In the Woukam Moudefo case*,

*  Note by the Registry: The case is numbered 12/1987/135/189.
   The second figure indicates the year in which the case was referred
   to the Court and the first figure its place on the list of cases
   referred in that year; the last two figures indicate, respectively,
   the case's order on the list of cases and of originating applications
   (to the Commission) referred to the Court since its creation.

The European Court of Human Rights, sitting, in accordance with
Article 43 (art. 43) of the Convention for the Protection of Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") and the relevant
provisions of the Rules of Court, as a Chamber composed of the
following judges:

        Mr  R. Ryssdal, President,
        Mr  J. Pinheiro Farinha,
        Mr  L.-E. Pettiti,
        Sir Vincent Evans,
        Mr  C. Russo,
        Mr  J.A. Carrillo Salcedo,
        Mr  N. Valticos,

and also of Mr M.-A. Eissen, Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 27 August and 7 October 1988,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the
last-mentioned date:


1.      The case was referred to the Court by the European Commission
of Human Rights ("the Commission") on 16 October 1987, within the
three-month period laid down in Article 32 para. 1 and Article 47
(art. 32-1, art. 47) of the Convention.  It originated in an
application (no. 10868/84) against the Republic of France lodged with
the Commission under Article 25 (art. 25) by
Mr Gabriel Woukam Moudefo, a Cameroon national, on 8 September 1983.

The Commission's request referred to Articles 44 and 48 (art. 44,
art. 48) and to the declaration whereby France recognised the
compulsory jurisdiction of the Court (Article 46) (art. 46).  The
object of the request was to obtain a decision from the Court as to
whether the facts of the case disclosed a breach by the respondent
State of its obligations under Article 5 paras. 3 and 4 and Article 6 para. 1
(art. 5-3, art. 5-4, art. 6-1).

2.      In response to the enquiry made in accordance with
Rule 33 para. 3 (d) of the Rules of Court, the applicant stated that he
wished to take part in the proceedings pending before the Court and
designated the lawyers who would represent him (Rule 30).

3.      The Chamber to be constituted included ex officio
Mr L.-E. Pettiti, the elected judge of French nationality (Article 43
of the Convention) (art. 43), and Mr R. Ryssdal, the President of
the Court (Rule 21 para. 3 (b)).  On 30 November 1987, in the presence of
the Registrar, the President drew by lot the names of the other five
members, namely Sir Vincent Evans, Mr C. Russo, Mr R. Bernhardt,
Mr J.A. Carrillo Salcedo and Mr N. Valticos (Article 43 in fine of the
Convention and Rule 21 para. 4) (art. 43).  Subsequently,
Mr J. Pinheiro Farinha, substitute judge, replaced Mr Bernhardt, who
was unable to attend (Rules 22 para. 1 and 24 para. 1).

4.      Mr Ryssdal assumed the office of President of the Chamber
(Rule 21 para. 5) and, through the Registrar, consulted the Agent of the
French Government ("the Government"), the Delegate of the Commission
and the applicant's lawyers on the need for a written procedure
(Rule 37 para. 1).  In accordance with the order made in consequence, the
Registrar received the Government's memorial on 8 April 1988 and the
applicant's memorial on 21 April 1988.

In a letter received on 17 May, the Secretary to the Commission
informed the Registrar that the Delegate would submit his observations
at the hearing.

5.      Having consulted, through the Registrar, those who would be
appearing before the Court, the President directed on 18 May that the
oral proceedings should open on 27 September 1988 (Rule 38).

6.      On 12 July the applicant's lawyers submitted a declaration by
their client stating that he agreed to "withdraw" from the proceedings
subject to the payment of compensation under the terms proposed by the
respondent State.

For his part, the Agent of the Government wrote to the Registrar
on 22 July to ask whether or not the Court could accept this friendly
settlement and, accordingly, strike the case out of its list pursuant
to Rule 48 para. 2.

The Delegate of the Commission was consulted and stated on 5 August
that he did not wish to formulate any observations.

Consequently, on 27 August the Court decided to cancel the hearing
which was to have been held on 27 September.


7.      Mr Woukam Moudefo is a Cameroon national and was born in 1951.
He lives at present in Douala.

On 1 October 1980, when residing in France, in the Paris area, he was
arrested by the police on suspicion of having taken part in an armed
bank robbery at Saint-Brice-sous-Forêt (Val-d'Oise) on 28 March 1980.
Two days after his arrest, he appeared in Pontoise before an
investigating judge who ordered his detention on remand and charged
him with aggravated theft and attempted murder.

8.      The applicant submitted a number of applications for release
from detention, in at least some of which he relied, inter alia, on
the Convention.  He submitted seven such applications to the
investigating judge, all of which were rejected (19 December 1980,
21 February 1981, 22 May 1981, 23 June 1981, 10 July 1981,
18 December 1981 and 2 April 1982).  He appealed unsuccessfully
against two of these decisions to the Indictments Chamber (chambre
d'accusation) of the Versailles Court of Appeal (judgments of
13 August 1981 and 27 April 1982).  In addition he applied directly to
this Chamber on four occasions in accordance with either Article 148-4
or Article 196-1 paras. 2 and 3 (the latter repealed by an Act of
10 June 1983) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, but these
applications also failed (judgments of 3 July 1981, 24 February 1982,
8 June 1982 and 4 January 1983).  Finally, he appealed against two of
the Indictments Chamber's judgments, those of 27 April 1982
and 4 January 1983, to the Court of Cassation, which dismissed his
appeals on 4 June 1982 and 12 April 1983.

9.      Before lodging his second appeal to the Court of Cassation,
the applicant had, on 7 January 1983, asked the President of the
Conseil d'Etat and the Court of Cassation Bar Association to appoint a
lawyer to act for him.  On 13 January the President replied to him that
in criminal proceedings the services of a lawyer were not obligatory.
He added however that he proposed to request a colleague to examine
the case and that he would appoint defence counsel if a genuine ground
of appeal were found to exist.

Consequently, Mr Woukam Moudefo lodged the above-mentioned appeal
himself on 26 January and his own written pleadings on 3 February.
The President of the Bar Association, to whom he had again written on
29 March and 12 May, confirmed to him on 12 April that he had asked a
colleague to examine the case and then, on 17 May, that the lawyer
concerned had been unable to find a ground which could be usefully
relied upon.  He stated further that the Criminal Chamber of the Court
of Cassation had dismissed the appeal on 12 April (the date of the
previous letter).

10.     On 26 December 1983, the investigating judge ordered the
applicant's discharge on the ground that there was insufficient
evidence against him.

The applicant, who was detained in Loos (Nord) in connection with
another matter, was released from detention on 18 January 1984.
On 20 June 1984 he lodged a claim with the Compensation Board of the
Court of Cassation for compensation on the basis of Article 149 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure.  According to this provision: "...
compensation may be granted to a person who has been held in detention
on remand during proceedings terminated by a decision discharging him
 ... which has become final, where such detention has caused him damage
of a clearly exceptional and particularly serious nature".

By a decision of 21 February 1986, in which no reasons were stated,
the Compensation Board awarded the applicant 30,000 French francs
(FF).  In his submissions, the procureur général (State Prosecutor)
acknowledged that "the length of the detention on remand" in question
- approximately three years and three months - appeared "manifestly


11.     In his application of 8 September 1983 to the Commission
(no. 10868/84), Mr Woukam Moudefo complained of the length of both his
detention on remand (Article 5 para. 3 of the Convention) (art. 5-3)
and the criminal proceedings in question (Article 6 para. 1) (art. 6-1).
He further relied on the fact that he had not received the assistance
of a lawyer in the Court of Cassation (Article 6 para. 3 (c)) (art. 6-3-c).

12.     The Commission declared the application admissible on
21 January 1987.  It stated however that, in its view, the complaint
under Article 6 para. 3 (c) (art. 6-3-c) should in fact be dealt with
under Article 5 para. 4 (art. 5-4).

In its report of 8 July 1987 (Article 31) (art. 31), it found a breach of
Articles 5 para. 3 and 6 para. 1 (art. 5-3, art. 6-1) (by eleven votes, with
one abstention) and of Article 5 para. 4 (art. 5-4) (by six votes to five,
with one abstention).  The full text of the Commission's opinion and
of the two separate opinions accompanying it is reproduced as an annex
to this judgment.


13.     In his memorial Mr Woukam Moudefo asked the Court to find that
he had "been the victim of a breach by France of Articles 5 para. 3, 5 para. 4
and 6 para. 1 (art. 5-3, art. 5-4, art. 6-1) of the Convention" and
to award him just satisfaction under Article 50 (art. 50).
The Government in their memorial requested the Court to "declare the
application ... inadmissible" with regard to Articles 5 para. 3 and 6 para. 1
(art. 5-3, art. 6-1), on the ground that he was no longer a "victim"
or for failure to exhaust domestic remedies, and to find that there
had been no breach of Article 5 para. 4 (art. 5-4).


14.     By a declaration communicated to the Registrar on 12 July 1988
(see paragraph 6 above), the applicant stated that he accepted the
compensation of 134,000 FF which the French Government were offering
him.  This sum was to be in addition to the 30,000 FF which had been
awarded him in 1986 on the basis of Article 149 of the Code of
Criminal Procedure (see paragraph 10 above).  He acknowledged that it
would "constitute full and final compensation for all of the pecuniary
and non-pecuniary damage alleged" by him and would "also cover in
their entirety the legal and other costs incurred [by him]".  He
therefore agreed, "subject to payment" of the above-mentioned sum, to
"withdraw" from the proceedings pending before the Court and "not to
take any further action against France in this matter in national or
international courts".  He noted that the payment would take place "as
soon as the Court has decided to strike the case out of its list".

For their part, the Government asked the Court whether or not it could
accept this solution and apply Rule 48 para. 2, according to which

"When the Chamber is informed of a friendly settlement ..., it may,
after consulting, if necessary, ... the Delegates of the Commission
 ..., strike the case out of the list."

The Delegate of the Commission was consulted and submitted no

15.     The Court takes formal note of the friendly settlement reached
by the Government and the applicant.  In view of its responsibilities
under Article 19 (art. 19) of the Convention, it would nevertheless
be open to the Court to disregard this settlement if a reason of
public policy appeared to necessitate such a course (Rule 48 para. 4).

In this connection, the Court notes in the first place that it has had
to review the length of detention on remand or of criminal proceedings
as to their "reasonableness" (Articles 5 para. 3 and 6 para. 1 of the
Convention) (art. 5-3, art. 6-1) in several previous cases (see the
following judgments: Wemhoff, 27 June 1968; Neumeister, 27 June 1968;
Stögmüller, 10 November 1969; Matznetter, 10 November 1969; Ringeisen,
16 July 1971; Eckle, 15 July 1982; Foti and Others, 10 December 1982;
Corigliano, 10 December 1982; Baggetta, 25 June 1987; and Milasi,
25 June 1987, Series A nos. 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 51, 56, 57, 118-B and
118-C respectively).  In so doing, it clarified the nature and extent
of the obligations undertaken in these areas by the Contracting

As regards Mr Woukam Moudefo's complaint under Article 6 para. 3 (c)
(art. 6-3-c) - considered by the Commission under Article 5 para. 4
(art. 5-4) - relating to the lack of defence counsel in the Court of
Cassation (see paragraphs 9, 11 and 12 above), the Court's case-law
already provides some guidance for the interpretation of these two

Accordingly it is appropriate to strike the case out of the list.


Decides to strike the case out of the list.

Done in English and in French, and notified in writing under
Rule 54 para. 2, second sub-paragraph, of the Rules of Court,
on 11 October 1988.

Signed: Rolv RYSSDAL

Signed: Marc-André EISSEN