Application no. 57582/00
by Miroslav ŠEGITA
The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 8 June 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Sir Nicolas Bratza, President,
Mr J. Casadevall,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mr M. Pellonpää,
Mr K. Traja,
Mr S. Pavlovschi,
Mr J. Šikuta, judges,
and Mr T.L. early, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 11 May 2000,
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 Miroslav Šegita, is a Slovakian national who was born in 1970 and lives in Senec. He was represented before the Court by Mr R. Schwarz, a lawyer practising in Bratislava. The Government of the Slovak Republic (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs A. Poláčková
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
1. The background to the case
At the relevant time the applicant was a member of a special unit of the police corps.
On 31 August 1995 Mr M. Kováč, the son of the then President of the Slovak Republic, was forcibly brought from Slovakia to an Austrian village in the vicinity of the Slovakian border.
The Slovakian police started an investigation into the incident and expressed the view that several offences had been committed in that context.
On 3 March 1998 and on 7 July 1998 Mr. V. Mečiar, the Prime Minister who then exercised several powers entrusted to the President of the Slovak Republic, delivered two amnesty decisions. In them it was ordered not to bring, and to discontinue, any proceedings concerning possible criminal offences committed in the context of the forcible abduction of Mr Kováč. The decisions were published in the Collection of Laws.
On 18 September 1998 the police investigator decided not to pursue the case concerning the above offences which, as the decision stated, had been committed by unknown perpetrators. Reference was made to the presidential amnesty decision of 7 July 1998.
On 8 December 1998 the newly appointed Prime Minister, Mr M. Dzurinda, in his capacity as Acting President of Slovakia, delivered a new amnesty decision in the above case. Under the decision of 8 December 1998, the parts of the earlier decisions concerning the non-commencement and discontinuance of any proceedings concerning possible criminal offences committed in the context of the abduction of Mr Kováč were to be revoked.
2. Criminal proceedings against the applicant and his detention on remand
After the relevant parts of the above decisions on presidential amnesty of 3 March 1998 and of 7 July 1998 had been revoked, a police investigator, on 19 October 1999, accused the applicant of several offences on the ground that he had been involved in the abduction of Mr Kováč in 1995.
In a decision given on 21 October 1999 the Bratislava I District Court detained the applicant on remand with effect from 20 October 1999. The Bratislava Regional Court dismissed the applicant’s complaint on 20 January 2000.
On 7 March 2000 the Bratislava I District Court released the applicant from detention on remand. On 30 March 2000 the Bratislava Regional Court dismissed the public prosecutor’s complaint against this decision.
On 27 November 2000 the applicant and several other persons were indicted on several offences before the Bratislava III District Court.
On 29 June 2001 the District Court discontinued the criminal proceedings. It stated, with reference to decisions given by the Constitutional Court, that the Prime Minister’s decision of 8 December 1998 to revoke the relevant provisions of his predecessor’s decision to grant an amnesty in relation to the offences imputed to the applicant and his co-accused was null and void.
On 5 June 2002 the Bratislava Regional Court dismissed the public prosecutor’s complaint against this decision. The General Prosecutor filed a complaint in the interests of the law. That complaint was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 20 December 2002. The Supreme Court shared the lower courts’ view that the investigator’s decision not to pursue the case delivered on 18 September 1998 was final.
3. Alleged interference with the applicant’s right to be presumed innocent
The applicant pointed out that, while the criminal proceedings had been pending, high-ranking public officials had made numerous statements indicating that the accused persons had committed the offences imputed to them.
B. Relevant domestic law and practice
The relevant domestic law and practice are set out in detail in Lexa v. Slovakia (dec.), no. 54334/00, 5 July 2005).
1. The applicant complained that his prosecution following the amnesty of 3 March and 7 July 1998 had not been permissible under Slovakian law and that, therefore, his detention on remand in this context had not been in accordance with a procedure prescribed by law. He relied on Article 5 § 1 of the Convention.
2. Under Article 6 § 1 the applicant complained that his right to a fair trial had been violated in that he had been prosecuted unlawfully.
3. The applicant alleged a violation of Article 6 § 2 of the Convention in that public officials had repeatedly stated that the accused persons of whom he was one had committed the offences in issue.
4. Under Article 4 § 1 of Protocol No. 7 the applicant complained that he had been prosecuted notwithstanding that the investigator had decided not to pursue the case as a result of the amnesty of 3 March and 7 July 1998.
The Court observes that by a letter of 20 January 2006 the applicant was invited to reply, by 6 March 2006, to the observations of the Government on the above application and to submit any claims for just satisfaction.
By a registered letter of 3 April 2006 the Registrar of the Fourth Section informed the applicant that the period allowed for submission of his observations in reply and claims for just satisfaction had expired and that no extension of time had been requested. The applicant’s attention was drawn to Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention which provides that:
“The Court may at any stage of the proceedings decide to strike an application out of its list of cases where the circumstances lead to the conclusion that
(a) the applicant does not intend to pursue his application...
However, the Court shall continue the examination of the application if respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and the Protocols thereto so requires.”
A postal delivery report (avis de réception) returned to the Court indicates that the registered letter of 3 April 2006 had been received by the applicant’s representative on 10 April 2006.
The Court has received no reply to the above letters.
In the light of the above, the Court considers that the applicant does not intend to pursue his application. The Court also considers that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention does not require it to continue the examination of the case. The application should therefore be struck out of the list of cases in accordance with Article 37 § 1 (a) of the Convention.
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.
T.L. Early Nicolas Bratza
ŠEGITA v. SLOVAKIA DECISION
ŠEGITA v. SLOVAKIA DECISION