AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
Application no. 24535/04
by Lyubov Grigoryevna YEREMENKO
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 23 May 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mrs E. Steiner,
Mr K. Hajiyev,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 16 June 2004,
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 observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Lyubov Grigoryevna Yeremenko, is a Russian national who was born in 1949 and lives in Taganrog. She was represented before the Court by Ms I. Trofimova, a lawyer practising in Taganrog. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr P. Laptev, the Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
A. Judicial proceedings against the Ministry of Finance and enforcement proceedings
The applicant moved from Chechnya to the Rostov Region due to military hostilities in Chechnya. She left her flat and other property in Chechnya.
In December 1999 the Rostov Regional administration approved payment of compensation for the lost housing. The compensation was paid to the applicant in March 2001.
The applicant considered that the value of the compensation had significantly decreased because it had taken the administration almost two years to pay it. She sued the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation for the damage caused by the delay in payment of the compensation.
On 5 August 2002 the Justice of the Peace of the 2nd Circuit of the Leninskiy District of Rostov-on-Don granted the applicant’s action and awarded her 22,268.31 Russian roubles (RUR, approximately 715 euros).
That judgment was upheld on appeal by the Leninskiy District Court of Rostov-on-Don on 13 September 2002 and the applicant sent a writ of execution to the Ministry of Finance on 23 October 2003.
On 25 December 2004 the Ministry of Finance transferred the judgment debt to the applicant’s bank account. However, five days later, the bank returned the sum to the Ministry of Finance because the applicant had closed her account.
On 23 March 2005 the applicant sent a registered letter to the Ministry of Finance informing it of her new bank account. As it follows from the acknowledgment of receipt, the applicant’s letter reached the Ministry of Finance on 4 April 2005.
On 16 August 2005 the judgement debt was paid to the applicant.
B. Proceedings for adjustment of the judgment debt
In August 2005 the applicant sued the Ministry of Finance for RUR 11,377.85 (approximately EUR 326) as compensation for the damage caused by depreciation of the value of the judgment debt as a result of non-enforcement from July 2002 to July 2005.
On 19 September 2005 the Justice of the Peace of the 2nd Circuit of the Leninskiy District of Rostov-on-Don granted the applicant’s action and awarded her RUR 10,169.71 (approximately EUR 293).
The judgment of 19 September 2005 was not appealed against and became final on 30 September 2005. Three days later the Leninskiy District Court issued the applicant with a writ of execution.
On 11 October 2005 the applicant submitted the writ of execution to the Ministry of Finance and on 24 December 2005 she received the money.
The applicant complained under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 that the judgment of 5 August 2002, as upheld on appeal on 13 September 2002, had not been enforced in good time.
The applicant complained under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 about the authorities’ failure to timeously enforce the judgment of 5 August 2002, as upheld on appeal on 13 September 2002. The relevant parts of these provisions read as follows:
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing within a reasonable time... 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 Government submitted that the judgment had been fully enforced. They also pointed out that non-enforcement of the judgment after 25 December 2004 was attributable to the applicant as she had failed to inform the Ministry of Finance about her new bank account.
The applicant responded that she had not been apprised of the transfer of money on her bank account in December 2004. She had only learnt of this transfer in June 2005. After she had informed the Ministry of Finance of her new bank account in March 2005, it had taken them five more months to enforce the judgment. In any event, no objective cause could account for almost three years’ delay in enforcement.
The Court finds that it is not necessary to examine the arguments presented by the parties as the complaint about non-enforcement of the judgment of 5 August 2002 is in any event inadmissible for the following reasons. Under Article 34 of the Convention the Court is entitled to receive applications from persons, non-governmental organisations or groups of individuals “claiming to be the victim of a violation” by a High Contracting Party of the rights contained in the Convention and its Protocols. In situations where an alleged violation has already occurred, subsequent events can give rise to a loss of the status of “victim”, provided that the national authorities have acknowledged, either expressly or in substance, and then afforded redress for, the breach of the Convention (see, among other authorities, Amuur v. France, judgment of 25 June 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-III, p. 846, § 36). Accordingly, in principle, where domestic proceedings include an admission of the breach by the national authorities and the payment of a sum of money amounting to redress, the dual requirements established in Amuur are satisfied and the applicant can no longer claim to be a victim of a violation of the Convention (see Rechachi and Abdelhafid v. the United Kingdom (dec.), no. 55554/00, 10 June 2003).
Turning to the facts of the present case, the Court observes that the judgment of 5 August 2002, as upheld by the decision of 13 September 2002, was fully enforced in August 2005. Subsequently, the applicant sued the Ministry of Finance for compensation for damage caused by the delay in enforcement of that judgment. By the judgment of 19 September 2005, which became final on 30 September 2005, the domestic court granted her claim, acknowledging the delay and ordering the Ministry of Finance to pay the applicant RUR 10,169.71 for depreciation of the value of the judgment debt of 5 August 2002. The sum was paid to the applicant on 24 December 2005, that is less than three months after the judgment of 19 September 2005 had become final.
The Court also observes that the applicant did not appeal against the judgment of 19 September 2005. Thus it appears that the applicant did not object to the amount of compensation awarded by the domestic court.
Having regard to the content of the judgment of 19 September 2005, the applicant’s unwillingness to appeal against it and the fact that it was enforced within a relatively short period of time, the Court finds that the national authorities have acknowledged, and then afforded redress for, the alleged breach of the Convention.
It follows that the applicant can no longer claim to be the victim of a violation of the Convention within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention (cf. Khaziyev v. Russia (dec.), no. 15193/03, 10 November 2005) and that the application is to be rejected, pursuant to Articles 34 and 35 §§ 3 and 4.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and declares the application inadmissible.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis
YEREMENKO v. RUSSIA DECISION
YEREMENKO v. RUSSIA DECISION