Application no. 20295/02
by Slavko JAZBINŠEK
The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 23 May 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr B.M. Zupančič,
Mr L. Caflisch,
Mr C. Bîrsan,
Mrs A. Gyulumyan,
Mr E. Myjer,
Mr David Thór Björgvinsson, judges,
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 11 May 2002,
Having regard to the decision to apply Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and examine the admissibility and merits of the case together,
Having regard to the formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Slavko Jazbinšek, is a Slovenian national who was born in 1920 and lives in Šentjur. He is represented before the Court by Mrs M. Nosan, a lawyer practising in Celje.
The Slovenian Government (“the Government”) are represented by their Agent, Mr L. Bembič, State Attorney-General.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
1. First set of proceedings
On 26 June 1986 the applicant and his wife instituted civil proceedings with the Celje Basic Court, Šentjur Unit (Temeljno sodišče v Celju, Enota v Šentjurju pri Celju) against the Šentjur Municipality and the Šentjur-Centre Local Community demanding that the defendants immediately stop an expansion of a cemetery towards their front yard and seeking damages in the amount of 100,000 tolars.
On 14 January 1992 the court rejected the applicants’ claims. They appealed.
On 18 March 1992 the Celje Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Celju) allowed the appeal in part and remanded a part of the case to the first-instance court for re-examination.
On 14 April 1992 the applicants lodged an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče).
On 10 December 1992 the court allowed the appeal and remanded the entire case to the first-instance court for re-examination.
The first-instance court scheduled a hearing for 6 July 1994, which was cancelled at the request of the applicant.
On 1 January 1995 the Celje District Court (Okrožno sodišče v Celju) gained jurisdiction in the present case due to the reform of the Slovenian judicial system.
Between 29 November 1996 and 21 September 1998, the applicant made four requests that a date be set for a hearing or lodged rush notices.
Between 23 December 1996 and 10 November 2003, the applicant lodged nine preliminary written submissions.
Of the nine hearings held between 24 September 1997 and 18 March 2005, one was adjourned at the request of the applicant. And additional scheduled hearing was cancelled at the request of the applicant.
During the proceedings, the court appointed three experts.
At the last hearing, the court decided to deliver a written judgment. The judgment, upholding the applicants’ claim in part, was served on the applicants on 10 or 11 July 2005.
On 11 July 2005 the applicants appealed to the Celje Higher Court (Višje sodišče v Celju). One of their adversaries cross-appealed.
The case is still pending before the Celje Higer Court.
2. Second set of proceedings
On 27 September 1995 the Šentjur pri Celju Administrative Unit (Upravna Enota Šentjur pri Celju, AU) issued a permit for use of land to expand a graveyard to the Šentjur Municipality. The decision was served on the applicant on 2 December 1996.
On 11 December 1996 the applicants appealed.
On 7 January 1997 AU rejected the applicants’ appeal for being too late.
On 27 May 1996 SCAU issued a building permit to the Javno podjetje Komunala Šentjur (JPKS), a company who intended to carry out the expansion of the cemetery. The decision was served on the applicant on 23 January 1997.
The applicant appealed.
On 2 February 1997 the AU rejected the appeal for being too late.
On 21 January 1997 and 8 February 1997 respectively the applicants appealed against both AU’s decisions to the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning (Ministrstvo za okolje in prostor, “the Ministry”).
On 23 March 1998 the appeals were allowed and the case remitted to AU to consider the appeal as a request for reopening of proceedings.
On 21 May 1998 the Šentjur Municipality and JPKS instituted separate administrative disputes challenging the decision of the Ministry.
On 14 March 2000 the Administrative Court (Upravno sodišče) rejected both claims.
On 29 May 2000 the Šentjur Municipality appealed to the Supreme Court (Vrhovno sodišče) which rejected the appeal on 24 September 2003.
On 30 October 2003 the AU issued a decision to reopen the proceedings concerning the issuing of land use and building permits.
The applicant appealed against this decision to the Ministry. The appeal was apparently dismissed on 9 January 2004.
On 14 January 2004 the proceedings were reopened.
On 25 May 2004 the AU annulled the land use and building permits.
The decision was served on 1 June 2004.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of the proceedings before the domestic courts to which he was a party was excessive. In substance, he also complained about the lack of an effective domestic remedy in respect of the excessive length of the proceedings (Article 13).
On 23 March 2006 the Court received the following declaration from the Government:
“I, Lucijan Bembič, Agent of the Republic of Slovenia, declare that the Government of Slovenia offer to pay ex gratia 3,400 euros to Slavko Jazbinšek with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, and it will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights...”
On 20 March 2006 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:
“I, Slavko Jazbinšek, note that the Government of Slovenia are prepared to pay me ex gratia the sum of 3,400 euros with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.
This sum is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses and will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights...
We accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Slovenia in respect of the facts of this application. We declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case...”
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).
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Vincent Berger John
JAZBINŠEK v. SLOVENIA DECISION
JAZBINŠEK v. SLOVENIA DECISION