Application no. 9847/04
by Melkior PARAGVAJ
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 21 September 2006 as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr L. Loucaides,
Mrs F. Tulkens,
Mrs N. Vajić,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mrs E. Steiner,
Mr K. Hajiyev, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 November 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 observations submitted by the respondent Government and the observations in reply submitted by the applicant,
Having deliberated, decides as follows:
The applicant, Mr Melkior Paragvaj, was a Croatian national who was born in in 1923 and lived in Opatija. He was represented before the Court by Mr G. Ivković, a lawyer practising in Opatija. The Croatian Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mrs Š. Stažnik.
The facts of the case, as submitted by the parties, may be summarised as follows.
On 13 June 1991 the Opatija Municipal Court (Općinski sud u Opatiji) found a certain V.Č. guilty of physically assaulting the applicant and imposed a suspended prison sentence.
On 30 September 1992 the applicant instituted civil proceedings against V.Č. seeking non-pecuniary damages. The court held six hearings on the merits of the applicant’s claim.
Subsequently, on 16 October 1996 the Opatija Municipal Court decided to stay the civil proceedings pending the outcome of V.Č.’s motion for reopening of the above criminal proceedings.
On 7 December 1999 the Opatija Municipal Court dismissed V.Č.’s motion. On appeal, on 19 June 2002 the Rijeka County Court quashed the first-instance decision and remitted the case.
On 10 June 2003 the Opatija Municipal Court resumed the civil proceedings, even though no final decision on V.Č.’s request had been adopted at that time. The proceedings still appear to be pending at first-instance.
Meanwhile, in 2003 the applicant filed a constitutional complaint concerning the length of the civil proceedings pursuant to section 63 of the Constitutional Court Act. On 17 September 2003 the Constitutional Court (Ustavni sud Republike Hrvatske) dismissed the applicant’s complaint as ill-founded, finding that the time for which the civil proceedings had been stayed was justified by the parallel proceedings concerning the reopening of the criminal case.
The applicant complained that the length of the civil proceedings for damages exceeded a reasonable time contrary to Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. He also complained under Article 13 of the Convention that a constitutional complaint under section 63 of the Constitutional Court Act was not an effective remedy in respect of his length complaint.
By a letter of 23 March 2006 the applicant’s lawyer informed the Court that the applicant had passed away and that his heirs do not wish to pursue the application before the Court.
The Court further considers that respect for human rights as defined in the Convention does not require it to continue with the examination of the case. Accordingly, the application of Article 29 § 3 of the Convention to the case should be discontinued and the application struck off the list of cases pursuant to Article 37 § 1 (c) of the Convention.
For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Decides to strike the application out of its list of cases.
Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis
PARAGVAJ v. CROATIA DECISION
PARAGVAJ v. CROATIA DECISION