ПОСТАНОВЛЕНИЕ Европейского суда по правам человека от 23.09.2004<ДЕЛО ЕМАНАКОВА (yemanakova) ПРОТИВ РОССИИ> [англ.]


EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
FIRST SECTION
CASE OF YEMANAKOVA v. RUSSIA
(Application No. 60408/00)
JUDGMENT <*>
(Strasbourg, 23.IX.2004)
In the case of Yemanakova v. Russia,
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<*> This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 § 2 of the Convention. It may be subject to editorial revision.
The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting as a Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. Rozakis, President,
Mr P. Lorenzen,
Mr G. Bonello,
Mrs {N. Vajic} <*>,
Mrs S. Botoucharova,
Mr A. Kovler,
Mr V. Zagrebelsky, judges,
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,
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<*> Здесь и далее по тексту слова на национальном языке набраны латинским шрифтом и выделены фигурными скобками.
Having deliberated in private on 2 September 2004,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on that date:
PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (no. 60408/00) against the Russian Federation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms ("the Convention") by a Ukrainian national, Yulia Aleksandrovna Yemanakova ("the applicant"), on 7 July 2000.
2. The applicant, who had been granted legal aid, was represented by Ms O. Panchenko, a lawyer practising in Berdyansk, Ukraine. The Russian Government ("the Government") were represented by Mr. P.A. Laptev, the Representative of the Russian Federation at the European Court of Human Rights.
3. The applicant alleged that the proceedings in a civil case to which she was a party were unreasonably long, in violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention. She also submitted that she had no effective remedies against the alleged violation, in breach of Article 13 of the Convention.
4. The application was allocated to the Second Section of the Court (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court). Within that Section, the Chamber that would consider the case (Article 27 § 1 of the Convention) was constituted as provided in Rule 26 § 1.
5. On 1 November 2001 the Court changed the composition of its Sections (Rule 25 § 1). This case was assigned to the newly composed First Section (Rule 52 § 1)
6. By a decision of 6 November 2003 the Court declared the application admissible.
7. The applicant and the Government each filed observations on the merits (Rule 59 § 1).
THE FACTS
I. The circumstances of the case
8. The applicant was born in 1919 and lives in Berdyansk, Ukraine.
9. The facts of the case are partially disputed by the parties. They may be summarised as follows.
1. The initial set of proceedings in 1990 - 1992
10. The applicant"s father was subjected to repression in 1929 - 1930 as a rich peasant ("kulak"). In 1930 the family property, including a two-storey house in Sorochinsk, Orenburg Region, Russia, was confiscated. In 1989 the applicant"s father was rehabilitated post mortem. The family house remains intact in Sorochinsk, where it is used by the Sorochinsk Veterinary College to house its employees. At some point during the proceedings the families who lived in the house were permitted to acquire their flats.
11. The applicant lives in Berdyansk, Ukraine, and the train journey to Sorochinsk takes about two and a half days.
12. In 1990 the applicant and her sister, Mrs Mikhaylishina, initiated proceedings to have their property right to the house recognised. On 26 October 1990 the Sorochinsk Town Court rejected their request and advised them to seek compensation for the property from the Orenburg Regional financial department. It appears that the department refused their request for compensation.
13. In January 1992 the applicant"s sister died and the applicant remained the sole party to the proceedings.
2. Proceedings in 1992 - 2002
14. At some point in March 1992 the applicant submitted new claims to the Leninskiy District Court of Orenburg. On 24 September 1992 the Leninskiy District Court rejected both her complaint about the decision of the Regional financial department and her civil claim to have her property right to the house confirmed. On 6 May 1993 the Orenburg Regional Court quashed the decision of 24 September 1992 and remitted the case to the District Court. On 15 September 1993 the Leninskiy District Court ordered the transfer of the case to the Sorochinsk Town Court which had territorial jurisdiction for the dispute over the building.
15. On 20 January 1995 the Head of the Sorochinsk Town administration issued an order, requesting the Veterinary College to pay the applicant the maximum compensation allowed by the national legislation, which would later be reimbursed to the College by the regional budget. The order was never complied with. On 10 April 1995 the Sorochinsk Town Court ordered the closure of the civil case as the applicant had been awarded the compensation. On 25 September 1995 the Presidium of the Orenburg Regional Court, acting by way of supervisory review, quashed the order of 10 April 1995 and returned the case to the Town Court.
16. On 27 December 1995 the Sorochinsk Town Court rejected the applicant"s claim against the Town administration as having no basis in the national legislation and because she had already been awarded the compensation. On 9 April 1996 the Orenburg Regional Court quashed the judgment and remitted the case.
17. On 24 July 1996 the Sorochinsk Town Court confirmed that the applicant"s family had been the owners of the property and that the confiscation had taken place, but rejected the applicant"s claim to have the house returned. On 27 August 1996 the Orenburg Regional Court quashed this judgment and remitted the case.
18. On 13 February 1997 the Sorochinsk Town Court again confirmed the family"s previous ownership of the property and the fact of confiscation, but rejected the applicant"s claim to have the house returned. On 24 April 1997 the Orenburg Regional Court quashed this judgment. The applicant was then informed that the Orenburg Regional Court would consider her case as the first instance court.
19. On 28 April 1998 the Civil College of the Orenburg Regional Court rejected the applicant"s claim for compensation filed against the Regional financial department and refused to return the house in natura. It ordered the Sorochinsk Town administration to pay the applicant the maximum compensation for the confiscated property in the amount of RUR 8,349 (100 "units" of the minimum monthly wage), plus travel expenses and legal fees in the amount of RUR 3,540. The applicant submits that she was served with the decision on 6 May 1998.
20. On 7 May 1998 the applicant received RUR 3,540, representing travel fees and legal costs, at the Town administration.
21. On 14 May 1998 the applicant lodged a cassation appeal with the Orenburg Regional Court, which was to be forwarded together with the case file to the Supreme Court. The applicant then wrote to the Orenburg Regional Court to inquire about the progress of the case on 21 August 1998 and 24 March 1999, but received no reply. She also wrote directly to the Supreme Court on several occasions, including on 21 August and 26 November 1998, 6 May, 21 June, 2 August, 18 August and 16 December 1999. She received standard replies from the Supreme Court on 5 November 1998, 19 July 1999 and 19 January 2000, stating that her appeal could not be considered as no case file had been attached. On at least one occasion, in May 1999, the applicant copied the decisions of the courts and her appeal and forwarded the copies to the Supreme Court herself. Her letters to other bodies, including the Ministry of Justice, the High Qualification Board of Judges, the President"s administration, the Constitutional Court, prosecutors" offices of various levels were either not answered or forwarded to the Orenburg Regional Court. The applicant submits that she was not aware of any procedural orders issued by the Regional Court in respect of her appeal.
22. According to the Government"s submissions filed after the communication of the complaint, the Orenburg Regional Court pronounced its judgment on 28 April 1998 in short form (without reasoning), and then on 29 April 1998 in full. The decision was served on the applicant on 6 May 1998. She thus missed the ten-days time-limit for filing a cassation appeal, which was eventually lodged on 15 May and arrived at the Orenburg Regional Court on 25 May 1998. As a result, on 1 June 1998 the Regional Court issued a procedural order adjourning her appeal and requesting the applicant to submit reasons for the delay. This decision was forwarded to the applicant by a letter of 3 June 1998.
23. On 21 June 1998 the Orenburg Regional Court again adjourned the appeal and requested reasons for the delay from the applicant. A letter, dated by mistake 21 July 1998, was sent to the applicant. The applicant failed to respond.
24. The Government also submit that the court decision was executed in full in April 2000, when the sum of RUR 8,349 (one hundred minimum monthly wages) was transferred to a new account opened in the applicant"s name in the Sorochinsk branch of Sberbank. The applicant was informed accordingly by a letter. The applicant had already received the RUR 3,539 to cover her travel expenses.
25. In February 2004, upon the Court"s request, the Government submitted copies of documents supporting their submissions. These included, notably, the Orenburg Regional Court"s decision of 1 June 1998, a letter from the same court dated 21 July 1998 informing the applicant about the adjournment and documents from the Sorochinsk Town Administration concerning execution of the judgment in April 2000.
26. The applicant claims that she did not receive the letters of 3 June and 21 June (July) 1998. With respect to the award, the applicant submits that she only learned of the transfer to a bank account opened in her name in 2002, after receipt of the Government"s memorandum.
3. New proceedings in 2002
27. The complaint was communicated to the Russian Government in September 2001.
28. On 21 January 2002 the Presidium of the Orenburg Regional Court, acting upon the Regional Prosecutor"s application for supervisory review, quashed and remitted for procedural reasons the decision of the Sorochinsk Town Court of 26 October 1990. On 30 January 2002 the applicant was informed of this.
29. On 12 February 2002 the Sorochinsk Town Court issued an order by which the applicant and her sister were instructed to update their claim of 1990 and to submit the applicant"s sister"s birth certificate before 15 March 2002. On 13 February 2002 the order was forwarded to the applicant. On 26 April 2002 the applicant replied to the Sorochinsk Town Court that her sister had died in 1992 and forwarded a copy of her death certificate. On 16 May 2002 the judge of the Town Court confirmed receipt of her letter and again requested her to update the claim initially submitted in August 1990 and to clarify if she wanted the case to be reviewed in her absence. It appears that a court hearing was scheduled for 22 August 2002. The applicant responded in July 2002 that she was not interested in a new review of the case, since it had lost its meaning. Her new claims against the defendants had been submitted in 1992 to the Sorochinsk Town Court, and these proceedings were the issue of her complaint.
30. On 18 September 2002 the Orenburg Regional Court issued an information note, stating that the hearing in the applicant"s claim against the Sorochinsk Town administration was adjourned to 27 September 2002, due to the non-appearance of the claimant. On 14 October 2002 the applicant requested the court to terminate these proceedings.
II. Relevant domestic law
31. Section 283 of the Civil Procedural Code then in force provided that cassation appeals are submitted through the court which acted as the court of first instance. Submission of the appeal directly to the cassation instance cannot prevent its consideration.
32. Section 284 (1) set a one month time-limit for review of cassation appeals by the Supreme Court.
THE LAW
I. Alleged violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
33. The applicant complained under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention that the length of proceedings in her case was in violation of the "reasonable time" requirement. Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, in so far as relevant, provides:
"In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal..."
34. The Government submitted that the applicant"s cassation appeal was adjourned on 1 June 1998 due to her failure to comply with the time-limit. The applicant was informed of this by letters of 3 and 21 June 1998. Whether she received the decision in question was, in the Government"s opinion, irrelevant for the calculation of the length of the proceedings. Moreover, the decision of 28 April 1998 was executed, partly in May 1998 and finally in April 2000, when the award was transferred to the applicant"s bank account.
35. The applicant submitted that before receipt of the Government"s memorandum in 2002 she was not aware of the decision of the Orenburg Regional Court to adjourn and to stay her cassation appeal. She stressed that in 1998 - 2002 no authority informed her of this decision either. She further submitted that the execution of the decision of 28 April 1998 in respect of part of the award had never been communicated to her, and she had only learned of it from the Government"s memorandum in 2002. The documents proving the adjournment and execution were first presented by the Government in February 2004. The applicant considered that this period should be included in the overall length of proceedings.
A. Period to be taken into consideration
36. The Convention entered into force in respect of Russia on 5 May 1998. The Court is not competent to examine complaints relating to the events that occurred prior to that date. However, in cases where it can, by reason of its competence ratione temporis, only examine part of the proceedings, it may take into account, in order to assess their length, the stage reached in the proceedings at the beginning of the period under consideration (see, among other authorities, Wojnowicz v. Poland, no. 33082/96, 21 September 2000, § 46).
37. The proceedings in question started in March 1992, when the applicant applied to the Leninskiy District Court of Orenburg. The date of termination of the proceedings is disputed by the parties. The question

"СОГЛАШЕНИЕ О КООРДИНАЦИОННЫХ ОРГАНАХ ЖЕЛЕЗНОДОРОЖНОГО ТРАНСПОРТА СОДРУЖЕСТВА НЕЗАВИСИМЫХ ГОСУДАРСТВ"(Заключено в г. Минске 14.02.1992)  »
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