On 5 April 2018 the European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Chamber delivered its judgment regarding the case of Aganikyan v. Armenia (application no. 21791/12), finding a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right of access to court) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The applicant complained that the length of the criminal proceedings was incompatible with the “reasonable time” requirement, laid down in Article 6 § 1 of the Convention
The Court has noted that, in the present case, the pre-trial investigation phase as well as the appeal phase was concluded quite rapidly but the District Court phase took about four and a half years. Although the District Court phase did not contain any particularly long periods of inactivity on the authorities’ side, the problem was that the case was adjourned 136 times, the proceedings were restarted from the beginning after one year and three months of the trial, and the charges were amended or new ones were brought at that stage of proceedings. In this regard, the European Court has reiterated its case-law, according to which it is for the Contracting States to organise their judicial systems in such a way that the courts can meet the “reasonable time” requirement under Article 6 (see, for instance, Lupeni Greek Catholic Parish and Others v. Romania [GC], no. 76943/11, § 142, ECHR 2016 (extracts)).
The European Court has held that the respondent State is to pay the applicant overall EUR 865 as compensation for non-pecuniary damage, dismissing the remainder of the applicant’s claim for just satisfaction.