FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 39753/98 
by Erich KÖNIG 
against Slovakia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 13 May 2003 as a Chamber composed of

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr M. Pellonpää
 Mrs V. Strážnická
 Mr R. Maruste
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr L. Garlicki, 
 Mr J. Borrego Borrego, judges
and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights on 19 May 1997,

Having regard to Article 5 § 2 of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention, by which the competence to examine the application was transferred to the Court,

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 FACTS

The applicant, Mr Erich König, is a Slovakian national, who was born in 1970. He is serving a sentence in the Ružomberok prison. He was represented before the Court by Mr M. Kuzma, a lawyer practising in Košice. The respondent Government were represented by Mr P. Vršanský, their Agent.

A.  The circumstances of the case

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

On 17 October 1995 at 9.00 a.m. the applicant was apprehended and handcuffed by the police. While doing so the police had recourse to self-defence holds. A record was drawn up on the same day indicating that the police had proceeded pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Police Act of 1993 and that the applicant had suffered no injury.

After his arrest the applicant was interrogated by the criminal police in Spišská Nová Ves. He was suspected of having murdered a taxi driver the day before. The police refused to notify the applicant’s parents and to arrange for a lawyer to attend the interrogation.

The applicant submits that he first stated that on 16 October 1995 the car in which he had driven together with the taxi driver had been stopped by two masked men one of whom had shot the driver. The applicant was then forced to drive one of the perpetrators to Spišská Nová Ves. After the latter had got out, the applicant returned to the place of the incident. He tried to put the driver into the car but found that he was dead. The applicant drove away in panic and several kilometers further he accidentally damaged the car while driving down a slope. The applicant ran away, changed his clothes and hid the pistol which the perpetrator had left in the car. He indicated where the clothes and the pistol were hidden.

According to the applicant, the police did not accept his above statement and forced him to admit that the driver had been killed in the course of an altercation with the applicant. They beat the applicant on his face while he was handcuffed. The police threatened the applicant that they would question his mother who suffered from a heart disease, and that a witness would make a statement to the effect that he had killed the taxi driver. After twelve hours the applicant stated that the driver had been shot accidentally while they had a dispute about paying the bill for the drive. The statement was recorded on a tape and the applicant signed a written record which had been typed in his absence.

On 18 October 1995 the applicant was brought before an investigator in Košice who accused him of murder on the ground that he had killed the taxi driver with three shots from a pistol which he unlawfully possessed. The applicant reiterated, in the presence of his lawyer, the confession which he had made in Spišská Nová Ves.

On the same day the applicant was heard, in the presence of his lawyer, by a judge of the Košice I District Court who remanded him in custody. The applicant stated that the shot had been fired accidentally when he and the taxi driver had fought for the pistol which the applicant had worn and which he had earlier bought from an unknown person. The applicant stated that he regretted the incident and explained that prior to it he had taken medicaments and that he had also drunk alcoholic beverages.

The applicant submits that he did not withdraw his second statement in which he admitted that the taxi driver had been shot in the course of an altercation with him as he feared that a witness could be manipulated to make a statement against him as indicated by the police on 17 October 1995.

On 16 November 1995 the police investigator accused the applicant also of the unauthorised carrying of a weapon and of damaging the property of others. The latter accusation was based on the applicant’s statements of 17 and 18 October 1995 and indicated that he had let the car slide down a slope. On 8 December 1995 the criminal proceedings in this respect were discontinued as the investigation had shown that the applicant had driven the car off the road accidentally without the intention to damage it.

In the course of the preliminary proceedings the applicant twice informed the investigator that he did not wish to participate in the crime scene reconstruction.

Subsequently the Regional Prosecutor in Košice indicted the applicant for murder and unauthorised possession of a weapon before the Košice Regional Court.

In the course of the trial proceedings the applicant changed his version of the facts in that he alleged that the offence had been committed by two unknown men.

Hearings before the Košice Regional Court were held on 4 and 20 September 1996, on 31 October 1996 and on 24 February 1997.

On 31 October 1996 and on 7 November 1996 the applicant challenged the Regional Court judges on the ground that he had been restricted in asking questions the investigator and one of the policemen who had examined him on 17 October 1995, and in commenting on their statements, and that the presiding judge had refused to include this fact in the record of the hearing. He also complained that the judges, without any relevant reason, had asked witnesses questions concerning his financial situation.

On 23 January 1997 the Supreme Court found that the Regional Court judges dealing with the case were not biased. The decision stated that the applicant was free to have recourse to remedies provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure to the extent that he considered that the case had not been proceeded with in accordance with the relevant law. The Supreme Court held that the applicant’s objections in this respect did not justify the conclusion that the judges lacked impartiality.

On 24 February 1997 the Košice Regional Court convicted the applicant of murder and of the unauthorised carrying of a weapon and sentenced him to twelve and a half years’ imprisonment. The court established that the applicant had killed a taxi driver with three shots from a pistol on 16 October 1995 following a dispute concerning the payment of the bill.

The Regional Court noted that at the preliminary stage the applicant had admitted the actions for which he had been indicted and that in the course of the trial proceedings he had denied his confession and alleged that the murder had been committed by two unknown men.

The court heard the investigator, several forensic experts and witnesses. It also had before it comprehensive documentary evidence including a handwritten note found in the driver’s clothes. It indicated the places the driver had visited together with the applicant and included reference to a “loaded pistol”. The court held that the statements of witnesses, the conclusions of experts as well as the documentary evidence available corresponded to the applicant’s original description of the events. It also noted that the applicant had himself indicated to the police where he had hidden the pistol and the garments which he had worn when the taxi driver had been killed.

The court heard the police officers from Spišská Nová Ves who had interrogated the applicant on 17 October 1995. The judges also consulted a video-recording of the interrogation. The policemen involved denied any use of force or threats. The court found unreliable the applicant’s allegations in this respect. It noted, in particular, that he had made the same statements, in the presence of his lawyer, before the police investigator in Košice without any alleged threats. The judgment stated that the applicant’s new version of the facts was inconsistent and contrary to the evidence available.

The presiding judge restricted the applicant in asking questions the investigator and the policemen. He also refused to record the applicant’s comments on the fact that one of the policemen had failed to explain a discrepancy in the record of his confession of 17 October 1995. The record indicated that the applicant had let the car slide down a slope. However, the subsequent investigation showed that the car had been damaged accidentally while the applicant was driving it. In the applicant’s view, this discrepancy proved that his statement of 17 October 1995 had been extorted from him. The applicant proposed that an expert opinion be ordered with a view to establishing how the car had been damaged.

In his final speech the applicant challenged the presiding judge on the ground that he had restricted his right to question witnesses. He also requested that he should be released from detention.

On 25 April and on 14 June 1997 the applicant appealed. He alleged that the first instance court had not established the facts correctly and that its judgment was arbitrary. The applicant complained that his proposal to order an expert opinion on how the car had been damaged had not been granted and that the presiding judge had refused to include in the record his comments on the failure of one of the policemen from Spišská Nová Ves to explain an inaccuracy in the record of 17 October 1995.

In a letter dated 12 May 1997 the applicant informed the presiding judge of the Košice Regional Court that he maintained his request for release from detention on remand of 24 February 1997.

On 2 July 1997 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. It found that the Regional Court had established all relevant facts with sufficient certainty and had assessed them correctly from the legal point of view. In the Supreme Court’s view, the Regional Court had thoroughly analysed the evidence available and expressly indicated in its judgment which facts it considered to have been established as well as the reasons for its conclusions. The Supreme Court stated that it entirely shared the first instance court’s view as regards both the establishment of the relevant facts of the case and their legal assessment. 

As to the complaint about the presiding judge’s refusal to include certain submissions in the record, the Supreme Court noted that the applicant could have requested that this issue be determined by the whole chamber of the first instance court in accordance with Section 203 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

The Supreme Court did not accept the applicant’s argument that he had been forced to make a confession as he had been assisted by his lawyer while the relevant evidence had been taken by the investigator. Finally, the Supreme Court considered manifestly ill-founded the applicant’s arguments concerning the circumstances under which the car had been damaged.

In the meantime, on 25 June 1997 the applicant complained to the Inspection Service of the Ministry of the Interior about the police who had questioned him on 17 October 1995 and the investigator who had subsequently dealt with the case. The applicant alleged, in particular, that two members of the criminal police in Spišská Nová Ves had slapped him in the face, that they had forced him to stand during the examination, and that they had threatened that they would summon and question his mother who was an invalid. The applicant further stated that, as a result, a confession had been extorted from him on the basis of which he had been indicted.

On 16 July 1997 the Supervision Department of the Ministry of the Interior replied to the applicant that the assessment of evidence and of the way in which it was obtained was within the power of the courts.

On 1 September 1997 the applicant lodged a constitutional complaint for which he submitted further reasons on 18 October 1997. He complained that he had been tortured by the police after his arrest, that he had been prosecuted and detained unlawfully and that his right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time had been violated.

On 29 October 1997 and on 25 March 1998 respectively the president of the Košice Regional Court and the Ministry of Justice admitted, in reply to the applicant’s complaint, that no decision had been taken on his application for release lodged at the hearing before the Regional Court on 24 February 1997.

On 3 June 1998 the Constitutional Court rejected the applicant’s complaint on the ground that it lacked power to interfere with proceedings before ordinary courts. 

On 30 November 1998 the General Prosecutor’s Office informed the applicant that no reason for filing a complaint in the interest of the law on his behalf had been found. The letter addressed in detail all the applicant’s allegations concerning the alleged unfairness of the criminal proceedings. It stated, inter alia, that the police record of the applicant’s initial examination containing his confession had been drawn up prior to the institution of the criminal proceedings. As such, it was not included in the court’s file as evidence against the applicant. The letter further stated that in the course of the preliminary proceedings the applicant had made the same statement in the presence of his lawyer on four occasions.

In a decision delivered on 21 November 1999 the Košice Inspection Department of the Ministry of the Interior found no reason for bringing criminal proceedings against the police who had allegedly ill-treated the applicant on 17 October 1995. The decision stated, with reference to the applicant’s submissions, to statements by the policemen concerned, and to the proceedings before the court leading to the applicant’s conviction, that there existed no indication that the policemen had acted unlawfully while examining the applicant.

On 6 December 1999 the applicant appealed. He alleged that the police had extorted the confession from him. In particular, they had threatened him that a witness would give evidence against him in case he did not admit that the taxi driver had been shot in the course of an altercation with him.

On 27 December 1999 a public prosecutor at the Košice I District Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the applicant’s complaint. The decision stated that the applicant had failed to substantiate his allegations and that there was no indication that the police had had recourse to force or threats while hearing him.

B.  Relevant domestic law and practice

Code of Criminal Procedure

Section 203 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure provides that a person who considers that the presiding judge has restricted his or her rights in the course of the main hearing can request that the issue be determined by the whole panel of judges sitting in the case. Such a request as well as the decision taken on it is to be entered in the record of the hearing.

The State Liability Act of 1969

Section 1 (1) of Act No. 58/1969 on the liability of the State for damage caused by a State organ’s decision or by its erroneous official action (Zákon o zodpovednosti za škodu spôsobenú rozhodnutím orgánu štátu alebo jeho nesprávnym úradným postupom - “the State Liability Act”) provides that the State is liable for damage caused by unlawful decisions delivered by a public authority in the context of civil, administrative or criminal proceedings with the exception of decisions which concern deprivation of liberty and imposition of a penalty.

Section 5 (1) provides that a person who is deprived of liberty is entitled to compensation when the criminal proceedings against him or her are dropped or when he or she is acquitted. However, under paragraph 2 (a) of Section 5, such compensation is excluded when the person concerned is responsible for his or her detention in that, in particular, he or she tried to abscond or otherwise gave rise to facts on which the decision concerning the detention was based.

Section 18 (1) renders the State liable for damage caused in the context of carrying out functions vested in public authorities which results from erroneous official actions of persons entrusted with the exercise of these functions. A claim for compensation can be granted when the plaintiff shows that he or she suffered damage as a result of an erroneous action of a public authority, quantifies its amount, and shows that there is a causal link between the damage and the erroneous action in question.

Under the domestic courts’ practice, the State Liability Act of 1969 does not allow for compensation for non-pecuniary damage unless it is related to deterioration of a person’s health. In such cases the amount of compensation is governed by Regulation No. 32/1965 (see also Žiačik v. Slovakia, no. 43377/98, § 30, 7 January 2003, unreported) . 

Regulation No. 32/1965

Regulation No. 32/1965 governs compensation for damage caused to a person’s health. Section 2 provides for compensation for pain resulting from damage to a person’s health, subsequent medical treatment and the elimination of the effects of damage to health. The amount of the compensation is to be determined in accordance with the principles and rates attached to the regulation.

Under paragraph 2 of Section 2, compensation for pain is not payable in cases of simple psychic reactions affecting a person’s health which are of a passing character or for short-term changes in a person’s health which do not require medical treatment or which cannot be established in an objective manner.

COMPLAINTS

1. The applicant complained under Article 3 of the Convention that after his arrest on 17 October 1995 he had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by the police in Spišská Nová Ves.

2. Under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention the applicant complained that the Slovakian authorities had failed to decide on his application for release of 24 February 1997.

3. The applicant complained under Article 6 §§ 1 and 2 of the Convention that the criminal proceedings against him had not been fair and that his conviction was arbitrary. In particular, he alleged that the conviction was based on his confession extorted by the police and that the courts had disregarded the arguments for the defence.

4. Under Article 6 § 3 (a) of the Convention the applicant complained that he had not been informed of any relevant reasons for the accusation against him.

5. The applicant alleged a violation of Article 6 § 3 (d) in that, at the hearing before the Košice Regional Court, he had been restricted in asking questions to the investigator and to the policemen who had interrogated him on 17 October 1995.

THE LAW

1. The applicant complained that after his arrest on 17 October 1995 he had been subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment by the police in Spišská Nová Ves. He relied on Article 3 of the Convention which provides:

“No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

The Government argued that the applicant had not exhausted domestic remedies as he had neither filed a criminal complaint against the police who had allegedly ill-treated him, nor had he claimed compensation under the State Liability Act of 1969 in this respect. Furthermore, the application was to be rejected for the applicant’s failure to respect the six months’ time-limit laid down in Article 35 § 1 of the Convention. In their view, the applicant’s complaint in this respect was in any event unsubstantiated.

The applicant maintained that he had exhausted domestic remedies as he had complained about the conduct to the police to the Inspection Service of the Ministry of the Interior. The latter dismissed his complaint on 16 July 1997, that is after he had filed his application with the Court. The applicant concluded that this complaint cannot, therefore, be rejected as having been lodged out of time.

The Court notes that the applicant complained about misconduct of the police. On 21 November 1999 the Košice Inspection Department of the Ministry of the Interior found no reason for bringing criminal proceedings against the policemen concerned, and on 27 December 1999 a public prosecutor at the Košice I District Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the applicant’s complaint against this decision. Accordingly, the final decision in respect of this complaint was delivered after the introduction of the application. This part of the application cannot, therefore, be rejected as having been introduced out of time.

The Court does not consider it necessary to determine whether domestic remedies have been exhausted since, in any event, the evidence submitted does not sufficiently substantiate this grievance so as to disclose either an appearance of treatment meeting the definition of treatment proscribed by Article 3 (see, e.g., the Raninen v. Finland judgment of 16 December 1997, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997-VIII, pp. 2821 et seq., §§ 55 et seq.) or a failure on the part of the authorities to investigate suspected treatment of such nature.

It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

2. The applicant complained that the Slovakian authorities had failed to decide on his application for release of 24 February 1997. He invoked Article 5 § 4 of the Convention which provides:

“Everyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of his detention shall be decided speedily by a court and his release ordered if the detention is not lawful.”

The Government contended that the applicant had failed to exhaust domestic remedies as he had not filed a claim for damages under the State Liability Act of 1969.

The applicant maintained that the remedy invoked by the Government was not effective.

The Court recalls that the right to take proceedings by which the lawfulness of one’s detention be decided speedily by a court is not the same as the right to receive compensation for detention or for any erroneous action in this context (see, mutatis mutandis, Yagci and Sargin v. Turkey, judgment of 8 June 1995, Series A no. 319-A, § 44; Tomasi v. France, judgment of 28 July 1992, Series A no. 241-A, § 79 and Simsek v. Turkey, no. 28010/95, Commission’s report of 1 March 1999).

Furthermore, the State Liability Act of 1969 requires that a claimant show that he or she suffered damage as a result of an erroneous action of a public authority, quantify its amount, and show that there is a causal link between the damage and the erroneous action in question. According to the information available, compensation for damage of non-pecuniary nature is excluded with the exception of cases where damage to a person’s health was caused.

In these circumstances, the Court does not accept that this remedy is capable of providing appropriate protection for the right to take proceedings with a view to having the lawfulness of one’s detention determined speedily by a court guaranteed by Article 5 § 4 of the Convention and that it offers reasonable prospects of success as required by the relevant case-law (see the Deweer v. Belgium judgment of 27 February 1980, Series A no. 35, pp. 16-17, § 29, the Akdivar and Others v. Turkey judgment of 16 September 1996, Reports 1996-IV, p. 1211, § 68 and also Remšíková v. Slovakia (dec.), no. 46843/99, 7 December 2000 and Havala v. Slovakia (dec.), no. 47804/99, 13 September 2001. Accordingly, this part of the application cannot be declared inadmissible for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

As to the merits, the Government admitted that the applicant’s request for release had not been decided upon speedily as required by Article 5 § 4 of the Convention.

The Court considers, in the light of the parties’ submissions, that the complaint raises serious issues of fact and law under the Convention, the determination of which requires an examination of the merits. The Court concludes therefore that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 of the Convention. No other ground for declaring it inadmissible has been established.

3. The applicant complained that the criminal proceedings against him had been unfair. He relied on Article 6 §§ 1, 2, 3 (a) and (d) of the Convention the relevant parts of which provide:

“1.  In the determination of ... any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by a[n] ... tribunal established by law...

2.  Everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law.

3.  Everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights:

(a)  to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him; ...

(d)  to examine or have examined witnesses against him and to obtain the attendance and examination of witnesses on his behalf under the same conditions as witnesses against him; ...”

The Government first objected that the applicant had failed to exhaust domestic remedies as he had not claimed compensation under the State Liability Act of 1969.

The applicant contended that the remedy invoked by the Government was not effective since it was not capable of redressing the alleged violation of his rights under Article 6 of the Convention.

The Court notes that the applicant’s complaints relate to alleged shortcomings in criminal proceedings which resulted in judicial decisions convicting him of two offences. Section 1 of the State Liability Act of 1969 read in conjunction with Section 4 (1) of that Act reserves the right to compensation only in respect of decisions which have been quashed as being unlawful. However, the judicial decisions complained of have not been quashed. In any event, for reasons stated above the Court considers that the applicant was not required to use this remedy prior to introducing his application.

a) The applicant complained under Article 6 §§ 1 and 6 § 3 (d) of the Convention that the criminal proceedings against him had not been fair and that his conviction was arbitrary. In particular, he alleged that the conviction was based on his confession extorted by the police and that the courts had disregarded the arguments for the defence. The applicant also alleged that at the hearing before the Košice Regional Court he had been restricted in asking questions the policemen who had interrogated him on 17 October 1995 and the investigator.

The Government maintained that the proceedings had been in conformity with the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention. They submitted that the applicant had had an ample opportunity to submit his arguments to the courts and that his rights of defence had not been unduly restricted.

The applicant disagreed. He argued, in particular, that at the hearing held on 31 October 1996 the investigator had not satisfactorily replied to his questions concerning the conclusion that the applicant and the taxi driver had had a row concerning the payment for the drive and that the presiding judge had refused to enter the applicant’s additional question on that issue in the record. Similarly, the presiding judge had refused to record the applicant’s question to one of the policemen by whom he had been heard on 17 October 1995 which concerned the circumstances under which the car had been damaged. Finally, the applicant alleged that the courts had relied on his statement made at the preliminary stage without verifying whether it was supported by the relevant evidence.

According to Article 19 of the Convention, the Court’s duty is to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the Contracting Parties to the Convention. In particular, it is not its function to deal with errors of fact or law allegedly committed by a national court unless and in so far as they may have infringed rights and freedoms protected by the Convention. Moreover, while Article 6 of the Convention guarantees the right to a fair hearing, it does not lay down any rules on the admissibility of evidence or the way it should be assessed, which are therefore primarily matters for regulation by national law and the national courts (see the Schenk v. Switzerland judgment of 12 July 1988, Series A no. 140, p. 29, §§ 45-46 and García Ruiz v. Spain [GC], no. 30544/96, § 27, ECHR 1999-I).

In the present case the Košice Regional Court found that the statements of witnesses and conclusions of forensic experts, as well as the documentary evidence available, corresponded to the description of the events which the applicant had repeatedly made in the presence of his lawyer in the preliminary proceedings. It considered inconsistent the applicant’s new version of the facts and found no indication that the confession had been extorted from the applicant in the course of the preliminary proceedings. 

Subsequently the Supreme Court found that the Regional Court had established all relevant facts with sufficient certainty and had assessed them correctly from the legal point of view. In the Supreme Court’s view, the Regional Court had thoroughly analysed the evidence available and expressly indicated in its judgment which facts it considered established, as well as the reasons for its conclusions. The Supreme Court further noted that, as regards the presiding judge’s refusal to include certain submissions into the record, the applicant should have requested that this issue be determined by the whole chamber of the first instance court in accordance with Section 203 (3) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.

In the Court’s view, the domestic courts duly established the facts of the case having regard to both the evidence available and the applicant’s arguments. They gave sufficient and relevant reasons for their decisions which do not appear arbitrary.

The applicant was assisted by a defence counsel throughout the proceedings. In the light of the information available, the Court does not share the applicant’s view that the Regional Court unduly restricted his rights under Article 6 of the Convention in that the presiding judge did not allow him to ask additional questions the investigator and one of the policemen by whom he had been heard on 17 October 1995.

It follows that these complaints are manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

b) The applicant further complained under Article 6 § 2 of the Convention that his right to be presumed innocent had been infringed as a result of his conviction for offences which he had not committed.

The Court recalls that Article 6 § 2 guarantees to everybody the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty in accordance with the law. It has found above that the proceedings leading to the applicant’s conviction were neither unfair nor arbitrary, and there is no indication in the documents before it that the authorities dealing with the case expressed the opinion that the applicant was guilty of an offence contrary to the requirements of Article 6 § 2 of the Convention.

It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

c) Under Article 6 § 3 (a) of the Convention the applicant complained that he had not been informed of any relevant reasons for the accusation against him.

The documents before the Court indicate that the applicant was informed of the accusation against him, in the presence of his lawyer, on 18 October 1995, that is the day following his apprehension. The fact that the applicant disagreed with the reasons for such an accusation or that he considered them to be insufficient does not raise an issue under Article 6 § 3 (a) of the Convention as that issue was to be determined by courts in the ensuing criminal proceedings.

It follows that this complaint is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares admissible, without prejudging the merits, the applicant’s complaint under Article 5 § 4 of the Convention concerning the failure to decide on his application for release of 24 February 1997;

Declares inadmissible the remainder of the application.

Michael O’Boyle Nicolas bratza 
 Registrar President

KÖNIG v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


KÖNIG v. SLOVAKIA DECISION