CASE OF ELČIĆ AND OTHERS v. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA (European Court of Human Rights)

FOURTH SECTION

CASE OF ELČIĆ AND OTHERS v. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
(Application no. 34524/15 and 5 others -see appended list)

JUDGMENT
STRASBOURG
17 January 2019

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

In the case of Elčić 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,
PéterPaczolay, judges,
and LivTigerstedtActingDeputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 13 December 2018,

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 Mr M. Alić, a lawyer practising in Tešanj.

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

I.  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.

II.  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.

III.  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,

1.  Decides to join the applications;

2.  Declaresthe applications admissible;

3.  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;

4.  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;

5.  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 17 January 2019, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

LivTigerstedt                                                               Georges Ravarani
ActingDeputy Registrar                                                             President

 

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

 

Relevant domestic decision Start 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]

1. 34524/15

19/06/2015

Maida Elčić

28/06/1966

Tešanj First Instance Court, 30/07/2008

 

05/04/2010

 

pending

More than 8 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 17 day(s)

 

1,000 350
2. 34525/15

19/06/2015

MuhamedHasičić

19/07/1966

Tešanj First Instance Court, 03/07/2008

 

05/04/2010

 

pending

More than 8 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 17 day(s)

 

1,000 350
3. 61598/15

04/12/2015

FehimMusić

04/02/1971

Zenica Cantonal Court,

05/06/2008

 

Zenica First Instance Court, 31/12/2012

 

30/10/2008

 

 

 

08/04/2014

 

pending

More than 10 year(s) and 23 day(s)

 

pending

More than 4 year(s) and 7 month(s) and 14 day(s)

 

1,000 350
4. 61602/15

04/12/2015

HasibDuraković

18/05/1976

Zenica First Instance Court, 29/09/2006

 

30/10/2008

 

pending

More than 10 year(s) and 23 day(s)

 

1,000 350
5. 61607/15

04/12/2015

DževadSmaka

06/02/1969

Zenica Cantonal Court,
05/06/2008
30/10/2008

 

pending

More than 10 year(s) and 23 day(s)

 

1,000 350
6. 61613/15

04/12/2015

JozoJaković

19/12/1968

Zenica First Instance Court, 29/09/2006

 

30/10/2008

 

pending

More than 10 year(s) and 23 day(s)

 

1,000 350

[1].  Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.

[2].  Plus any tax that may be chargeable to the applicants.

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