Velinov v. the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

A selection of key paragraphs can be found below the judgement.


55.  As to the former, the Court notes that, unlike rules on partial payment of a fine, there were no statutory provision regarding the execution of a prison sentence converted from a fine, which, after the conversion, was paid in full. According to the relevant legislation, in case of partial payment of a fine, the remainder which was not paid would be converted into a prison sentence. Subsequent payment of the remainder of the fine which had been converted into a prison sentence entailed termination of the execution of the sentence (see paragraphs 22 and 25 above)The Court sees no reasons, nor was it presented with any arguments, why those rules could not have been relied on in the circumstances of the present case, where the fine had been paid in full before the execution of the converted prison sentence startedOthe facts of the case, it is evident from the release order issued by Štip Prison that the applicant was released on the basis of evidence that the fine had been paid (see paragraph 12 above). In such circumstances, in the Courts view, the basis for the applicants detention under Article 5 § 1 (b) of the Convention ceased to exist as soon as he complied with the payment order, the relevant date being 13 February 2002 (see, mutatis mutandiswith respect to “fulfilment of any obligation prescribed by law”, Osypenko v. Ukraine, no. 4634/04, § 579 November 2010and Lolova-Karadzhova v. Bulgaria, no. 17835/07, § 29, 27 March 2012).

56.  The Court further notes that the applicant did not notify the trial court about the payment, notwithstanding its explicit order in that respect (see paragraph 7 above)In the compensation proceedings, the trial court referred to that failure and concluded that no responsibility could be attached to the State for the applicants subsequent arrest and detention. The Court is not convinced by that explanation. In this connection iobserves that there was no statutory provision requiring the applicant to notify the court about the payment of the fine. Furthermore, the applicant was arrested and imprisoned on 28 October 2002, namely over eight months after the detention order had been issued and the applicant had paid the fine. During this time, the trial court was unaware that the applicant had complied with the payment orderAs the Government admitted in their observations, there was no exchange of information between the trial court and the Ministry of Finance that the fine had been paid. In the Courts view, the applicants failure to notify the trial court that he had paid the fine cannot release the respondent State from the obligation to have in place an efficient system of recording the payment of court fines. The decision-making process in matters where a persons liberty is at stake should take into account all the relevant circumstances of the caseThe importance of the applicants right to liberty required the respondent State to take all necessary measures in order to avoid his liberty being unduly restricted.

57.  In view of the foregoing, the Court considers that the applicants detention in Štip Prison was contrary to Article 5 § 1 (b) of the Convention. There has therefore been a breach of that provision.


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