by Władysław KOZAK
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 26 May 2009 as a Chamber composed of:
Nebojša Vučinić, judges,
and Lawrence Early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 25 August 2008,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Władysław Kozak, is a Polish national who was born in 1953 and is currently detained in the Wołów prison. 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 parties, may be summarised as follows.
A. Criminal proceedings against the applicant
It appears that the Gliwice District Prosecutor (Prokurator Rejonowy) opened an investigation against the applicant on 9 July 2001.
On 31 December 2002 a bill of indictment was lodged with the Gliwice District Court (Sąd Rejonowy) against the applicant and one other person. The applicant has not informed the Court about the nature of the charges.
The first hearing listed for 22 April 2003 was adjourned.
Further hearings, which were to be held on 26 May, 23 June and 11 September 2003, were adjourned. Since a new judge rapporteur was assigned to the case, the next hearing was not scheduled until 19 December 2005.
In the meantime, on 24 December 2004 the applicant was released from prison after having served a sentence imposed on him in another set of criminal proceedings. However, the applicant failed to inform the court about his new address, his change of surname and his subsequent detention on 7 November 2005. Therefore it was impossible to serve the summons on him.
After the court had been informed about the applicant’s detention, several hearings were scheduled for 2008. Consequently, hearings were held on 14 April, 2 June, 18 August, 16 September and 20 October 2008.
The proceedings are still pending.
B. Proceedings under the 2004 Act
On 28 June 2008 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Gliwice Regional Court (Sąd Okręgowy) under section 5 of the Law of 17 June 2004 on complaints about a breach of the right to a trial within a reasonable time (Ustawa o skardze na naruszenie prawa strony do rozpoznania sprawy w postępowaniu sądowym bez nieuzasadnionej zwłoki) (“the 2004 Act”).
The applicant sought a ruling that the length of the proceedings before the Gliwice District Court had been excessive and an award of just satisfaction in the amount of 10,000 Polish zlotys (PLN).
On 6 August 2008 the Gliwice Regional Court gave a decision in which it acknowledged the excessive length of the proceedings before the Gliwice District Court, but held that the period of inactivity of the court had occurred mainly before the date of entry into force of the Act on 17September 2004. It stressed that the applicant had been responsible for the subsequent delays in the proceedings and dismissed his claim for compensation.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the excessive length of the criminal proceedings.
On 6 April 2009 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Jakub Wołąsiewicz, Agent of the Government, declare that the Government of Poland offer to pay PLN 15,000 (fifteen thousand Polish zlotys) to Mr Władysław Kozak 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 pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable and 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 2 March 2009 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Władysław Kozak, note that the Government of Poland are prepared to pay me the sum of PLN 15,000 (fifteen thousand Polish zlotys) 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 pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be free of any taxes that may be applicable and 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 Poland 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.
Lawrence Early Nicolas Bratza