(Application no. 42868/06)
9 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 Marzec v. Poland,
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 19 May 2009,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
III. RELEVANT COUNCIL OF EUROPE DOCUMENTS
A. The Committee of Ministers
B. The Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 5 § 3 OF THE CONVENTION
“Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 (c) of this Article shall be ... entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.”
1. Period to be taken into consideration
As from that date he was detained “after conviction by a competent court”, within the meaning of Article 5 § 1 (a) and, consequently, that period of his detention falls outside the scope of Article 5 § 3 (cf. Kudła v. Poland [GC], no. 30210/96, § 104, ECHR 2000 XI).
Accordingly, the period to be taken into consideration amounts to four years, four months and twenty-eight days.
2. The parties' submissions
(a) The applicant
(b) The Government
3. The Court's assessment
(a) General principles
(b) Application of the above principles in the present case
In the Court's view, the fact that the case concerned a member of a such criminal group should be taken into account in assessing compliance with Article 5 § 3 (see Bąk v. Poland, no. 7870/04, § 57, 16 January 2007).
There has accordingly been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention.
II. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 46 OF THE CONVENTION
“1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties.
2. The final judgment of the Court shall be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers, which shall supervise its execution.”
“60. The Court thus concludes, as the Committee of Ministers did, that for many years, at least as recently as in 2007, numerous cases have demonstrated that the excessive length of pre-trial detention in Poland reveals a structural problem consisting of “a practice that is incompatible with the Convention” (see mutatis mutandis Broniowski v. Poland [GC], no. 31443/96, §§ 190-191, ECHR 2004-V; Scordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813.
III. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
The Court considers that the applicant's complaint is that the length of criminal proceedings is incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement provided in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. The proceedings in question are currently pending before the Katowice Regional Court (see paragraph 19 above).
With respect to the requirement of exhaustion of domestic remedies, the Court notes that the applicant did not avail himself of the remedy provided for by the Law of 17 June 2004 on complaints about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time.
Accordingly, this part of the application must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.
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.”
B. Costs and expenses
C. Default interest
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 5 § 3 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, EUR 2,000 (two thousand euros) in respect of non-pecuniary damage, plus any tax that may be chargeable, together with EUR 100 (one hundred euros), plus any tax that may be chargeable, to be converted into the 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 9 June 2009, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza