CASE OF MEDAK AND OTHERS v. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (European Court of Human Rights) 45689/21 and 3 others

The applicants complained of the excessive length of administrative proceedings.


FOURTH SECTION
CASE OF MEDAK AND OTHERS v. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
(Application no. 45689/21 and 3 others – see appended list)
JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
7 July 2022

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

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

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

Armen Harutyunyan, President,
Jolien Schukking,
Ana Maria Guerra Martins, judges,
and Viktoriya Maradudina, Acting Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 16 June 2022,

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 Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“the Government”) were given notice of the applications.

THE FACTS

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

4. The applicants complained of the excessive length of administrative proceedings.

THE LAW

I. JOINDER OF THE APPLICATIONS

5. 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 VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION

6. The applicants complained that the length of the administrative proceedings in question had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement. They relied on Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:

Article 6 § 1

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations … everyone is entitled to a … hearing within a reasonable time by [a] … tribunal …”

7. The Court reiterates that the reasonableness of the length of proceedings must be assessed in the light of the circumstances of the case and with reference to the following criteria: the complexity of the case, the conduct of the applicants and the relevant authorities and what was at stake for the applicants in the dispute (see Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, § 43, ECHR 2000-VII).

8. In the leading cases of Scordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813/97, §§ 134-227, ECHR 2006-V and Dorić v. Bosnia and Herzegovina [Committee], no. 68811/13, 7 November 2017, the Court already found a violation in respect of issues similar to those in the present case.

9. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court has not found any fact or argument capable of justifying the overall length of the proceedings at the national level. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.

10. These complaints are therefore admissible and disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION

11. 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.”

12. Regard being had to the documents in its possession and to its case‑law (see, in particular, Scordino, cited above, §§ 260-73, and Dorić, also cited above), the Court considers it reasonable to award the sums indicated in the appended table.

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

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT, UNANIMOUSLY,

1. Decides to join the applications;

2. Declares the applications admissible;

3. Holds that these applications disclose a breach of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention concerning the excessive length of administrative proceedings;

4. 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 July 2022, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Viktoriya Maradudina                   Armen Harutyunyan
Acting Deputy Registrar                  President

___________

APPENDIX
List of applications raising complaints under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
(excessive length of administrative proceedings)

No. Application no.
Date of introduction
Applicant’s name
Year of birth
 
Start of proceedings End of proceedings Total length
Levels of jurisdiction
Domestic award in respect of non-pecuniary damage
(in euros)
Amount awarded for non-pecuniary damage
(in euros)[1] [2]
1. 45689/21
01/09/2021
(4 applicants)
Milena MEDAK
1964
Bernadica BARBARIĆ
1966
Katica ĆAVAR-ZVONC
1969
Dijana LOGOŽAR
1975
27/12/2012 pending more than 9 years,
4 months and 24 days
2 levels of jurisdiction
Constitutional Court AP-2643/19 03/02/2021:
violation
256
2,400
jointly to all four applicants
2. 46524/21
01/09/2021
Ante ČULO
1968
27/12/2012 pending more than 9 years,
4 months and 24 days
2 levels of jurisdiction
Constitutional Court AP-2643/19 03/02/2021:
violation
256
2,400
3. 46542/21
01/09/2021
Mate ĆAVAR
1974
27/12/2012 pending more than 9 years,
4 months and 24 days
2 levels of jurisdiction
Constitutional Court AP-2643/19 03/02/2021:
violation
256
2,400
4. 46636/21
01/09/2021
(5 applicants)
Anđa ĆAVAR
1936
Marija KRČELIĆ-KUŠIĆ
1964
Mira KUKEC
1962
Ivanka NOVAK
1970
Anka TOMLJANOVIĆ
1959
27/12/2012 pending more than 9 years,
4 months and 24 days
2 levels of jurisdiction
Constitutional Court AP-2643/19 03/02/2021:
violation
256
2,400
jointly to all five applicants

[1] Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.
[2] Less any amounts which may have already been paid in that regard at the domestic level.

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