(Application no. 8030/07)
20 December 2011
This judgment is final but it may be subject to
In the case of Ahmet İlhan v. Turkey,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a Committee composed of:
Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre, President,
Helen Keller, judges,
and Françoise Elens-Passos, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 29 November 2011,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
1. The case originated in an application (no. 8030/07) against the Republic of Turkey lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by a Turkish national, Mr Ahmet İlhan (“the applicant”), on 6 February 2007.
2. The applicant was represented by Mr S. Güçlü, a lawyer practising in Ankara. The Turkish Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent.
3. On 4 September 2009 the President of the Second Section decided to give notice of the application to the Government.
THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
4. The applicant was born in 1971 and lives in Turkey.
5. On 16 October 2000 the applicant, a police officer, lodged an administrative case against the Ministry of Internal Affairs for having refused his compensation claim concerning his damage arising from a traffic accident.
6. On 28 December 2001 the Ankara Administrative Court granted the applicant’s request.
7. On 2 June 2004 the Supreme Administrative Court quashed the judgment of 28 December 2001.
8. On 5 July 2006 the Supreme Administrative Court dismissed a request by the applicant for rectification of the judgment.
9. According to the information submitted by the Government, on 19 December 2006 the administrative court dismissed the case and the applicant did not appeal against it.
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 6 § 1 OF THE CONVENTION
10. The applicant complained that the length of the proceedings had been incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement, laid down in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, which reads as follows:
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”
11. The Government contested that argument. They maintained that the impugned proceedings could not be considered to have been excessively long in view of the complexity of the case. They concluded therefore that there had been no delay in the proceedings that may be attributable to the State.
12. The period to be taken into consideration began on 16 October 2000 and ended on 19 December 2006. It thus lasted six years and two months, for two levels of jurisdiction.
13. The Court notes that this complaint is not manifestly ill-founded within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 (a) of the Convention. It further notes that it is not inadmissible on any other grounds. It must therefore be declared admissible.
14. The Court has frequently found violations of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention in cases raising issues similar to the one in the present case (see Frydlender v. France [GC], no. 30979/96, §§ 42-46, ECHR 2000-VII, and Daneshpayeh v. Turkey, no. 21086/04, §§ 26-29, 16 July 2009).
15. Having examined all the material submitted to it, the Court considers that the Government have not put forward any fact or argument capable of persuading it to reach a different conclusion in the present case. Having regard to its case-law on the subject, the Court considers that in the instant case the length of the proceedings was excessive and failed to meet the “reasonable time” requirement.
There has accordingly been a breach of Article 6 § 1.
II. OTHER ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE CONVENTION
16. The applicant complained under Article 14 of the Convention, Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention that the administrative decision refusing him compensation was discriminatory, as other police officers in the same situation had received awards of compensation.
17. The Court considers that, as Protocol No. 12 has not been ratified by the respondent State, the applicant’s complaint in this regard is incompatible ratione personae with the Convention and must therefore be rejected pursuant to Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.
18. As regards the remaining complaints, having regard to all material in its possession, the Court finds that the applicant did not exhaust domestic remedies as he failed to appeal against the decision of 19 December 2006. It follows that these complaints must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.
III. APPLICATION OF ARTICLE 41 OF THE CONVENTION
19. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
“If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to the injured party.”
20. The applicant claimed 50,000 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary and EUR 50,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
21. The Government contested these claims as being excessive.
22. As regards pecuniary damage, the applicant did not submit any argument substantiating his claim. That being so, the Court cannot allow the compensation claim submitted under this head. On the other hand, the Court considers that the applicant must have sustained non-pecuniary damage. Ruling on an equitable basis, it awards him EUR 3,000 under that head.
B. Costs and expenses
23. The applicant did not submit a claim for costs and expenses. Accordingly, the Court considers that there is no call to award him any sum on that account.
C. Default interest
24. The Court considers it appropriate that the default interest rate should be based on the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank, to which should be added three percentage points.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Declares the complaint concerning the excessive length of the proceedings admissible and the remainder of the application inadmissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention;
(a) that the respondent State is to pay the applicant, within three months, 3,000 (three thousand) euros, to be converted into Turkish liras at the rate applicable at the date of settlement, plus any tax that may be chargeable, in respect of non-pecuniary damage;
(b) that 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;
4. Dismisses the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.
Done in English, and notified in writing on 20 December 2011, pursuant to Rule 77 §§ 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.
Françoise Elens-Passos Isabelle
Deputy Registrar President
AHMET İLHAN v. TURKEY JUDGMENT
AHMET İLHAN v. TURKEY JUDGMENT