by Jan URBANIEC
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 5 May 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
David Thór Björgvinsson,
Mihai Poalelungi, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 15 January 2004,
Having regard to the decision to grant priority to the above application under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Jan Urbaniec, is a Polish national who was born in 1923 and lives in Sosnowiec. 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 applicant, may be summarised as follows.
On 12 March 1941 the applicant was deported to Austria (then the Third German Reich) where he performed forced labour on different farms until 20 September 1944. On 21 September 1944 the German police transported him to a labour camp located in Schattensdorf. He was interned there and performed forced labour until 8 May 1945.
On an unspecified date the applicant applied to the Polish-German Reconciliation Foundation (“the Foundation”) for compensation on account of his forced labour during the war. On 6 September 2001 the Foundation’s Verification Commission apparently found that the applicant was eligible for compensation, his persecution falling under the 4th category which included persons who had been deported and subjected to forced labour in agriculture. It consequently awarded him a certain amount in compensation.
On 24 December 2001 the applicant appealed against that decision. He contested the fact that the Verification Commission had not taken into account his internment and forced labour in the Schattensdorf labour camp.
On 3 February 2003 the Appeal Verification Commission altered the Verification Commission’s decision and held that the applicant’s persecution had fallen under the higher, 3rd category of eligibility which had included persons who had been deported and subjected to forced labour in industry. The applicant accordingly was granted a higher amount of compensation.
The applicant filed a further appeal against the Appeal Verification Commission’s decision. He argued that the conditions of his internment in the labour camp had been similar to those prevailing in the concentration camp.
On 7 October 2003 the Appeal Verification Commission upheld its previous decision. It informed the applicant that his request to consider his internment in the labour camp as falling under the 1st category of eligibility could not be granted. It underlined that according to the applicable regulations persons falling under that category were only the detainees of concentration camps, penal camps or other comparable camps. In addition, such camp had had to be placed on the list of concentration camps as defined in the Federal Indemnification Act or on the list of “other persecution camps” which had been accepted by the German Foundation’s Board. However, that had not been the case with the applicant’s camp.
By letter dated 1 July 2008 the applicant was informed that the Government had not submitted their observations and was requested to submit any observations together with any claims for just satisfaction in reply by 22 July 2008.
By letter dated 28 October 2008, sent by registered post, the applicant was notified that the period allowed for submission of his observations had expired on 22 July 2008 and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention, which provides that the Court may strike a case out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that the applicant did not intend to pursue the application. The advice of receipt was returned to the Court indicating that the letter had been collected on 3 November 2008. However, no response has been received. A similar letter was sent to the applicant by registered post on 13 February 2009. However, it was returned to the Court since it had not been collected.
The Court considers that, in these circumstances, the applicant may be regarded as no longer wishing to pursue his application, within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention. Furthermore, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 in fine, the Court finds no special circumstances regarding respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require the continued examination of the case. 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.
Aracı Nicolas Bratza
Deputy Registrar President