The European Court of Human Rights (Fourth Chamber), in the case Panorama Ltd and Miličić v. Bosnia and Herzegovina – 25 July 2017, was faced with a case concerning non-enforcement of domestic judgments in the applicants’ favour with regard to property claims from the 1992-95 war. The applicants were Panorama Ltd, a limited liability company based in Brčko District, and Đuro Miličić, a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina, who was born in 1950 and lives in Orašje (Bosnia and Herzegovina).
Both applicants were successful in claims against the State, one for the seizure of property of approximately 266,370 euros and another for the destruction of property of approximately 35,260 euros. The judgments in their favour became final in January 2009 and November 2007, respectively.
At the time the applicants’ claims were examined, domestic law provided that default interest did not apply to war damages. However, the civil courts applied the general rules of tort law and awarded default interest to the applicants. The principal award and legal fees were thus paid to both applicants, but the Federal Ministry of Finance refused to authorise payment of the interest and the final judgments in their favour in this respect have not as yet been enforced.
Relying on Article 6 par. 1 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) to the Convention, the applicants complained about the authorities’ prolonged failure to comply with binding and enforceable judgments.
The Court held that the failure of Bosnia and Herzegovina to secure payment of default interest ordered by the final domestic judgments constituted violations of Article 6 par. 1 of the Convention and of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.