CASE OF NASTA AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA (European Court of Human Rights) Applications nos. 22023/03 and 11 others

FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF NASTA AND OTHERS v. ROMANIA
(Applications nos. 22023/03 and 11 others)
JUDGMENT
(Revision)
STRASBOURG
12 October 2021

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

In the case of Nasta and Others v. Romania (request for revision of the judgment of 20 October 2020),

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

Branko Lubarda, President,
Carlo Ranzoni,
Péter Paczolay, judges,
and Ilse Freiwirth, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 14 September 2021,

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

PROCEDURE

1. The case originated in twelve applications against Romania lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”).

2. In a judgment delivered on 20 October 2020, the Court held that there had been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention on account of the applicants’ inability to recover possession or to be compensated for the loss of their properties, despite the existence of final domestic court decisions retroactively acknowledging their property rights. As regards application no. 25957/05 (Hreamătă and Others v. Romania) the Court also decided to award the applicants jointly 680,000 euros (EUR) for pecuniary damage.

3. On 22 February 2021 the Government informed the Court that in December 2020 they had learned, while in the process of executing the Court’s judgment, that nine of the fourteen applicants in application no. 25957/05 had died on various dates before the adoption of the judgment (see the list of the deceased applicants in the appended table). They accordingly requested revision of the judgment within the meaning of Rule 80 of the Rules of Court.

4. On 23 March 2021 the Court considered the request for revision and decided to give the applicants’ representative three weeks in which to submit any observations. Those observations were received on 16 April 2021.

THE LAW

THE REQUEST FOR REVISION

5. The Government requested revision of the judgment of 20 October 2020, which they had been unable to execute because nine of the fourteen applicants in the case of Hreamătă and Others had died before the judgment had been adopted. They asked the Court to strike the case out of its list in respect of the deceased applicants.

6. The applicants’ representative stated that she had lost contact with the applicants over the years and she had not known that some of them were deceased. It was after the notification of the Government’s request for revision that the heirs of the deceased applicants came forward and expressed the wish to pursue the proceedings on those applicants’ behalf.

7. The Court notes that the applicants in question had died before the Court adopted its judgment in the current case (see appendix). However, the Court was neither informed about the applicants’ death nor whether any legal heirs expressed their wish to pursue the proceedings on the applicants’ behalf, before the adoption of the Court’s judgment. The Court considers that the deaths of the above‑mentioned applicants constitute indeed facts of “decisive influence” on the outcome of the judgment within the meaning of Rule 80 § 1 of the Rules of Court. Moreover, no reasonable justification was submitted for the omission to inform the Court of these important factual elements (see paragraph 6 above; compare and contrast, Nicolae Augustin Rădulescu v. Romania (revision), no. 17295/10, § 9, 19 May 2015; Meryem Çelik and Others v. Turkey (revision), no. 3598/03, § 8, 16 September 2014). The Court is also prepared to accept that these decisive facts could not reasonably have been expected to be known to the Government, who gained knowledge of the deaths of the applicants in December 2020 and filed the request for revision of the judgment in February 2020, within the time‑limit provided for in Rule 80.

8. In view of the above, the Court considers that the judgment of 20 October 2020 should be revised pursuant to Rule 80 of the Rules of Court, the relevant parts of which provide:

“A party may, in the event of the discovery of a fact which might by its nature have a decisive influence and which, when a judgment was delivered, was unknown to the Court and could not reasonably have been known to that party, request the Court … to revise that judgment.

…”

9. The Court further recalls that it has been its practice to strike applications out of the list of cases in the absence of any heir or close relative who has expressed in a timely manner a wish to pursue the application, without providing any explanation for such failure (see Cacuci and S.C. Virra & Cont Pand S.R.L. v. Romania (revision), no. 27153/07, § 10, 13 November 2018). It further finds no special circumstances relating to respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols which require it to continue the examination of the application in respect of the applicants listed in the appended table.

10. Accordingly, the Court decides to strike application no. 25957/05 out of the list of cases in respect of the complaints lodged by the applicants listed in the appended table, in accordance with Article 37 § 1 of the Convention.

11. Consequently, the Court considers that, in the interest of the good administration of justice, the initial award of pecuniary damage made to the applicants should be reviewed taking into account each applicants’ inheritance shares as submitted by the parties. It accordingly decides to award the remaining applicants, only the amount of 545,000 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary damage (see, mutatis mutandis, Manushaqe Puto and Others v. Albania (revision), nos. 604/07 and 3 others, § 11, 4 November 2014).

12. 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,

1. Decides to revise its judgment of 20 October 2020 in so far as it relates to application no. 25957/05 and, consequently, to strike this application out of the list of cases in respect of the complaints lodged by the applicants listed in the appended table;

2. Holds,

(a) that the respondent State is to pay jointly to the remaining applicants in application no. 25957/05, within three months, EUR 545,000 (five hundred and forty-five thousand euros) in respect of pecuniary damage, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State plus any tax that may be chargeable;

(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 12 October 2021, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Ilse Freiwirth                              Branko Lubarda
Deputy Registrar                            President

__________

Appendix

No. Applicant’s name Date of decease
1. Ioan Dan VASILESCU 6 November 2010
2. Grigore PANTAZESCU 29 July 2012
3. Gheorghe NICOLESCU 6 March 2015
4. Ligia DINCĂ 1 July 2016
5. Verginia TODOR 4 March 2017
6. Ioan IONESCU 16 February 2018
7. Alexandru Cristian NICOLESCU 2 August 2018
8. Maria ZĂVOIANU 28 December 2018
9. Valeria MIHAI POENARU 26 February 2020

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