AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF
Application no. 909/03
by Anna Dmitriyevna RAGUZINA
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 7 September 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mr D. Spielmann,
Mr S.E. Jebens, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 12 December 2002,
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 observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Ms Anna Dmitriyevna Raguzina, is a Russian national who was born in 1925 and lives in Sovetsk in the Kaliningrad Region. The Russian Government (“the Government”) were represented by Mr P. Laptev, the Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
A. The circumstances of the case
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 4 April 2002 the Chernyakhovsk Town Court of the Kaliningrad Region awarded the applicant’s son 325,000 Russian roubles (RUR) against the Ministry of Finance of the Russian Federation in compensation for his unlawful conviction and imprisonment.
On 5 June 2002 the Kaliningrad Regional Court reduced the award to RUR 150,000.
On 19 June 2002 the Chernyakhovsk Town Court sent a writ of execution to the bailiffs’ service.
On 20 June 2002 the applicant’s son died.
On 22 July 2002 the bailiffs returned the writ of execution to the applicant. They instructed her to submit the writ of execution and a copy of the judgment to the Ministry of Finance. The applicant did not follow the bailiffs’ instructions.
The judgment of 5 June 2002 has remained unenforced to date.
B. Relevant domestic law
If a party dies during the proceedings, the court may allow its successor to pursue the proceedings. Succession is possible at any stage of the proceedings (Article 44 § 1 of the Code of Civil Procedure of 14 November 2002).
The applicant complained, without invoking any Convention provision, about insufficient compensation and non-enforcement of the judgment of the Kaliningrad Regional Court of 5 June 2002.
The applicant complained that the judgment of the Kaliningrad Regional Court of 5 June 2002 had been unfair and that it had not been enforced. The Court considers that the applicant’s complaints fall to be examined under Article 6 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. The relevant parts of these provisions read as follows:
Article 6 § 1
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing ... by [a] ... tribunal...”
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
“Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or penalties.”
The Government argued that the judgment of 5 June 2002 was made in favour of the applicant’s son. After his death the applicant should have obtained a court decision recognising her as his successor and authorising her to pursue the enforcement proceedings, as required by Article 44 of the Code of Civil Procedure. She should then have submitted the writ of execution and the decision on succession to the Ministry of Finance. However, she failed to do so.
The applicant maintained her claims.
The Court reiterates that in order to claim to be a “victim” within the meaning of Article 34 of the Convention an applicant must have been directly affected by the act or omission which is at issue (see Nosov v. Russia (dec.), no. 30877/02, 20 October 2005; Hamaïdi v. France (dec.), no. 39291/98, 6 March 2001, with further references). In the present case, the claim for compensation for unlawful conviction was lodged by the applicant’s son and the judgment of 5 June 2002 was made in his favour. That judgment did not determine the applicant’s civil rights and obligations and did not confer any entitlement on her. After her son’s death, she has taken no steps to be recognised as his successor and has not acquired the right to claim enforcement of the judgment of 5 June 2002.
The Court therefore considers that the complaints lodged by the applicant are incompatible ratione personae with the provisions of the Convention within the meaning of Article 35 § 3 and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 § 4.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to discontinue the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention and to declare the application inadmissible.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis
RAGUZINA v. RUSSIA DECISION
RAGUZINA v. RUSSIA DECISION