Case of European Court of Human Rights, February 07, 2019 (case HRNJIĆ AND OTHERS v. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA)

Defense:BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Resolution Date:February 07, 2019
SUMMARY

Violation of Article 6 - Right to a fair trial (Article 6 - Enforcement proceedings;Article 6-1 - Access to court);Violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 - Protection of property (Article 1 para. 1 of Protocol No. 1 - Peaceful enjoyment of possessions)

 
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FOURTH SECTION

CASE OF HRNJIĆ AND OTHERS v. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

(Application no. 20954/13 and 57 others -

see appended list)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

7 February 2019

This judgment is final but it may be subject to editorial revision.

In the case of Hrnjić and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina,

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:

Georges Ravarani, President,Marko Bošnjak,Péter Paczolay, judges,and Liv Tigerstedt, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 17 January 2019,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:

PROCEDURE

  1. The case originated in applications against Bosnia and Herzegovina lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) on the various dates indicated in the appended table.

  2. The applicants were represented by the representatives listed in the appended table.

  3. Notice of the applications was given to the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“the Government”).

    THE FACTS

  4. The list of applicants and the relevant details of the applications are set out in the appended table.

  5. The applicants complained of the non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of domestic decisions.

    THE LAW

    1. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

  6. Having regard to the similar subject matter of the applications, the Court finds it appropriate to examine them jointly in a single judgment.

    1. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1

  7. The applicants complained of the non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of domestic decisions given in their favour. They relied, expressly or in substance, on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, which read as follows:

    Article 6 § 1

    “In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ... everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal ...”

    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.”

  8. The Court reiterates that the execution of a judgment given by any court must be regarded as an integral part of a “hearing” for the purposes of Article 6. It also refers to its case-law concerning the non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of final domestic judgments (see Hornsby v. Greece, no. 18357/91, § 40, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997‑II).

  9. In the leading cases of Spahić and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, nos. 20514/15 and 15 others, §§ 25-31, 14 November 2017, and Kunić and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, nos. 68955/12 and 15 others, §§ 26-31, 14 November 2017, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

  10. The Court further notes that the decisions in the present applications ordered specific action to be taken. The Court therefore considers that the decisions in question constitute “possessions” within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

  11. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion on the admissibility and merits of these complaints. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the authorities did not deploy all necessary efforts to enforce fully and in due time the decisions in the applicants’ favour.

  12. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.

    1. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

  13. Article 41 of the Convention provides:

    “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.”

  14. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Spahić and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, nos. 20514/15 and 15 others, §§ 36-43, 14 November 2017, and Kunić and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina, nos. 68955/12 and 15 others, §§ 37‑46, 14 November 2017), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

  15. The Court further notes that the respondent State has an outstanding obligation to enforce the judgments which remain enforceable.

  16. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.

    FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

  17. Decides to join the applications;

  18. Declares the applications admissible;

  19. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 concerning the non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of domestic decisions;

  20. Holds that the respondent State shall ensure, by appropriate means, within three months, the enforcement of the pending domestic decisions referred to in the appended table;

  21. Holds

    (a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicants, within three months, the amounts indicated in the appended table, 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 amounts 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 7 February 2019, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

    Liv TigerstedtGeorges Ravarani Acting Deputy RegistrarPresident

    APPENDIX

    List of applications raising complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of the Protocol No. 1

    (non-enforcement or delayed enforcement of domestic decisions)

    No.

    Application no.

    Date of introduction

    Applicant’s name

    Date of birth

    Representative’s name and location

    Relevant domestic decision

    Start date of non-enforcement period or date of entry into force of the Convention in respect of Bosnia and Herzegovina

    (12 July 2002)

    End date of non-enforcement period

    Length of enforcement proceedings

    Amount awarded for non-pecuniary damage per applicant

    (in euros)[1]

    Amount awarded for costs and expenses per application

    (in euros)[2]

    20954/13

    12/02/2013

    Edin Hrnjić

    27/09/1958

    Zenica Cantonal Court, 02/04/2007

    28/05/2007

    pending

    More than 11 year(s) and 5 month(s) and 25 day(s)

    1,000

    48016/13

    17/05/2013

    (6 applicants)

    Tomislav Batarilo

    28/11/1952

    Josip KNEŽEVIĆ

    10/03/1964

    Edib KUČUKOVIĆ

    04/07/1970

    Azra MALIĆBEGOVIĆ

    23/01/1957

    Jelica TOMIĆ

    19/03/1953

    Fatima ZVEKIĆ

    22/04/1966

    Hrnjić Edin

    Žepče

    Zenica Cantonal Court, 21/08/2007

    Žepče First Instance Court, 23/04/2007

    07/11/2007

    16/09/2008

    pending

    More than 11 year(s) and 15 day(s)

    pending

    More than 10 year(s) and 2 month(s) and 6 day(s)

    1,000

    350

    20339/15

    13/04/2015

    Sanela Alispahić

    09/10/1974

    Alić Muhidin

    Tesanj

    Tešanj First Instance Court, 15/05/2009

    Tešanj First Instance Court, 13/03/2013

    14/12/2011

    23/09/2013

    pending

    More than 6 year(s) and 11 month(s) and 8 day(s)

    pending

    More than 5 year(s) and 1 month(s) and 30 day(s)

    1...

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