by Elena SCLIFOS
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 12 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 17 April 2008,
Having regard to the formal declaration accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Elena Sclifos, is a Moldovan national who was born in 1936 and lives in Chişinău. She was represented before the Court by Mr Ş. Uritu and A. Briceag, lawyers practising in Chişinău. The Moldovan Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr V. Grosu.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
In 1996 the Chişinău municipality decided to rent the applicant the cellar under her apartment for a five-year period. In 2000 the applicant asked for an extension of the rental agreement, but she received no response. The applicant continued to use the cellar.
In 2003 she again asked for an extension of the rental agreement, but was informed that in 2002 a company had bought the cellar from the municipality.
The applicant initiated court proceedings, challenging the municipality’s decisions. On 10 July 2005 her action was dismissed by the Centru District Court. That judgment was upheld by the Chişinău Court of Appeal on 9 August 2005. On 21 December 2005 the Supreme Court of Justice quashed the lower courts’ judgments and ordered a re-hearing of the case.
On 24 March 2006 the Chişinău Court of Appeal found that the applicant’s action had been lodged out of time. On 4 October 2006 the Supreme Court of Justice quashed that judgment and ordered a re-hearing of the case.
On 1 March 2007 the Chişinău Court of Appeal rejected the applicant’s claims as lodged out of time and ill-founded. On 30 May 2007 the Supreme Court of Justice partly quashed that judgment and annulled the municipality’s decisions and the contracts it had concluded with third parties concerning the disputed cellar. Since the company which had initially bought the cellar from the municipality had later sold it to third parties, the court ordered restitutio in integrum, whereby all the third parties involved were to return the sums of money they had received from each other in payment for the disputed property. Finally, the municipality was ordered to pay the applicant 500 Moldovan lei (MDL, the equivalent of approximately 30 euros (EUR) at the time) in compensation for non-pecuniary damage caused to her. The court also recognised the applicant’s priority right to rent the cellar from the municipality.
The applicant obtained an enforcement warrant, which was submitted to the Chişinău municipality on an unspecified date. On 22 February 2008 the applicant inquired about the reasons for the failure to enforce the judgment.
Having received no answer to this letter, on 4 April 2008 the applicant initiated new court proceedings, claiming compensation for the damage caused to her as a result of the failure to enforce the final judgment in her favour. The proceedings are pending before the Chişinău Court of Appeal.
On 18 March 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
The Parties to the present agreement:
Taking into account that application no. 22235/08 Sclifos v. Moldova is on the docket of the European Court of Human Rights, the applicant contending a violation of her rights guaranteed under Articles 3 (...), 6 § 1 (...) of the European Convention for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention and Article 14 in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention as a result of the failure to enforce the judgment of 30 May 2007 adopted by the Supreme Court of Justice;
Taking into account that on 9 October 2007 the Chişinău Municipality paid to Mrs Elena Sclifos 500 Moldovan lei which had been awarded to her by the judgment of 30 May 2007;
have agreed as follows:
1. The Government of the Republic of Moldova agrees to pay to Mrs Elena Sclifos EUR 1,465 (one thousand four hundred and sixty five euros) in compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage caused and EUR 500 (five hundred euros) for costs and expenses with a view to securing a friendly settlement agreement of the above-mentioned case. These amounts will be converted into Moldovan lei 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.
2. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.
3. The applicant declares that all her claims were satisfied and will withdraw her application no. 22235/08 Sclifos v. Moldova lodged with the European Court and communicated to the Government on 17 November 2008.
4. The applicant declares that she will not have any further claims of a pecuniary or non-pecuniary nature or for any other damage resulting from the circumstances of the present case.
5. The parties will inform the Court of the agreement reached.”
On 30 March 2009 the Court received the same declaration signed by the applicant’s representative, as well as a letter signed by the applicant confirming the agreement and asking the Court to strike the application out of its list of cases.
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