ŽEREBKOVS v. LATVIA (European Court of Human Rights)

FIFTH SECTION
DECISION
Application no. 16800/11
Roberts ŽEREBKOVS
against Latvia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fifth Section), sitting on 3 September 2019 as a Chamber composed of:

Angelika Nußberger, President,
Gabriele Kucsko-Stadlmayer,
André Potocki,
Yonko Grozev,
Mārtiņš Mits,
Lәtif Hüseynov,
Lado Chanturia, judges,
and Claudia Westerdiek, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 2 March 2011,

Having regard to the observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

1. The applicant, Mr Roberts Žerebkovs, is a Latvian national, who was born in 1970 and lives in Daugavpils. He was represented before the Court by Ms A. Snipe, a lawyer practising in Riga.

2. The Latvian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms K. Līce.

A. The circumstances of the case

3. The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.

1. Criminal proceedings against the applicant

4. On 14 August 2005 a robbery took place. On 16 August 2005 criminal proceedings were instituted against the applicant and two other individuals in relation to that robbery.

(a) Proceedings before the first-instance court

5. On 6 December 2005 the case file was received at the Daugavpils Court (Daugavpils tiesa) for adjudication.

6. On 1 October 2012 the Daugavpils Court convicted the applicant of three counts of robbery under sections 176(3) (repeated robbery), 193(2) (credit card robbery) and 274(1) (passport robbery) of the Criminal Law.

7. In determining the sentences, the Daugavpils Court referred to the general sentencing provisions contained in section 46(2) of the Criminal Law (see paragraph 25 below) and took into account the following considerations: (i) a lack of mitigating factors; (ii) one aggravating factor (that the offence had been committed under the influence of alcohol); (iii) the applicant’s previous convictions and a negative prison report about him; and (iv) a breach of the requirement to conclude the matter within a reasonable time.

8. The Daugavpils Court held that the applicant was to be punished by having a custodial sentence in the range of permissible sentences laid down in the Criminal Law as follows: (i) eight years and three months’ custodial sentence for the offence under section 176(3) of the Criminal Law, (ii) one year and six months’ custodial sentence for the offence under section 193(2) of the Criminal Law, and (iii) ten months’ custodial sentence for the offence under section 274(1) of the Criminal Law. The total sentence for the three offences was set at eight years and six months.

(b) Proceedings before the appellate court

9. Upon an appeal lodged by the applicant, on 30 April 2013 the Latgale Regional Court (Latgales apgabaltiesa) upheld his conviction. However, under legislative amendments effective as of 1 April 2013, a repeat offence was no longer punishable under section 176(3) of the Criminal Law. The appellate court accordingly amended the repeated robbery charge, replacing it with a more lenient one, namely robbery as part of a group under section 176(2) of the Criminal Law, which carried a maximum custodial sentence of eight years (see paragraph 27 below).

10. In setting the sentence for the offence under section 176(2) of the Criminal Law, the Latgale Regional Court took into account the following considerations: (i) one mitigating factor (a guilty plea by the applicant); (ii) one aggravating factor (that the offence had been committed under the influence of alcohol); (iii) the applicant’s previous convictions (including a previous robbery) and (iv) the damage caused by the offence.

11. The Latgale Regional Court concluded that the applicant’s punishment had to involve a custodial sentence. It would be fair to set a sentence close to the statutory maximum of eight years (as laid down in the 1 April 2013 amendments) in the circumstances.

12. However, the proceedings had been pending before the first-instance court from 6 December 2005 to 1 October 2012 and the applicant had not been responsible for any delays. Thus, the first-instance court had breached the reasonable time requirement. The Latgale Regional Court referred to section 491 of the Criminal Law and reduced the custodial sentence to be imposed on the applicant by half to four years. There were no grounds to reduce the sentence to be imposed on the applicant even further, given the seriousness of the offence and its violent nature.

13. With relation to the sentences imposed on the applicant for the offences under sections 193(2) and 274(1) of the Criminal Law, the Latgale Regional Court upheld the custodial sentences set by the first-instance court. It considered the sentences to be adequate, fair and close to the statutory minimum.

14. The total custodial sentence for all three offences was set at four years and three months. At the same time, the court ordered the applicant’s release since he had already served that sentence in full.

(c) Proceedings before the Supreme Court

15. Upon an appeal on points of law lodged by the applicant, on 10 July 2013 the Senate of the Supreme Court (Augstākās tiesas Senāts): (i) upheld the custodial sentence for the offence under 176(2) of the Criminal Law; (ii) remitted the case back to the appellate court for sentencing under sections 193(2) and 274(1) of the Criminal Law as more lenient sentencing provisions had to be taken into account following the 1 April 2013 amendments; and (iii) required the appellate court to determine the total custodial sentence following the resentencing.

(d) Proceedings before the appellate court

16. On 6 November 2013 the Latgale Regional Court determined the applicant’s sentences under 193(2) and 274(1) of the Criminal Law, and also the total sentence to be imposed on the applicant.

17. The appellate court took into account the following considerations: (i) the more lenient sentencing provisions following the 1 April 2013 amendments; (ii) one mitigating factor (the applicant’s guilty plea); (iii) one aggravating factor (that the offence had been committed under the influence of alcohol); (iv) the lengthy period of pre-trial detention; and (v) the breach of the reasonable time requirement.

18. The applicant’s sentence for each of the two offences was to be reduced by six and five months respectively and the total sentence was set at four years, which the applicant had already served.

19. That ruling took effect on 3 December 2013 since no appeals on points of law were lodged.

2. Civil proceedings instituted by the applicant

20. On 29 July 2011 the applicant instituted civil proceedings (case no. C27200511) against the State to claim compensation on account of the unreasonable length of the criminal proceedings against him. He claimed 7,028 Latvian lati (LVL – approximately 10,000 euros (EUR)). He relied onArticle 6 of the Convention, Article 92 of the Constitution and section 1635 of the Civil Law (see paragraphs 30-32 below).

21. On 26 March 2012 the Riga City Centre District Court (Rīgas pilsētas Centra rajona tiesa) dismissed his claim.

22. Upon an appeal by the applicant, on 11 March 2013 the Riga Regional Court (Rīgas apgabaltiesa) quashed that judgment and partly upheld the applicant’s claim. The Riga Regional Court held that the reasonableness of the length of proceedings had to be examined in the light of the facts of the case and taking into account the Court’s case-law. Domestic courts had an obligation to examine whether there had been a breach of the reasonable time requirement and to provide adequate redress in the event that there had been such a breach.

23. The Riga Regional Court established that the criminal proceedings against the applicant, which had not been particularly complex, had been pending before the first-instance court for more than six years, for reasons unrelated to the applicant. In addition, the Riga Regional Court found that the failure by the first-instance court to examine the case within two years of it being lodged with that court had breached the reasonable time requirement as enshrined in Article 6 of the Convention. Thus the applicant had the right to receive compensation under Article 92 of the Constitution and section 1635 of the Civil Law in the light of the long period of legal uncertainty (tiesiskā nenoteiktība). The Riga Regional Court awarded the applicant LVL 500 (approximately EUR 711) in respect of non-pecuniary damage. Both parties lodged appeals on points of law.

24. In a preparatory meeting on 30 December 2014 the Supreme Court refused to institute proceedings in respect of the appeals on points of law. The Supreme Court held that the Latgale Regional Court in its judgment of 6 November 2013 had taken into account the length of the proceedings when determining the sentence (see paragraph 17 above). The applicant had therefore also received redress for the legal uncertainty he had endured during the criminal proceedings. The Riga Regional Court, taking into account the gravity of the breach and its consequences, had awarded monetary compensation in the amount of LVL 500 (approximately EUR 711), which it had considered reasonable in view of the facts of the case.

B. Relevant domestic law and practice

1. Criminal Law

(a) General provisions on sentencing (as applicable at the material time)

25. Section 46(2) of the Criminal Law (Krimināllikums) provides that in setting a sentence the court must take into consideration the nature of the criminal offence and any damage caused by it, the character of the offender, and any mitigating or aggravating factors. Section 49 of the Criminal Law provides that if a court, taking into account various mitigating factors and the character of the offender, considers it appropriate to impose a shorter sentence than the statutory minimum for the relevant criminal offence, or to impose a less severe form of punishment, it can reduce the punishment accordingly, setting out its reasons in the judgment (section 49(1)). Also, a court can decide not to apply an additional punishment that is laid down as mandatory for the relevant criminal offence by the Criminal Law (section 49(2)). The above provisions are not applicable if the court finds that aggravating factors applied to the criminal offence (section 49(3)).

26. Following amendments effective as of 1 January 2011, section 491 provides that if the court finds that a person’s right to completion of criminal proceedings within a reasonable time has not been respected, it may either take this circumstance into consideration when determining the sentence and mitigate it, impose a sentence shorter than the statutory minimum for the relevant criminal offence, or impose another, less severe, punishment than that provided for by the law for the relevant criminal offence (section 491(1)). Moreover, following those amendments a person can also be relieved of criminal liability if it is established that his or her right to the completion of criminal proceedings within a reasonable period has not been observed (section 58(5)).

(b) Specific provisions on sentencing as regards robbery-related charges

27. The relevant sentencing provisions under the Criminal Law can be summarised as follows:

  Applicable sentence at the time of robbery (14 August 2005) Applicable sentence following the 1 April 2013 amendments
Section 176(2) –robbery as part of a group 3 – 12 years’ custodial sentence Maximum 8 years’ custodial sentence
Section 176(3) –repeated robbery 8 – 15 years’ custodial sentence (Repeated robbery removed as a specific offence)
Section 193(2) –credit card robbery Maximum 10 years’ custodial sentence

 

Maximum 5 years’ custodial sentence or detention or community service or a fine
Section 274(1) – passport robbery Maximum 3 years’ custodial sentence or community service or a fine Maximum 1 year’s custodial sentence or detention or community service or a fine

2. Criminal Procedure Law

28. Section 14(1) of the Criminal Procedure Law (Kriminālprocesa likums) provides that everyone has the right to the completion of criminal proceedings within a reasonable time, that is, without unjustified delay.

29. By virtue of amendments effective on 1 July 2009, section 14(1) was supplemented with a text providing that the assessment of a reasonable time for the completion of criminal proceedings will take into account the volume and difficulty of the case file, the number of procedural measures, the attitude of those involved in the proceedings towards their responsibilities and other objective circumstances.

3. Provisions in relation to compensation

30. Article 92 of the Constitution (Satversme)provides, inter alia, that “everyone whose rights are violated without justification shall have a right to commensurate compensation”.

31. Before amendments effective as of 1 March 2006, section 1635 of the Civil Law (Civillikums) provided as follows:

“Any infringement, that is, any unlawful act which by its nature has caused damage, gives the victim the right to seek compensation from the person who has caused it, in so far as he or she may be held responsible for that act.

Note: the concept of an act is understood in a broad sense and encompasses not only actions but also omissions”.

32. After the amendments of 1 March 2006, section 1635 provides as follows:

“Any infringement, that is, any unlawful act which by its nature has caused damage (including non-pecuniary damage), gives the victim the right to seek compensation from the person who has caused it, in so far as he or she may be held responsible for that act.

Non-pecuniary damage should be understood to mean any physical or mental suffering resulting from the infringement …

Where the unlawful act under the second paragraph of this section takes the form of a criminal offence against the life, health, morals, sexual integrity, freedom, honour or dignity of a person, against the family or against a minor, it is presumed that the victim has suffered mental harm as a result of such an act. In all other cases the victim must prove the existence of non-pecuniary damage.

Note: the concept of an act is understood in a broad sense and encompasses not only actions but also omissions.”

4. Case-law of the domestic courts

33. In addition to the relevant domestic practice summarised in Trūps v. Latvia ((dec.), no. 58497/08, §§ 26-33, 20 November 2012), the Government provided further examples of the domestic courts applying section 491 of the Criminal Law in practice.

34. Most notably, on 8 June 2012 the Senate of the Supreme Court (SKA-284/2012, no. 11180174707) established the following factors to be taken into account when setting a sentence with reference to section 491 of the Criminal Law: (i) the length of the proceedings; (ii) the conduct of the relevant authorities; (iii) the character of the offender and his or her role in the criminal offence; (iv) any mitigating factors; (v) any aggravating factors; and (vi) any circumstances constituting unjustified delays in the criminal proceedings.

35. On 8 January 2014 the Senate of the Supreme Court issued an analysis of the domestic case-law on the person’s right to completion of criminal proceedings within a reasonable time and the setting of sentences in the case of a breach of those rights (Tiesu prakse par tiesībām uz kriminālprocesa pabeigšanu saprātīgā termiņā un soda noteikšanā, ja nav ievērotas tiesības uz kriminālprocesa pabeigšanu saprātīgā termiņā). This analysis covered the time period between 1 July 2010 and 1 October 2013.

36. A conclusion was reached that domestic practice had not yet been clearly established. In some cases breaches of the reasonable time requirement had been established by the domestic courts, while in other similar situations such breaches had not been established. In cases where breaches had been found, various mitigating practices had been applied. However, it was also observed that setting a sentence close to the statutory minimum had been the most common practice. Lastly, a recommendation was made that the lower courts follow the practice established by the court of cassation to include very specific details as to how much the sentence had been mitigated owing to the breach of the reasonable time requirement.

COMPLAINT

37. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of criminal proceedings against him.

THE LAW

Alleged violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention in connection with the criminal proceedings

38. The applicant alleged that the length of the criminal proceedings breached the “reasonable time” requirement laid down in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

“In the determination of … any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a … hearing within a reasonable time by [a] … tribunal …”

39. The Government contested that argument.

1. Parties’ submissions

40. The Government submitted that the criminal courts at all levels of jurisdiction had concluded in express terms that the applicant’s right to trial within a reasonable time had not been respected. The domestic courts had also referred to section 491 of the Criminal Law. In this respect, the situation in the present case closely resembled that of Bērziņš v. Latvia ((dec.), no. 30780/13, 20 May 2014). The reasoning by the criminal courts, in particular, by the Latgale Regional Court (see paragraph 12 above), had demonstrated that the breach of the reasonable time requirement had been the reason for the reduction in the applicant’s sentence, which had also led to his release. Furthermore, the Government referred to Hansen and Others v. Denmark ((dec.), no. 26194/03, 29 May 2006) and argued that the reasoning by the domestic courts in the present case had left no room for doubt. Also, the Riga Regional Court in the civil proceedings had expressly acknowledged a breach of the reasonable time requirement as enshrined in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

41. The Government argued that the redress provided to the present applicant had gone beyond that afforded to the applicant in Bērziņš. The present applicant’s sentence had been reduced and he had received monetary compensation. Considering that the applicant had been convicted of several criminal offences, and that a sentence had been set that was close to the maximum penalty for one offence and had then been reduced by half in view of the breach of the reasonable time requirement (as noted by the Latgale Regional Court – see paragraph 12 above), they argued that that reduction should be considered adequate. With reference to Maktouf and Damjanovićv. Bosnia and Herzegovina ([GC], nos. 2312/08 and 34179/08, § 75, ECHR 2013 (extracts)), the Government contended that it would be incompatible with the principle of subsidiarity if the Court were to engage in a detailed assessment of the degree of the reduction of sentence as to do so would interfere with the State’s penal policy, which the Contracting States were in principle free to decide.

42. The Government were of the opinion that, in light of the Court’s conclusions in Bērziņš, the mitigation of the applicant’s sentence in the present case had constituted sufficient redress. The monetary compensation awarded to the applicant in the civil proceedings was to be regarded as “additional evidence that the domestic authorities [had] sufficiently addressed the violation of [the applicant’s] Convention rights”.

43. As regards the amount of monetary compensation, the Government considered that the amount awarded (EUR 711) had been adequate for proceedings which had lasted for approximately eight years (they referred in support to Cuško v. Latvia [Committee], no. 32163/09, § 51, 7 December 2017, and Vidaković v. Serbia (dec.), no. 16231/07, §§ 30-31, 24 May 2011). The Government did not agree with the applicant’s reading of the appellate court’s judgment in the civil proceedings (see paragraph 46 below).

44. In the applicant’s view, the Government had failed to demonstrate that his sentence had been reduced in an express and measurable manner. He pointed out that the Latgale Regional Court had amended his robbery charge (originally under section 176(3) of the Criminal Law, which was classified as a very serious criminal offence) to a more lenient one (under section 176(2) of the Criminal Law, which was classified as a serious criminal offence) (see paragraph 9 above) and that the statutory custodial sentence had therefore been reduced from a maximum of fifteen years’ imprisonment to between three and twelve years’ imprisonment (see paragraph 27 above). The appellate court had failed to comply with the relevant sentencing guidelines (see paragraphs 35-36 above). The applicant’s reading of those guidelines was that the domestic court had to proceed in the following order: (i) determine the type of penalty to be imposed following the reclassification of the criminal offence; (ii) set the sentence for the criminal offence (without taking the breach of the reasonable time requirement into account as a mitigating factor); and only then (iii) reduce that sentence by half in view of the breach of the reasonable time requirement.

45. In the applicant’s submission, a new mitigating circumstance such as an admission of guilt, if established by the appellate court, as in the present case, usually entailed a reduction of a custodial sentence by three years – in this respect he referred to examples of domestic case-law. The applicant argued that the reduction of his sentence by four years at the appellate court had been determined by taking into account two factors ‑ both a new mitigating circumstance (his admission of guilt) and the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement. Accordingly, he did not consider that the reduction had been made in an express and measurable manner.

46. It was the applicant’s submission that the monetary compensation of EUR 711 had been awarded for a mere two-year period (see paragraph 23 above). He did not consider that this award had been made to compensate the overall length of the criminal proceedings, which had lasted for more than eight years. Moreover, he contended that that award was insufficient.

2. Court’s assessment

(a) General principles

47. The Court reiterates that it falls first to the national authorities to redress any alleged violation of the Convention. In this regard, the question whether an applicant can claim to be a victim of the violation alleged is relevant at all stages of the proceedings under the Convention (see Scordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813/97, § 179, ECHR 2006 V).

48. The Court has recognised that the Contracting States have a certain discretion as to the manner in which they provide relief in relation to unreasonably lengthy proceedings. Various types of remedies could in theory be compatible with the Convention – an effective preventive remedy that expedites the criminal proceedings and subsequently prevents them from becoming unreasonably lengthy; a compensatory remedy that provides adequate redress, pecuniary or non-pecuniary, for any violation that has already occurred; or a combination of both the above (see Trūps v. Latvia (dec.), no. 58497/08, § 45, 20 November 2012, with further references). The Court has accepted several forms of non-pecuniary compensatory remedies, including the mitigation of a sentence (ibid., § 46).

49. The mitigation of a sentence on the ground of the excessive length of the proceedings does not in principle deprive the individual concerned of his victim status. However, this general rule is subject to an exception when the national authorities have acknowledged either expressly or in substance, and then afforded redress for, the breach of the Convention. In cases concerning a failure to observe the “reasonable time” requirement guaranteed by Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, the national authorities can afford adequate redress, in particular by reducing the applicant’s sentence in an express and measurable manner (see Bērziņš, cited above, § 33, with further references).

(b) Application in the present case

(i) Acknowledgment of the breach

50. The Court notes that the parties have not disputed that the domestic criminal and civil courts expressly acknowledged the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement in the present case. The domestic courts found that the applicant’s right to completion of criminal proceedings within a reasonable time had not been respected (see paragraphs 7, 12, 17 and 23 above). Therefore, the Court concludes that the judicial authorities acknowledged the breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

(ii) Redress provided in the criminal proceedings

51. The Court in principle agrees with the Government that States are free to decide their own penal policy (see Maktouf and Damjanović, cited above, § 75). However, a reduction of the sentence made in view of a breach of the “reasonable time” requirement must be made in an express and measurable manner in order for the State to be able to claim that the applicant has lost his victim status. The Court is, therefore, called upon to examine this issue as, in the applicant’s submission, the reduction of the sentence in his case had not been made in such a manner. The Court will not, however, go beyond this issue. It will not address the applicant’s arguments as to the manner in which the domestic courts should have calculated his sentence in general or in view of the fact that he had pleaded guilty. It is not the Court’s role to review the national sentencing guidelines in general or their application in the circumstances of the present case, beyond the issue of loss of victim status.

52. It is uncontested that the criminal courts at all levels of jurisdiction took the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement into account when setting the applicant’s sentences (see paragraphs 7, 12 and 17 above). They did so in relation to all three charges against the applicant – the principal charge against the applicant under section 176(2) of the Criminal Law and the two ancillary charges under sections 193(2) and 274(1) of the Criminal Law.

53. The Court cannot precisely determine the impact of the length of proceedings on the reduction of the applicant’s sentences in relation to the two ancillary charges under sections 193(2) and 274(1) of the Criminal Law. While the Latgale Regional Court specifically listed the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement as a factor it had taken into account when setting the sentence, it was only one consideration out of five in total. Following the ruling given by the Supreme Court, the Latgale Regional Court also took into account the more lenient sentencing provisions that had entered into force in the meantime (see paragraphs 15 and 17 above). In the absence of any further indication, the Court is unable to determine which of those two elements (the delay element or the change in the domestic sentencing provisions) stood out as the primary mitigating factor.

54. The situation is different, however, in relation to the principal charge against the applicant under section 176(2) of the Criminal Law. The Latgale Regional Court expressly held that the applicant’s sentence had to be set close to the statutory maximum of eight years following the 1 April 2013 amendments (see paragraph 11 above). However, in view of the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement, that sentence had to be reduced by half to four years’ imprisonment (see paragraph 12 above). The reduced sentence was further upheld by the Supreme Court (see paragraph 15 above).

55. At a time when the domestic practice was not clearly established in this regard, the Latgale Regional Court made a particular effort to provide detailed reasons for its sentencing decision in order to comply with the domestic requirements (see paragraphs 34-36 above) and the Court’s case-law (see paragraph 49 above). The Court is willing to accept that the reduction of the sentence in relation to the applicant’s principal charge under section 176(2) of the Criminal Law – by half of the initially set punishment – was measurable and had a decisive impact on his sentence (see Malkov v. Estonia, no. 31407/07, § 60, 4 February 2010; Kaletsch v. Germany (dec.), no. 31890/06, 23 June 2009; and Sorvisto v. Finland, no. 19348/04, § 67, 13 January 2009).

56. Furthermore, the Court notes that the sentences in relation to the two ancillary charges was fully incorporated into the total sentence which was set at four years (see paragraph 18 above). Accordingly, the Court, exercising its supervisory function, is satisfied that the non-pecuniary redress provided to the present applicant – the mitigation of his sentence in the criminal proceedings against him – was adequate and sufficient.

(iii) Redress provided in the civil proceedings

57. In addition, the applicant in the present case also brought civil proceedings against the State. The Riga Regional Court expressly established that the criminal proceedings had been pending before the first-instance court for more than six years for reasons unrelated to the applicant. He was awarded compensation in respect of non-pecuniary damage in an amount approximately equivalent to EUR 711 (see paragraph 23 above). The Supreme Court added that the applicant had already received redress in the criminal proceedings for the legal uncertainty he had endured in that context (see paragraph 24 above).

58. The Court reiterates that States have a certain margin of discretion as to the manner in which they provide relief to victims for the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement (see paragraph 48 above). On the one hand, States can choose to establish only a compensatory remedy (see Scordino, cited above, § 187) provided that a number of criteria are met, including the requirement that the level of compensation must not be unreasonable in comparison with the awards made by the Court in similar cases (ibid., §§ 195, 198, 200-206). On the other hand, States are not prevented, in principle, from choosing a combination of available remedies such as, for example, providing two compensatory remedies: non-pecuniary redress, such as the mitigation of a sentence, together with pecuniary redress in the form of damages.

59. That being said, in the present case the Court is not called on to examine the adequacy of the pecuniary redress afforded to the applicant, either taken alone or in combination with the redress provided in the criminal proceedings, because it is satisfied that the non-pecuniary redress provided to the applicant – the mitigation of his sentence in the criminal proceedings against him – was adequate and sufficient.

(iv) Conclusion

60. Having regard to the foregoing considerations, the Court is satisfied that the mitigation of the applicant’s sentence in the criminal proceedings against him afforded adequate and sufficient redress for the breach of the “reasonable time” requirement in the present case. The Court, accordingly, concludes that the applicant cannot claim to be a victim of a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

61. It follows that this complaint is incompatible ratione personae with the provisions of the Convention within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4.

For these reasons, the Court, unanimously,

Declares the application inadmissible.

Done in English and notified in writing on 26 September 2019.

Claudia Westerdiek                               Angelika Nußberger
Registrar                                              President

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