundred euros) 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 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 Finland in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a 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.
Fatoş Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President