FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

Application no. 73532/01 
by Ladislav SISÁK 
against Slovakia

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

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr J. Casadevall
 Mr M. Pellonpää
 Mr R. Maruste
 Mr S. Pavlovschi
 Mr J. Borrego Borrego, 
 Mr J. Šikuta, judges
and Mr M. O'Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 1 July 2001,

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 formal declarations accepting a friendly settlement of the case.

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicant, Mr Ladislav Sisák, is a Slovakian national, who was born in 1929 and lives in Košice. The respondent Government were represented by Mr P. Kresák, their agent, and Mrs M. Pirošíková, the co-agent.

A.  The circumstances of the case

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

On 10 January 1994 the applicant lodged an action against the Košice branch of the State Administration of Forests with the Košice vidiek District Court (Okresný súd). He asserted that the defendant had used his agricultural land in the period from June 1991 to December 1993 without a good title and claimed an amount of money by way of compensation.

On 28 April 1995 a payment order (platobný rozkaz) was issued in the applicant's favour and subsequently quashed on the defendant's protest (odpor). The District Court then held 8 hearings.

In the meantime, on 27 November 2001, on the applicant's petition (podnet) under Article 130 § 3 of the Constitution as then in force, the Constitutional Court found that the District Court had violated the applicant's right under Article 48 § 2 of the Constitution to a hearing without unjustified delay. However, at that time, the Constitutional Court lacked jurisdiction to draw any legal consequences from the finding.

On 24 January 2003 the applicant seized the Constitutional Court with a fresh complaint (sťažnosť) under Article 127 of the Constitution, as amended from 1 January 2002. He maintained that, despite the Constitutional Court's above finding of 27 November 2001, there were recurring unjustified delays in his proceedings. He firstly sought a ruling by the Constitutional Court ordering that the District Court proceed with his case speedily and secondly claimed an amount of money by way of just satisfaction.

On 19 February 2003 the Constitutional Court declared the complaint inadmissible. It held that the power to order that an authority proceed with a case speedily and the power to award just satisfaction were accessory to a finding of a violation of the right to a hearing without unjustified delay. These powers had been bestowed upon the Constitutional Court with effect from 1 January 2002 only and they could not be exercised additionally in conjunction with a previous finding of a violation of the said constitutional right under the legal rules applicable prior to that date. The Constitutional Court finally held that such an earlier finding could in no way be modified or amended under the newly adopted legal rules.

The proceedings in the applicant's action are still pending.

COMPLAINT

The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of his proceedings had been excessive.

THE LAW

On 9 February 2005 the Court received the following declaration signed by the applicant:

“I, Ladislav Sisák, note that the Government of the Slovak Republic are prepared to pay me the sum of 2,500 (two thousand five hundred) euros with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into Slovakian korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. From the expiry of the above-mentioned three months until settlement simple interest shall be payable on the above amount at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points.

I accept the proposal and waive any further claims against Slovakia in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case...”

On 10 February 2005 the Court received the following declaration from the Co-Agent of the Government:

“I, Marica Pirošíková, Co-Agent of the Government of the Slovak Republic, declare that the Government of the Slovak Republic offer to pay 2,500 (two thousand five hundred) euros to Mr Ladislav Sisák with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.

This sum, which is to cover any pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage as well as costs and expenses, will be converted into Slovakian korunas at the rate applicable on the date of payment, and free of any taxes that may be applicable. It will be payable within three months from the date of notification of the decision taken by the Court pursuant to Article 37 § 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In the event of failure to pay this sum within the said three-month period, the Government undertake to pay simple interest on it, from expiry of that period until settlement, at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period plus three percentage points. The payment will constitute the final resolution of the case ...”

The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention and its Protocols and finds no public policy reasons to justify a continued examination of the application (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention). Accordingly, Article 29 § 3 of the Convention should no longer apply to the case and it should be struck out of the list.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to strike the application out of its list of cases.

Michael O'BOYLE Nicolas Bratza 
 Registrar President

SISÁK v. SLOVAKIA DECISION


SISÁK v. SLOVAKIA DECISION