Application no. 8403/04
by Ljubica MLINAREVIĆ
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 8 December 2005 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mr P. Lorenzen,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Quesada, Deputy Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 7 April 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 applicant, Mrs Ljubica Mlinarević, is a Croatian national who lives in Babina Greda, Croatia. She is represented before the Court by Mr D. Štivić, a lawyer practising in Vukovar. The respondent Government are represented by their Agent, Ms Š. Stažnik.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
The applicant owns a house in Babina Greda, Croatia, which was requisitioned in 1992 for the needs of the Croatian Army.
On 8 April 1997 the applicant instituted civil proceedings before the Županja Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Županji) seeking damages from the Republic of Croatia. She based her claim on section 180 of the Civil Obligations Act.
In the proceedings the court held several hearings. The applicant repossessed her house on 17 December 1997.
On 6 November 1999 Parliament introduced amendments to the Civil Obligations Act (Zakon o obveznim odnosima). It provided that all proceedings against the State concerning damages resulting from acts of members of the Croatian Army and the police when performing their official duties during the Homeland War in Croatia were to be stayed.
On 17 March 2000 the Županja Municipal Court stayed the proceedings pursuant to the above legislation.
On 14 July 2003 Parliament adopted new legislation on the liability of the State for damage caused by members of the Croatian Army and the police when performing their official duties during the Homeland War (Zakon o odgovornosti Republike Hrvatske za štetu uzrokovanu od pripadnika hrvatskih oružanih i redarstvenih snaga tijekom Domovinskog rata, Official Gazette no. 117/2003; “the 2003 Liability Act”).
In 2004 the applicant’s proceedings resumed.
On 9 November 2004 the court gave judgment accepting the applicant’s claim in part.
Following an appeal, on 8 June 2005 the second-instance court quashed the first-instance judgment and remitted the case. The proceedings still appear to be pending before the first-instance court.
The applicant complains under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the enactment of the 1999 Amendments and the prolonged stay of her proceedings violated her right of access to a court and her right to an effective remedy within the meaning of Article 13 of the Convention.
By letter of 19 October 2005 the Government informed the Court that they accepted the proposal for a friendly settlement and that the Government would pay the applicant ex gratia 6,000 euros in full and final settlement of her claim under the Convention, costs and expenses included.
On 21 October 2005 the applicant’s representative informed the Court that the parties had reached a settlement whereby the applicant waived any further claims against Croatia in respect of the facts of the present application.
The Court takes note of the friendly settlement reached between the parties (Article 39 of the Convention) and considers that the matter has been resolved within the meaning of Article 37 § 1 (b) of the Convention. It is satisfied that the settlement is based on respect for human rights as defined in the Convention or its Protocols (Article 37 § 1 in fine of the Convention Rule 62 § 3 of the Rules of Court). Accordingly, the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention to the case should be discontinued and the case struck out of the list.
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.
Santiago Quesada Christos Rozakis
Deputy Registrar President
MLINAREVIĆ v. CROATIA DECISION
MLINAREVIĆ v. CROATIA DECISION