AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
Application no. 3952/04
by Pavlo Volodymyrovych SOLOSHENKO
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting on 15 November 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr J.-P. Costa, President,
Mr I. Cabral Barreto,
Mr V. Butkevych,
Mrs A. Mularoni,
Mrs E. Fura-Sandström,
Ms D. Jočienė,
Mr D. Popović, judges,
and Mrs S. Dollé, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 11 December 2003,
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,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Pavlo Volodymyrovych Soloshenko, is a Ukrainian national who was born in 1958 and lives in the town of Bogodukhiv, the Kharkiv region, Ukraine.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
In October 2002 the applicant instituted proceedings in the Bogodukhiv City Court against the Kharkiv Regional Department of Chernobyl Affairs, seeking recovery of food allowance arrears (an extraordinary compensation for food expenses) for the period from 1 December 2001 until 31 December 2002, to which he was entitled having been a relief worker during the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Plant disaster. On 4 February 2003 the court ordered the department to pay the applicant UAH 921.841 in compensation.
On 25 March 2003 the court issued a writ of execution for the judgment.
On 5 May 2003 the same court granted the department an extension of the time-limit for lodging its appeal against the judgment. The applicant did not appeal against that decision.
On 24 June 2003 the Kharkiv Regional Court of Appeal upheld the judgment of 4 February 2003. The decision of 24 June 2003 was not appealed in cassation.
On 17 July 2003 the applicant submitted to the Dzerzhynsk Local Bailiffs’ Service of Kharkiv the writ of execution for the judgement of 4 February 2003, seeking initiation of the enforcement proceedings.
On 18 July 2003 the Bailiffs’ Service postponed initiation of those proceedings on the ground that the writ of execution did not contain information about the debtor’s bank accounts. It sent the writ to the Bogodukhiv City Court for corrections to be made by 28 July 2003.
According to the Government, the Bogodukhiv City Court issued another writ in respect of the judgment at issue on 1 December 2003.
On 9 February 2004 the Bailiffs’ Service instituted enforcement proceedings.
On 18 October 2004 the Bailiffs’ Service discontinued the enforcement proceedings in the light of the full execution of the judgment of 4 February 2003.
The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 about the length of the non-enforcement of the judgment of the Bogodukhiv City Court of 4 February 2003.
A. The Government’s preliminary objections
The Government raised objections regarding the applicant’s victim status and exhaustion of domestic remedies similar to those which the Court has already dismissed in the case of Romashov v. Ukraine (see Romashov v. Ukraine, no. 67534/01, §§ 23-33, 27 July 2004). The Court considers that the present objections must be rejected for the same reasons.
B. Admissibility of the applicant’s complaints
The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 about the failure of the State authorities to enforce the judgment of the Bogodukhiv City Court of 4 February 2003 in due time.
Article 6 § 1 of the Convention provides as relevant:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention provides as relevant:
“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 preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest.”
The Government contended that the delay in the enforcement of the judgment of 4 February 2003 did not exceed the “reasonable time” requirement contained in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, as the Bailiffs’ Service had been responsible for its enforcement from 1 December 2003 until 18 October 2004. They therefore proposed that the application be declared inadmissible.
The Court observes that the applicant submitted to the Bailiffs’ Service the writ of execution for the judgment of 4 February 2003 on 17 July 2003. On 18 July 2003 the Bailiffs’ Service refused to initiate enforcement proceedings because of the incomplete information contained in the writ. The Court notes that that writ was issued by the Bogodukhiv City Court. The Bailiffs’ Service sent the writ back to the Bogodukhiv City Court, but not to the applicant. The applicant therefore cannot be held responsible either for the errors in the writ or the stay in the enforcement proceedings, caused by these errors. The Court further observes that the Government have not provided an explanation as to why the Bogodukhiv City Court failed to submit the corrected version of the writ by the date set by the Bailiffs’ Service.
Given the above considerations, the Court is of the opinion that the State was responsible for the enforcement of the judgment of 4 February 2003 for the period from 17 July 2003, the date on which the applicant submitted the writ of execution to the Bailiffs’ Service, until 18 October 2004, the date on which the enforcement proceedings were completed.
However, this period lasted around one year and three months. The Court notes that this period is not so excessive as to raise an arguable claim under the Convention. Furthermore, it is observed that the judgment debt did not concern the applicant’s basic subsistence and there were no other special, urgent circumstances that would lead to the conclusion that the delay in the enforcement of the judgment was unreasonable. It follows that the application is manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3, and must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.
S. Dollé J.-P. Costa
SOLOSHENKO v. UKRAINE DECISION
SOLOSHENKO v. UKRAINE DECISION