FIRST SECTION

CASE OF BULAT v. CROATIA

(Application no. 10438/02)

JUDGMENT

(Friendly settlement)

STRASBOURG

21 October 2004

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

 

In the case of Bulat v. Croatia,

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:

Mr C.L. Rozakis, President
 Mr P. Lorenzen
 Mr G. Bonello
 Mrs F. Tulkens
 Mrs N. Vajić
 Mrs E. Steiner, 
 Mr K. Hajiyev, judges
and Mr S. Quesada, Deputy Section Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 30 September 2004,

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

PROCEDURE

1.  The case originated in an application (no. 10438/02) against the Republic of Croatia lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by two Croatian nationals, Ms Marija Bulat and Mr Slaven Bulat (“the applicants”), on 31 October 2001.

2.  The applicants were represented by Ms B. Paprić, a lawyer practising in Osijek, Croatia. The Croatian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Ms L. Lukina-Karajković.

3.  The applicants complained that the enactment of the Civil Obligations (Amendments) Act 1999 violated their right of access to court guaranteed by Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.

4.  By a decision of 11 December 2003 the Court declared the applicants’ complaint admissible.

5.  On 11 and 23 March 2004 the Government and the applicant, respectively submitted formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.

THE FACTS

6.  The applicants were born in 1960 and 1982, respectively and live in Ivanovac, Croatia.

7.  On 20 November 1991 a member of the Croatian Army allegedly shot at the second applicant and killed his father and grandfather. The first applicant is the second applicant’s mother.

8.  On 19 February 1996 the applicants instituted civil proceedings before the Osijek Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Osijeku) seeking damages from the Republic of Croatia.

9.  Pursuant to the Civil Obligations (Amendments) Act 1999 (Zakon o dopunama Zakona o obveznim odnosima, Official Gazette no. 112/1999), the Osijek Municipal Court stayed the proceedings on 13 November 2000.

10.  The proceedings resumed on 1 September 2003 pursuant to the “Damage Caused by Members of the Croatian Army and Police during the Homeland War Act 2003” (Zakon o odgovornosti Republike Hrvatske za štetu uzrokovanu od pripadnika Hrvatskih oružanih i redarstvenih snaga tijekom Domovinskog rata, Official Gazette no. 117/2003).

THE LAW

11.  On 11 March 2004 the Court received the following declaration signed by the Government’s Agent:

“I declare that, with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case, the Government of Croatia offer to pay ex gratia EUR 10,000 to Ms Marija Bulat and Mr Slaven Bulat. This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, converted into the national currency on the date of payment and free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of delivery of the judgment by the Court pursuant to the Article 39 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This payment will constitute the final resolution of the case.

In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay, until settlement, simple interest on the amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

The Government further undertake not to request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 § 1 of the Convention.”

12.  On 23 March 2004 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:

“I note that the Government of Croatia are prepared to pay ex gratia the sum of EUR 10,000 covering pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, converted into national currency on the date of payment and free of any taxes that may be applicable, to Ms Marija Bulat and Mr Slaven Bulat with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

The applicants accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Croatia in respect of the facts of this application. The applicants declare that this constitutes a final settlement of the case.

This declaration is made in the context of a friendly settlement which the Government and the applicant have reached.

The applicants further undertake not to request that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber under Article 43 § 1 of the Convention after delivery of the Court’s judgment.”

13.  The Court takes note of the agreement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention). It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention and Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court).

14.  Accordingly, the case should be struck out of its list of cases.

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY

1.  Decides to strike the case out of its list of cases;

2.  Takes note of the parties’ undertaking not to request a rehearing of the case before the Grand Chamber.

Done in English, and notified in writing on 21 October 2004, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Santiago Quesada Christos Rozakis 
 Deputy Registrar President


BULAT v. CROATIA (FRIENDLY SETTLEMENT) JUDGMENT


BULAT v. CROATIA (FRIENDLY SETTLEMENT) JUDGMENT