FOURTH SECTION

DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 8354/03 
by Priit PETERSON

Application no. 8356/03 
by Yevgeniy SITNIK

against Estonia

The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Section), sitting on 11 October 2005 as a Chamber composed of:

Sir Nicolas Bratza, President
 Mr J. Casadevall
 Mr M. Pellonpää
 Mr R. Maruste
 Mr K. Traja
 Ms L. Mijović, 
 Mr J. Šikuta, judges
and Mr M. O’Boyle, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 25 February 2003,

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 first applicant, Mr Priit Peterson, is an Estonian national who was born in 1973. The second applicant, Mr Yevgeniy Sitnik, is an Estonian national who was born in 1974. The respondent Government are represented by Mrs M. Hion, Director of the Human Rights Division of the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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

On 19 October 1998 the dead body of a man with his eyes and mouth taped was found on wasteland near garages in Tallinn. On 21 October 1998 criminal proceedings were initiated.

On 23 October 1998 the first applicant was taken into custody on suspicion of having organised a robbery. The dead person’s car had been found in his garage. The second applicant was taken into custody on the same day. On 29 October 1998 the first applicant was charged with organising aggravated robbery and unlawful possession of ammunition. The second applicant was charged with aggravated robbery, theft of official documents, unlawful deprivation of liberty involving violence and manslaughter.

By a decision of 22 June 1999 the Tallinn City Court (Tallinna Linnakohus) committed the applicants for trial together with four other accused persons.

On 27 June 2003 the City Court convicted the first applicant of theft in a substantial amount, aggravated robbery, theft of official documents, and illicit trafficking and unlawful possession of ammunition. The City Court sentenced him to seven years’ imprisonment. The second applicant was convicted of aggravated robbery and intentional causing of life-threatening bodily injury, which resulted in the victim’s death. He was also sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

On 24 January 2004 the Harju County Court (Harju Maakohus) released the first applicant on parole with a period of probation until 23 October 2005.

The second applicant is still serving his prison sentence in Murru Prison.

 

COMPLAINTS

1.  The applicants complained under Article 5 § 3 of the Convention about the length of their preliminary detention.

2.  They complained under Article 6 § 1 about the length of the criminal proceedings.

THE LAW

On 30 June 2005 the second applicant signed and submitted to the Court the following declaration:

“I, Yevgeniy SITNIK, applicant, note that the Government of Estonia are prepared to pay me the sum of 6000 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 Estonian kroons 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 Estonia in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”

On 18 July 2005 the first applicant signed and submitted to the Court the following declaration:

“I, Priit PETERSON, applicant, note that the Government of Estonia are prepared to pay me the sum of 6000 euros with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned cases 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 Estonian kroons 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 amounts 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 Estonia in respect of the facts giving rise to this application. I declare that this constitutes a final resolution of the case.”

On 26 August 2005 the Agent of the Government signed and submitted to the Court the following declaration:

“I, Mai HION, Agent of the Government, declare that the Government of Estonia offer to pay 6000 euros to Mr Yevgeniy SITNIK 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 Estonian kroons 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.”

On 26 August 2005 the Agent of the Government signed and submitted to the Court also the following declaration:

“I, Mai HION, Agent of the Government, declare that the Government of Estonia offer to pay 6000 euros to Mr Priit PETERSON with a view to securing a friendly settlement of the above-mentioned case pending before the European Court of Human Rights.”

The declaration also contained the same second paragraph as above.

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 applications (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 join the applications;

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

Michael O’Boyle Nicolas Bratza 
 Registrar President