59130/16, GVOZDIĆ v. SERBIA - Decyzja Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka
Decyzja Europejskiego Trybunału Praw Człowieka z dnia 14 maja 2019 r. 59130/16
Application no. 59130/16
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 14 May 2019 as a Committee composed of:
Georgios A. Serghides, President,
Erik Wennerström, judges,
and Fatoş Aracı, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 26 September 2016,
Having regard to the observations submitted by the parties,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
1. The applicant, Mr Gligorije Gvozdić, was a Serbian national, who had been born in 1936 and lived in Zvečan.
2. On 13 April and 7 September 2018 the applicant's wife, Ms Ružica Gvozdić, informed the Court that the applicant had deceased during the course of the proceedings and expressed intention as his heir to pursue the application before the Court. In this regard, she provided the Court with a final decision of 15 May 2017 by which she was declared to be the applicant's sole legal heir.
3. The Serbian Government ("the Government") were represented by their Agent, Ms N. Plavšić.
4. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
5. On 9 May 1996 the applicant lodged a claim with the competent first-instance court seeking compensation for land expropriation.
6. On 30 September 2011 the applicant lodged a constitutional appeal complaining about the length of those proceeding.
7. On 24 December 2013 the Constitutional Court rendered a decision finding a violation of the applicant's right to a hearing within a reasonable time and ordered the competent court to take all necessary measures in order to speedily bring to a conclusion the proceedings in question. It did not award any compensation for non-pecuniary damage because the applicant had failed to make such a claim in his constitutional appeal.
8. On 17 July 2017 the impugned proceedings were finally completed by a decision of the competent second-instance court.
9. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the above described civil proceedings.
A. The parties' submissions
10. The Government maintained that the applicant could no longer claim to be a victim of the alleged violation because the Constitutional Court had explicitly established a violation of the right to a hearing within a reasonable time in respect of the applicant, whereas it could not have awarded the applicant compensation for non-pecuniary damage because the applicant had never made such a claim.
11. The applicant did not express any opinion on this matter.
B. The Court's assessment
12. The Court notes that an applicant's status as a "victim" within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention depends on whether the domestic authorities have acknowledged, either expressly or in substance, the alleged infringement of the Convention and, if necessary, provided appropriate redress in relation thereto. Only when these conditions are satisfied does the subsidiary nature of the protective mechanism of the Convention preclude examination of an application (see Predić-Joksić v. Serbia (dec.), no. 19424/07, § 24, 20 March 2012).
13. The Court, in this respect, notes that the Constitutional Court found that the applicant's right to a hearing within a reasonable time had indeed been violated (see paragraph 7 above), thereby acknowledging the breach complained of and, in effect, satisfying the first condition laid down in the Court's case-law.
14. Since the applicant failed to claim compensation for non-pecuniary damage before the Constitutional Court, the Court considers that the acknowledgement of a violation was, in itself, appropriate and sufficient redress for the purposes of Article 34 of the Convention (see Lukić v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (dec.), no. 34379/03, 18 November 2008).
15. Accordingly, the applicant can no longer claim to be a victim and the application must be rejected as being manifestly ill-founded pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,
Declares the application inadmissible.
Done in English and notified in writing on 6 June 2019.
Georgios A. Serghides