THIRD SECTION

FINAL DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 68368/01 
by Ljubomir BOŽINOVSKI 
against the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

The European Court of Human Rights (Third Section), sitting on 1 February 2005 as a Chamber composed of:

Mr B.M. Zupančič, President
 Mr J. Hedigan
 Mr L. Caflisch
 Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska
 Mr V. Zagrebelsky
 Mr E. Myjer, 
 Mr David Thór Björgvinsson, judges
and Mr V. Berger, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 4 April 2001,

Having regard to the partial decision of 6 December 2001,

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 Ljubomir Bozinovski, is a national of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, who was born in 1934 and lives in Skopje.

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

On an unspecified date the applicant's niece Ms D. instituted civil proceedings with the Skopje Municipal Court disputing the applicant's title to a part of a house.

On 25 November 1991 the Skopje Municipal Court granted Ms D.'s claim. It found that her late father, who was the applicant's brother, with the knowledge of the previous owner of the house, had invested a considerable amount of money for its refurbishment and, thereby, he had acquired a title to part of the house in accordance with the relevant provision of the Law on Property. On 9 September 1992 the Skopje County Court upheld the above judgment.

On 15 April 1993 the Supreme Court quashed the lower courts' judgments. It referred the case back for re-examination to the Skopje Municipal Court and instructed it to order an expert valuation whereby the value of Ms D.'s father's investment would be determined in a precise manner.

On 11 April 1996 the experts submitted their report. They concluded that Ms D.'s late father's investment represented 71% of the value of the relevant part of the house after its refurbishment.

At the hearing of 7 May 1997 several witnesses appeared before the Skopje Municipal Court.

On 12 May 1997 the applicant made written submissions to the court. It objected to the expert report and requested that an additional expert report be prepared in respect of the value of the investment made by Ms D.'s late father.

A hearing was held on 13 June 1997 before the Skopje Municipal Court.

In November 1997 the applicant was served with the additional expert report.

On 16 February 1998 the applicant objected to the additional expert report and asked the court to appoint new experts. From the applicant's submissions it appears that the court did not grant his request.

Another hearing was held on 9 March 1998 before the Skopje Municipal Court.

On 5 July 1999 the Skopje Municipal Court granted Ms D.'s claim, as it found, on the basis of the witnesses' statements, expert report and additional expert report, that her late father had obtained the title to the disputed part of the house on the basis of the investment made.

On 27 March 2000 the applicant lodged a complaint with the Skopje Appellate Court. He complained, inter alia, that the lower court assessed the evidence wrongly and refused to appoint new experts.

On 29 June 2000 the Skopje Appellate Court rejected the applicant's appeal. It held, inter alia, that the expert report covered all the important issues, that on the applicant's request an additional expert report had been prepared and that the report was corroborated with other evidence.

The applicant received the judgment on 15 August 2000.

COMPLAINT

The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention about the length of the proceedings.

THE LAW

The applicant complained that the proceedings were unreasonably long, invoking Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that provides as relevant:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal ...”

The Government submitted that the applicant had submitted his application outside the six-month time-limit. They pointed out that the decision of the Appellate Court was received by the applicant on 15 August 2000 whereas his application form was dated 4 April 2001, some eight months later.

The applicant submitted that he had fully complied with Article 35 § 1 of the Convention. He had received the final decision on 15 August 2000 and had submitted his application on 30 January 2001, less than six months later.

The Court recalls that, pursuant to Article 35 § 1 of the Convention, the Court may only deal with a matter "within a period of six months from the date on which the final decision was taken". The running of the six-month time-limit is, as a general rule, interrupted by the first letter from the applicant indicating an intention to lodge an application and giving some indication of the nature of the complaints made. As regards complaints not included in the initial communication, the running of the six-month time-limit is not interrupted until the date when the complaint is first submitted to the Court.

In the present case, the six-month period began to run from 15 August 2000 when the decision of the Skopje Appellate Court was received by the applicant. The applicant's complaint about the length of the proceedings was only mentioned in an application form dated 4 April 2001. While it is true that an earlier application form had been submitted by the applicant dated 30 January 2001, this did not include any explanation from the applicant as to the alleged violations in his case and merely annexed the documents from the domestic proceedings. The Court is not persuaded that the provision of the documents from the proceedings is sufficient to constitute an introduction of all subsequent complaints based on those proceedings. Some indication of the nature of the alleged violation under the Convention is required to introduce a complaint and thereby interrupt the running of the six-month time-limit.

It follows that the remainder of the application is inadmissible for non-compliance with the six months' rule set out in Article 35 § 1 of the Convention and that it must be rejected pursuant to Article 35 § 4.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

Vincent Berger Boštjan M. Zupančič 
 Registrar President

BO INOVSKI v. THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA DECISION


BOŽINOVSKI v. THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA DECISION