The ECtHR judgment of 24 October 2017 in the case of Dickmann and Gion v. Romania (complaints No. 10346/03 and 10893/04).
The applicants successfully complained about the impossibility of restitution of the nationalized property or compensation for the property seized by the state. The case involved a violation of the requirements of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
In 2003 and 2004, the applicants were assisted in the preparation of complaints. Subsequently, the complaints were combined and communicated to Romania.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
In the pilot judgment of the Court in the case of Maria Atanasiu and Others v. Romania (dated 12 October 2010, complaints No. 30767/05 and 33800/06), it is stated that general measures are required for elimination of the shortcomings of the restitution mechanism introduced in Romania after the fall of the communist regime. In May 2013, Law No. 165/2013 came into force, establishing various procedures available to petitioners requiring the settlement of their claims for restitution. In the Preda and Others v. Romania judgment of 29 April 2014, complaint No. 9584/02 and others, the European Court examined the new legislation and found that the established mechanism offers a number of effective means which require exhaustion in certain cases, but that the law does not contain procedural or substantive provisions that provide reimbursement for the existence of final decisions that legalize the coinciding titles for the same residential property. The applicants complained that their inability to obtain restitution of nationalized property or to obtain compensation amounted to a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention. The applicants obtained final decisions recognizing the illegality of the seizure of their property by the state. The Romanian courts confirmed their right to restitution measures, taking into account their status of former owners or heirs of the title of former owners.
Having established that the applicants had "property" within the meaning of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, the Court also had to consider whether the impugned deprivation of their property as a result of the sale of property by a State to third parties was duly compensated and compensated through the mechanism, created for this purpose by the state. Although Act No. 165/2013 as a whole reformed the restitution mechanism by setting precise time limits for each administrative stage, as well as clear criteria for the functioning of the compensation mechanism, it did not change the administrative procedure to make it effective for participants such as applicants. It follows that the applicants, whose title to the apartment houses are recognized, and the right to restitution has been confirmed by the courts, but who could not use the property, because the state sold the property, did not use the mechanism to obtain adequate compensation for the deprivation of their property. This deprivation, combined with the total lack of compensation, placed the applicants on a disproportionate and excessive burden in violation of their right to respect for property.
There has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (unanimously).
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The European Court awarded € 96,000 to Dickman and € 60,000 to Gion and Gion in compensation for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage.