Application No. 35638/97
                      by W. M.
                      against Germany

     The European Commission of Human Rights (First Chamber) sitting
in private on 2 July 1997, the following members being present:

           Mrs.  J. LIDDY, President
           MM.   M.P. PELLONPÄÄ
                 E. BUSUTTIL
                 A. WEITZEL
                 C.L. ROZAKIS
                 L. LOUCAIDES
                 B. CONFORTI
                 N. BRATZA
                 I. BÉKÉS
                 G. RESS
                 A. PERENIC
                 C. BÎRSAN
                 K. HERNDL
                 M. VILA AMIGÓ
           Mrs.  M. HION
           Mr.   R. NICOLINI

           Mrs.  M.F. BUQUICCHIO, Secretary to the Chamber

     Having regard to Article 25 of the Convention for the Protection
of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms;

     Having regard to the application introduced on 19 January 1997
by W.M. against Germany and registered on 16 April 1997 under file No.

     Having regard to the report provided for in Rule 47 of the Rules
of Procedure of the Commission;

     Having deliberated;

     Decides as follows:


     The applicant, born in 1941, is a German national and resident
in Krefeld. In the proceedings before the Commission, he is represented
by Mr. Schultz, a lawyer practising in Cologne.

     The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicant, may be
summarised as follows.

     In 1985 proceedings for the forced sale by auction were brought
by a banking institute which concerned real estate owned by the
applicant, including a parcel of land with a house occupied by the

     On 4 July 1994 the Krefeld District Court (Amtsgericht) decided
that the estate should be sold (Zuschlagsbeschluß) to the banking
institute which had made the highest offer.

     On 30 November 1995 the Krefeld Regional Court (Landgericht)
dismissed the applicant's appeal against the decision of 4 July 1994.
However, upon the applicant's petition under S. 765a of the Code of
Civil Procedure (Zivilprozeßordnung), it temporarily stayed the
execution proceedings.

     S. 765a para. 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that, on
application by the debtor, the court in execution proceedings may
wholly or in part suspend, prohibit or temporarily stay a measure of
enforcement, if the measure, after full examination of the creditor's
need for protection, is found because of very exceptional circumstances
to involve a hardship incompatible with equity.

     In its decision, the Regional Court, having regard to a
psychiatric expert opinion, found that there was a serious risk of the
applicant's committing suicide if he were to be forcibly evicted.
According to the expert, the applicant was depressive as a result of
his serious financial losses and suffering from an abuse of
medicaments. The Regional Court, referring to the case-law of the
Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), considered
that, in such a situation, the debtor's right to life outweighed the
interests of the creditor in pursuing the execution proceedings. In the
circumstances of the applicant's case, the Regional Court found a stay
of execution for a period of six months appropriate in order to permit
the applicant to undergo medical and psychiatric treatment. The
applicant was ordered to start such treatment immediately.

     On 20 March 1996 the Düsseldorf Court of Appeal
(Oberlandesgericht) dismissed both the applicant's and the creditor's

     On 22 May 1996 the Federal Constitutional Court refused to
entertain the applicant's constitutional complaint

     On 19 June 1996 the Krefeld District Court, upon the applicant's
request, again temporarily stayed the execution proceedings and ordered
the taking of new expert evidence as to the question of the applicant's
suicidal tendencies and possible treatment.

     On 19 July 1996 the Krefeld District Court dismissed the
applicant's request for a further stay of the execution. The District
Court noted the findings of the expert according to which the risk of
the applicant's committing suicide persisted, while the applicant had
not undertaken any steps with a view to a medical treatment of his
problems. The District Court considered that the applicant's conduct
could not result in a permanent stay of the execution.

     On 8 October 1996 the Krefeld Regional Court dismissed the
applicant's appeal. The Regional Court found that the risk of suicide
was only one element in balancing the debtor's and the creditor's
competing interests. While in the present case there still existed a
serious risk that the applicant would commit suicide if forcibly
evicted, the applicant had failed to undergo a psychiatric treatment
which, as confirmed by the expert, was in principle possible if
accepted by the applicant. Moreover, the applicant had never paid any
compensation for the use of the house, but had only offered such
payment for the future. The Regional Court concluded that, having
regard to all circumstances, it was evident that the applicant had
attempted to obstruct the execution proceedings by all means.

     On 20 December 1996 the Federal Constitutional Court refused to
entertain the applicant's constitutional complaint. The decision was
served upon his counsel on 10 January 1997.


     The applicant complains under Article 2 of the Convention that
the German court decisions refusing his request for a further stay of
the execution proceedings entail a risk of his committing suicide. He
refers to the Commission's decision of 13 December 1971 (No. 5207/71,
Collection 39, p. 99).


     The application was introduced on 29 January 1997.

     On 6 February 1997 the President refused the applicant's request
for interim measures pursuant to Rule 36 of the Commission's Rules of

     The application was registered on 16 April 1997.


     The applicant complains that German court decisions refusing a
further stay of execution proceedings, as a result of which he will be
evicted from his place of residence, amount to a violation of Article 2
(Art. 2) of the Convention.

     Article 2 (Art. 2) of the Convention provides, inter alia, as

     "Everyone's right to life shall be protected by law."

     The Commission recalls that this provision imposes on the
Contracting States an obligation to take appropriate steps to protect
life (cf. No. 9348/81, Dec. 28.2.83, D.R. 32, p. 190; No. 11604/85,
Dec. 10.10.86, D.R. 50, p. 259). The Commission has also had regard to
its decisions on Application No. 5207/71, concerning complaints under
Articles 2 and 3 (Art. 2, 3) of the Convention about the German courts'
refusal to order a stay of the forced eviction of an elderly lady. This
application, declared admissible in 1971, was later rejected under
Article 29 (Art. 29) for abuse of the right of petition as it was
merely designed to evade obligations under domestic law (Dec. 1.6.72,
Collection 42, p. 85).

     In the present case, the competent German courts, having taken
medical expert evidence, did grant the applicant's first request for
a stay of execution in order to permit him to undergo psychiatric
treatment. After expiry of the six-months stay of the execution, the
applicant applied for a prolongation. Having again taken expert
evidence, the Krefeld District Court dismissed this request. It found
that, while a risk of suicide persisted, the applicant had failed to
take any steps with a view to his treatment. However, his conduct could
not result in a permanent stay of the execution. This decision was
confirmed upon appeal by the Krefeld Regional Court, after having
carefully balanced the applicant's and the creditor's competing
interests. The Regional Court concluded that the applicant had merely
attempted to obstruct the forced sale by auction.

     In these circumstances, the Commission is satisfied that the
German courts examined the applicant's health and conduct with
sufficient care. There is no indication that the continuation of the
execution proceedings in question would as such amount to a deprivation
of the applicant's life or exclude that other appropriate and adequate
steps be taken to safeguard his life within the meaning of Article 2
para. 1 (Art. 2-1) of the Convention.

     Accordingly, there is no appearance of a breach of the
obligations of the German authorities under Article 2 para. 1
(Art. 2-1) of the Convention.

     It follows that the application is manifestly ill-founded within
the meaning of Article 27 para. 2 (Art. 27-2) of the Convention.

     For these reasons, the Commission, unanimously,


  M.F. BUQUICCHIO                                 J. LIDDY
     Secretary                                    President
to the First Chamber                         of the First Chamber