CASE OF EREN AND OTHERS v. TURKEY (European Court of Human Rights) 29936/19 and 7 others

The applications concern the non-enforcement of domestic courts’ decisions despite the Compensation Commission’s findings of breach of the applicants’ right to a fair trial.


SECOND SECTION
CASE OF EREN AND OTHERS v. TURKEY
(Applications nos. 29936/19 and 7 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
3 May 2022

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

In the case of Eren and Others v. Turkey,

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

Egidijus Kūris, President,
Pauliine Koskelo,
Gilberto Felici, judges,

and Hasan Bakırcı, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having regard to:

the applications against the Republic of Turkey lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by the applicants listed in the appended table, (“the applicants”), on the various dates indicated therein;

the decision to give notice of the applications to the Turkish Government (“the Government”) represented by Mr Hacı Ali Açıkgül, Head the Human Rights Department of the Ministry of Justice, co-Agent of the Republic of Turkey before the European Court of Human Rights;

the parties’ observations;

the decision to reject the Government’s objection to the examination of the applications by a Committee;

Having deliberated in private on 29 March 2022,

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

SUBJECT MATTER OF THE CASE

1. The applications concern the non-enforcement of domestic courts’ decisions despite the Compensation Commission’s findings of breach of the applicants’ right to a fair trial.

2. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 the applicants were awarded compensation for their receivables arising from labour agreements with the Alemdar Municipality (“the Municipality”) in three sets of civil proceedings before the Afşin Civil Court of First Instance. The details of the proceedings are set out in the appended table.

3. The compensation amounts awarded by the Afşin Civil Court of First Instance to the applicants were not paid except for the compensation awarded in the first set of proceedings brought by the applicants in application no. 3950/08.

4. On different dates in 2011 the applicants applied to the Court complaining of the non-enforcement of domestic judicial decisions in their favour.

5. In 2013 the Court held that their applications were inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies due to the applicants’ failure to exhaust the Compensation Commission, a domestic remedy established under Law no. 6384 which provides redress for complaints concerning, inter alia, non‑enforcement of domestic remedies.

6. In 2014, the Compensation Commission awarded to the applicants non‑pecuniary damage for the excessive length of proceedings. It further transmitted its decision to the Municipality, requesting it to execute the judicial decisions in question.

7. In the same year, the applicants also applied to the Constitutional Court complaining about the Municipality’s failure to enforce the relevant judicial decisions despite the decision of the Compensation Commission.

8. In July 2018, as the applications were pending before the Constitutional Court, a provision empowering the Compensation Commission established under Law no. 6384 to deal with the applications pending before the Constitutional Court, concerning, inter alia, non-enforcement complaints were added to Law no. 6384.

9. In the same year the Constitutional Court found the applicants’ applications inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies, namely the Compensation Commission.

10. On unspecified dates, some minor parts of the receivables were paid to some of the applicants.

THE COURT’S ASSESSMENT

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

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

II. ALLEGED VIOLATIONs OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION AND OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1 TO THE CONVENTION

12. The applicants complain of the non-enforcement of domestic decisions given in their favour. They rely expressly or in substance, on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and on Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.

13. The Government argued that the applications had been inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies because the applicants failed to apply to the Compensation Commission, established by Law no. 6384, after the Constitutional Court had found their applications inadmissible for non‑exhaustion of domestic remedies.

14. The Court observes that the applicants had already applied to the Compensation Commission before lodging their applications with the Constitutional Court. However, despite the Compensation Commission’s findings, the decisions of the Afşin Civil Court of First Instance awarding the applicants compensation had still not been fully enforced.

15. Having examined all the material submitted to it and considering its case-law (see Hornsby v. Greece, no. 18357/91, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997‑II), the Court considers that the applications are not inadmissible on any grounds and that the authorities did not deploy all necessary efforts to enforce fully and in due time the decisions in the applicants’ favour.

16. There has therefore been a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.

III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

17. Each of the applicants claimed 50,000 euros (EUR), in respect of pecuniary damage, corresponding to the potential financial benefits they had been deprived of on account of the non-payment of the amounts awarded by the domestic courts.

18. As regards non-pecuniary damage, each applicant claimed that he had suffered distress and hardship on account of the non-payment of the domestic judgment debts and requested EUR 50,000.

19. The applicants further claimed EUR 220,000 in respect of costs and expenses and lawyer`s fees.

20. The Government requested the Court not to rule on just satisfaction because the Compensation Commission was now entitled to examine just satisfaction claims in applications where the Court has found a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention but has not ruled on the applicants’ claims for just satisfaction under Article 41 of the Convention or has decided to reserve the question (Kaynar and Others v. Turkey, nos. 21104/06 and 2 others, § 64-78, 7 May 2019).

21. The Court considers that the respondent Government should ensure that the domestic judgments in the appended table, are executed by the administration in full by closing the enforcement proceedings at the bailiff`s offices (İcra Müdürlükleri) which had been initiated by the applicants (Vlaho v. Bosnia and Herzegovina [Committee], no.15676/20, 10 December 2020).

22. The Court further considers that the applicants must have suffered some non-pecuniary damage which cannot be sufficiently compensated by the finding of a violation alone. Consequently, taking into account the circumstances of the case, in particular the fact that the applicants have already been awarded compensation (see paragraph 10 above), and making its assessment on an equitable basis, the Court awards for each of the applications EUR 2 000 in respect of non‑pecuniary damages.

23. According to the Court’s case-law, an applicant is entitled to the reimbursement of costs and expenses only in so far as it has been shown that these have been actually and necessarily incurred and are reasonable as to quantum. In the present case, regard being had to the documents in its possession and the above criteria, the Court considers it reasonable to award jointly to the applicants EUR 3 000 covering costs and expenses

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the applications admissible;

3. Holds that the applications disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 concerning the non‑enforcement of domestic decisions;

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

5. Holds

(a) that the respondent State is to pay, within three months, the following amounts, to be converted into the currency of the respondent State at the rate applicable at the date of settlement:

(i) EUR 2 000 (two thousand euros) for each application, plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;

(ii) EUR 3 000 (three thousand euros) jointly to applicants, plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants, in respect of costs and expenses;

(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;

6. Dismisses the remainder of the applicants’ claim for just satisfaction.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 3 May 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Hasan Bakırcı                       Egidijus Kūris
Deputy Registrar                      President

___________

APPENDIX

List of cases:

No. Application no. Lodged on Applicant name Date of birth

Place of residence

Afşin First Instance Civil Court Decision Compensation awarded by the Domestic Court
  1st Proceedings 2nd Proceedings 1st Proceedings 2nd Proceedings TOTAL
1. 29936/19 30/04/2019 Fethi EREN Decision date: 05/05/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 05/06/2008 Final on: 03/11/2008 TRY 23.019,97 TRY 14.014,98 TRY 37.034,95
18/06/1963
Kahramanmaraş
2. 30031/19 30/04/2019 Halil KILINÇ Decision date: 05/05/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 05/06/2008 Final on: 03/11/2008 TRY 11.071,29 TRY 13.807,25 TRY 24.878,54
16/08/1972
Kahramanmaraş
3. 30041/19 30/04/2019 Ramazan GÜL Decision date: 27/03/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 10/06/2008 Final on: 06/10/2008 TRY 22.228,59 TRY 23.673,10 TRY 46.901,69
16/01/1966
Kahramanmaraş
4. 30050/19 30/04/2019 İbrahim KILINÇ Decision date: 27/03/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 10/06/2008 Final on: 06/10/2008 TRY 22.386,03 TRY 24.569,48 TRY 46.955,51
16/04/1970
Kahramanmaraş
5. 30077/19 30/04/2019 Ali KOCA Decision date: 27/03/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 10/06/2008 Final on: 06/10/2008 TRY 28.758,20 TRY 24.696,22 TRY 53.454,42
06/08/1970
Kahramanmaraş
6. 30083/19 30/04/2019 Fahrettin KILINÇ Decision date: 05/05/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 05/06/2008 Final on: 03/11/2008 TRY 11.132,45 TRY 13.807,25 TRY 24.939,70
04/07/1965
Istanbul
7. 30086/19 30/04/2019 Atilla EREN Decision date: 27/03/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 10/06/2008 Final on: 06/10/2008 TRY 15.165,95 TRY 20.278,01 TRY 35.443,96
10/06/1978
Istanbul
8. 30090/19 30/04/2019 Necati BOLAT Decision date: 05/05/2006 Final on: 04/06/2007 Decision date: 05/06/2008 Final on: 03/11/2008 TRY 17.016,86 TRY 13.807,25 TRY 30.824,11
25/11/1971
Antalya

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