Application no. 33866/02
by Stevan and Nadežda ŠVAGONJA
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 10 March 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mr P. Lorenzen,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Quesada, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 9 July 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 partial decision of 22 January 2002,
Having regard to the respondent Government's letter dated 8 November 2004, and the applicant's representative's letter dated 19 August 2004,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicants, Mr Stevan Švagonja and Ms Nadežda Švagonja, are Croatian nationals who were born in 1923 and 1934 respectively and live in Bjelovar. They were represented before the Court by Mr M. Mihočević, a lawyer practising with the Nobilo-Mlinarić Chambers, Zagreb. The respondent Government were represented by their Agents, Ms L. Lukina-Karajković and Ms S. Stažnik.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 29 August 1992 the applicants' house in Višnjevac was blown up by unknown perpetrators.
On 17 January 1996 Parliament introduced an amendment to the Civil Obligations Act (Zakon o izmjeni zakona o obveznim odnosima, Official Gazette no. 7/1996; “the 1996 Amendments”). It provided that all proceedings concerning actions for damages resulting from terrorist acts were to be stayed pending the enactment of new legislation.
On 19 April 1999 the applicants filed a civil action in the Bjelovar Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Bjelovaru) seeking damages for their destroyed property from the State.
On 28 May 1999 the court stayed the proceedings pursuant to the above legislation.
On 14 July 2003 Parliament introduced the Act on Liability for Damage Resulting from Terrorist Acts and Public Demonstrations (Zakon o odgovornosti za štetu nastalu uslijed terorističkih akata i javnih demonstracija, Official Gazette no. 117/2003; “the 2003 Liability Act”).
On 9 February 2004 the proceedings were resumed. However, the Bjelovar Municipal Court found that it had no jurisdiction in the matter and dismissed the applicant's claim as inadmissible. On 1 April 2004 the Bjelovar County Court (Županijski sud u Bjelovaru) upheld that decision and dismissed the applicant's appeal.
The applicants maintained that Parliament's enactment of the 1996 legislation interfered with their right of access to a court within the meaning of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention.
By letter of 8 November 2004 the Government informed the Court that they accepted the proposal for a friendly settlement and that the Government would pay the applicants 10,000 euros in full and final settlement of the applicants' claim under the Convention, costs and expenses included.
On 19 August 2004 the applicants' representative informed the Court that the parties had reached a settlement whereby the applicants waived any further claims against Croatia in respect of the facts of the present application.
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention) and considers that the matter has been resolved within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (b) 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 Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court). Accordingly, the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention to the case should be discontinued and the case struck out of the list.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention.
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Santiago Quesada Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President
ŠVAGONJA v. CROATIA DECISION
ŠVAGONJA v. CROATIA (NO. 2) DECISION