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ECHR awards Slovak convicted murderer €5,000 in compensation

Slovakia must pay more than €5,000 to convicted murderer Viliam Hauser as compensation for a failure by the courts to decide on a lawsuit he submitted, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on February 5, the TASR newswire reported on February 13, quoting the website of the Slovak Justice Ministry.

Slovakia must pay more than €5,000 to convicted murderer Viliam Hauser as compensation for a failure by the courts to decide on a lawsuit he submitted, the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) ruled on February 5, the TASR newswire reported on February 13, quoting the website of the Slovak Justice Ministry.

Hauser, together with his accomplice Róbert Matta, was sentenced to life imprisonment in May 1995 for the murder of five adults, all of them Vietnamese businesspeople, and one child in Bratislava. “The contested trial concerning the compensation lawsuit has lasted for more than eight years at two instances, which the court deemed inappropriate,” the ministry wrote. Thus, Hauser’s right to his case considered by the due deadline was violated, despite this being enshrined in the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The ECHR ruled that he was entitled to non-material damage compensation amounting to €5,200 and €50 as trial costs.

Hauser filed a suit in 2004 with the Bratislava I District Court, stating he suffered harm due to negligence by his original trial lawyer. Over the next four years, the court allocated four attorneys to represent him free of charge, but they each refused to represent him in court, citing various reasons. Hauser then turned to the Slovak Constitutional Court with a complaint concerning the delays, but his case was rejected. The Constitutional Court deemed the reasons stated by three of the lawyers – serious illness, excessive workload and friendly terms with the opposing side – as valid. However, the ECHR opined that each person entitled to legal advice free of charge should be provided with it quickly and effectively so that his right to a trial by the due deadline is not violated.

The original crime took place on April 8, 1994, in a warehouse in Stará Vajnorská Cesta in Bratislava. Matta (then aged 23) and Hauser (then 24) used a sub-machinegun to kill three men, two women (one pregnant). They then throttled a baby. Their motive was theft of cash in various currencies amounting to more than Sk1.1 million (approximately €35,000 at the (2009) SKK/EUR conversion rate). They then fled to Germany, returned after several days and were planning to go abroad again. Police detained them at a border crossing in Petržalka. They were sentenced to life imprisonment following a trial in May 1995.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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