Application no. 8417/04
by Mirsad PEZEROVIĆ and others
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 applicants, Mr Mirsad Pezerović, Ms Fatima Pezerović, Ms Emina Pezerović, Ms Indira Pezerović and Ms Ismeta Pezerović, are Croatian nationals who were born in 1959, 1961, 1983, 1984 and 1986, respectively and live in Gunja, Croatia. The first two applicants are husband and wife, parents of the other applicants. They are 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.
On 15 January 1993 the minor I.P., the son of the first and second applicant and the brother of the third, the fourth and the fifth applicant, died in a traffic accident caused by a member of the Croatian Army.
On 4 December 1997 the applicants instituted civil proceedings before the Županja Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Županji) seeking damages from the Republic of Croatia. They based their claim on section 180 of the Civil Obligations Act.
On 8 September 1998 the Županja Municipal Court gave judgment accepting the applicants’ claim and awarding them compensation. That judgment was quashed by the Vukovar County Court (Županijski sud u Vukovaru) on 10 March 1998.
In the resumed proceedings, on 3 May 1999 the Županja Municipal Court again ruled in the applicants’ favour, but on 6 September 1999 that judgment was quashed by the second instance court.
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.
Consequently, on 12 November 1999 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”).
On 23 October 2003 the applicants’ proceedings resumed.
On 23 June 2005 the court gave judgment accepting the applicants’ claim in part. The State appealed and the proceedings currently appear to be pending before the second-instance court.
The applicants complain under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the enactment of the 1999 Amendments and the prolonged stay of their proceedings violated their right of access to a court and their 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 a proposal for a friendly settlement and that the Government would pay the applicants ex gratia 22,000 euros in full and final settlement of their claim under the Convention, costs and expenses included.
On 21 October 2005 the applicants’ representative informed the Court that the parties had reached a settlement whereby the applicants 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
PEZEROVIĆ v. CROATIA DECISION
PEZEROVIĆ v. CROATIA DECISION