(Application no. 32211/02)
2 June 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 Enyedi v. Romania,
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Ann Power, judges,
and Santiago Quesada, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 12 May 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
applicant died on 16 March 2006. However, his widow, Ms Elena Enyedi
(Enyedy), his son, Mr Sándor Enyedi (Enyedy) and his daughter,
Ms Katalin-Erzsébet Csibi, expressed their wish to pursue the application. For practical reasons Mr Vasile Enyedi (Enyedy) will continue to be called “the applicant” in this judgment, although Ms Elena Enyedi (Enyedy),
Mr Sándor Enyedi (Enyedy) and Ms Katalin-Erzsébet Csibi are now to be regarded as such (Dalban v. Romania [GC], no. 28114/95, § 1,
ECHR 1999 VI).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
A. Recovery of property
As for Apartment 2, the court considered that the applicant's uncle had made the purchase in good faith, trusting the content of the Land Register. However, it held that the applicant expressly requested only restitution in kind, not alternative compensation, hence the first-instance court was at fault when it awarded compensation for Apartment 2.
With reference to Apartment 1, the court considered impossible to rectify the situation in the Land Register by establishing a right of property for the applicant's mother over that apartment, as the applicant had failed to bring to trial his father's sister, who owned a portion of it.
B. First administrative action
C. Second administrative action
An appeal by the applicant's wife, claiming restitution in kind of the plot of 250 sq. m inherited by the heirs of the buyers of Apartment 2, was subsequently dismissed and that judgment became final.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
I. SCOPE OF THE APPLICATION
After the Cluj Court of Appeal gave its final decision of 10 October 2005 by which, inter alia, granted the applicant compensation for the amount paid by his father for Apartment 1, the applicant claimed before the Court, in a letter of 29 November 2005, restitution in kind of the whole property situated in Zalău, Andrei Şaguna no. 20.
Following the communication of the present application to the Government, the representative of the applicant's heirs alleged in a letter of 16 July 2007 that the successors had not been authorised to take possession of the property. He also submitted that, in the event he was authorised by the courts to take possession of the two plots of 82 sq. m and 93 sq. m of appurtenant land (see paragraphs 21 and 22 above), he would claim from the respondent Government only compensation for Apartment 2 and for the land under that apartment, as well as for the plot of 250 sq. m of appurtenant land which had been allocated to a third party for construction.
On 27 November 2008, in reply to a plea of no victim status raised by the Government (see below), the representative of the applicant's heirs maintained that they had not received any compensation for the property.
Therefore it considers the property made up of the house divided into two apartments and the appurtenant land of 1,867 sq. m as being covered by the present application. However, the applicant has the opportunity to lodge a new application in respect of a possible complaint related to the amount awarded as compensation for Apartment 1.
II. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF 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.”
There has accordingly been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
III. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
Moreover, the Court has already found that, although it is not in a position to analyse the juridical quality of the case-law of the domestic courts, since the remittal of cases for re-examination is usually ordered as a result of errors committed by lower courts, the repetition of such orders within one set of proceedings discloses a serious deficiency in the judicial system. This deficiency is imputable to the authorities and not the applicants (see Wierciszewska v. Poland, no. 41431/98, § 46, 25 November 2003, and Matica v. Romania, no. 19567/02, § 24, 2 November 2006).
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
IV. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
“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.”
In their observations of 27 November 2008 the applicant's successors claimed EUR 50,000 in respect of pecuniary damage, representing the value of the “construction” situated in Zalău, Andrei Şaguna no. 20.
In his application form, the applicant claimed EUR 7,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
In those circumstances, the Court considers that the applicant's successors have failed to comply with their obligations under Rule 60. As no valid claim for just satisfaction in respect of non-pecuniary damage has been submitted, the Court considers that no award should be made in this connection.
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
(a) that the respondent State is to pay jointly to the applicant's successors, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 30,000 (thirty thousand euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of pecuniary damage, to be converted into the national currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement;
(b) that 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;
Done in English, and notified in writing on 2 June 2009, pursuant to
Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Santiago Quesada Josep