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BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v.

ITALY JUDGMENT
CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE BONELLO

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SECOND SECTION

CASE OF BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY

(Application no. 31524/96)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

30 May 2000

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT


CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE BONELLO

FINAL

30/08/2000

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In the case of Belvedere Alberghiera S.r.l. v. Italy,
The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a
Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. ROZAKIS, President,
Mr A.B. BAKA,
Mr B. CONFORTI,
Mr G. BONELLO,
Mrs V. STRNICK
Mr P. LORENZEN,
Mrs M. TSATSA-NIKOLOVSKA, judges,
and Mr E. FRIBERGH, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 13 January and 11 May 2000,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the lastmentioned date:

PROCEDIMIENTO
1. El caso se origin en una aplicacin (no. 31524/96) contra el
ItalianRepublic presentada ante la Comisin Europea de Derechos
Humanos ("la Comisin") en virtud del antiguo artculo 25 de la
Convencin para la Proteccin de los Derechos Humanos y de las
Libertades Fundamentales ("la Convencin ") por una empresa
formada por la legislacin italiana, Belvedere Alberghiera Srl ("La
empresa solicitante"), el 2 de mayo de 1996. La empresa
solicitante aleg una lesin injustificada de su derecho al disfrute
pacfico de sus posesiones. El 1 de julio de 1998, la Comisin
decidi notificar la demanda al Gobierno italiano ("el Gobierno") y
les invit a presentar sus observaciones sobre la admisibilidad y
el fondo.
2. Tras la entrada en vigor del Protocolo N 11 al Convenio el 1 de
noviembre de 1998 y de conformidad con lo dispuesto en el
artculo 5 2 de la misma, la solicitud fue examinada por el

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Tribunal. De conformidad con el artculo 52 1 del Reglamento de
la Corte, el Presidente de la Corte asign el caso a la Seccin
Segunda. La Sala constituida dentro de esa Seccin comprenda
como miembros de Sr. B. Conforti, el juez elegido en
representacin de Italia (artculo 27 2 del Convention y Rule 26
1 (a)), y el Sr. CL Rozakis, el Presidente de la Seccin (artculo 26
1 (a)). Los otros miembros designados por este ltimo para
completar la Sala eran los seores M. Fischbach, el Sr. P. Lorenzen,
la seora M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska, Sr. AB Baka y el Sr. E. Levits
(artculo 26 1 (b)). Posteriormente el Sr. Fischbach y el Sr. Levits
fueron reemplazados por el Sr. G. Bonello y la Sra. V. Strnick
respectivamente.

3. Ante el Tribunal, la empresa demandante est representada por


el Sr. Nicol Paoletti. El Gobierno est representado por su agente,
el seor U. Leanza, y co-agente, el seor V. Esposito.
4. El 21 de septiembre de 1999, la Sala admiti la demanda y
decidi celebrar una audiencia sobre el fondo.
5. La empresa solicitante y el Gobierno presentaron un memorial.
6. Los debates se desarrollaron en pblico en el
HumanRightsBuilding, Estrasburgo, el 13 de enero de 2000.

Comparecieron ante la Corte:


(a) para el Gobierno
Sr. V. ESPOSITO, Co-Agente;

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(b) para la empresa solicitante
Sr. N. PAOLETTI y
Sra. N. PAOLETTI, tanto del Colegio de Abogados de Roma, los
Abogados.
LOS HECHOS
I. LAS CIRCUNSTANCIAS DEL CASO
7. La empresa solicitante, dueo del Hotel Belvedere en Monte
Argentario, tambin era dueo de 1.375 metros cuadrados. de
tierra que dio a los clientes del hotel, con acceso directo al mar.
8. El 19 de mayo de 1987, el municipio de Monte Argentario
aprob una resolucin en la que se aprueba un programa de
construccin de carreteras. El camino era para pasar por encima
de la tierra de la empresa solicitante.
9. El 25 de mayo de 1987, el alcalde de Monte Argentario emiti
una Resolucin, mediante un procedimiento acelerado, por la
posesin de las tierras de la empresa solicitante. En fecha no
especificada las autoridades tomaron posesin fsica de la tierra y
comenzaron las obras de construccin de carreteras.
1. Las actas emitidas por la empresa solicitante en los tribunales
administrativos
10. La sociedad demandante interpuso recurso ante el Tribunal
Administrativo Regional de Toscana ("CCR"), impugnando, entre
otras cosas, la legalidad de la resolucin de la municipalidad de
19 de mayo de 1987 y de la ocupacin de la tierra.
. 11 Mediante sentencia dictada el 2 de diciembre de 1987, el RAC
Toscana estim el recurso de la empresa solicitante; que anul la

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resolucin de la municipalidad de 19 de mayo de 1987 y
determin que todas las medidas que adopte posteriormente que
no era vlido. El RAC encontr que el municipio haba aprobado el
plan de construccin de carreteras sin necesidad de llevar a cabo
estudios tcnicos suficientes antemano. Como resultado, el
esquema aprobado era ilegal y no poda considerarse como de
inters pblico (no atto un realizzare pubblico interesse des).
12. Esa decisin fue presentado en la Secretara el 24 de mayo de
1988 y pas a ser definitiva el 9 de junio de 1989.
2. Los procedimientos de ejecucin emitidos por la empresa
solicitante
13. Mediante escritos de 8 de julio de 1988, 11 de agosto 1989 y
el 18 de julio de 1990, la empresa solicitante pidi el municipio de
Monte Argentario para restablecer y devolver las tierras, de
conformidad con la sentencia dictada por el RAC. Sin embargo, el
municipio no tom ninguna medida.
14. La empresa solicitante emiti procedimientos de ejecucin
(giudizio di ottemperanza) en el RAC Toscana para el reintegro y
devolucin de la tierra de acuerdo con la sentencia de 2 de
diciembre de 1987.
15. El 26 de junio de 1991, el RAC desestimado este recurso por
considerar que la sentencia del 02 de diciembre 1987 no se pudo
cumplir, ya que haba sido una expropiacin constructiva.
. 16 El RAC observ que si bien la sentencia del 02 de diciembre
1987 anul la resolucin del municipio de Monte Argentario por
defectos de procedimiento durante la consulta de planificacin,
que no impiden el municipio desde posteriormente reiniciar el
procedimiento y aprobar una nueva resolucin - a pesar de que
no haba, en todo caso hecho. El RAC continu diciendo que, como

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resultado de la regla constructivo-expropiacin (acquisitiva
occupazione), la empresa solicitante ya no era el dueo de la
tierra, que se haba convertido en propiedad del municipio de
Monte Argentario despus de la finalizacin de la carretera-las
obras de construccin. A pesar de su fallo anterior y el hecho de
que las obras llevadas a cabo por las autoridades eran peligrosas
y contraria al inters pblico, el hecho de que las autoridades
haban finalizado las obras significaron que el ttulo de la tierra
haba sido transferido. En consecuencia, la restitucin era
imposible. Sin embargo, como la transferencia de la propiedad
haba sido ilegal, la empresa solicitante tena derecho a reclamar
daos y perjuicios en los tribunales civiles.
17. La sociedad demandante interpuso un recurso contra dicha
resolucin ante el Consiglio di Stato, su tesis principal es que,
aunque el RAC dictamin que la conducta de las autoridades era
ilegal antes de que hubieran finalizado las obras, las autoridades
han hecho caso omiso de la sentencia. El hecho de que la regla
constructivo-expropiacin haba sido aplicada en el presente caso
haya dictado la sentencia carece de objeto, ya que las
autoridades tenan la libertad de actuar de forma ilegal, con el
nico objetivo de adquirir ttulo de propiedad.
18. Mediante resolucin de 5 de junio de 1995 la Seccin V del
Consiglio di Stato, ante quien la apelacin estaba pendiente,
decidi remitir la apelacin ante el tribunal en pleno. La orden
indica que la seccin en cuestin considera que en el presente
caso, la prdida de la titularidad de la tierra como consecuencia
de las obras pblicas que se estn llevando a cabo equivale a una
denegacin de justicia. Si una decisin de un tribunal
administrativo favorable al propietario de la tierra, tales como la
resolucin de 2 de diciembre de 1987, no pudo evitar que las
autoridades hayan tomado posesin de la tierra, el propietario
estara a su merced. Por otra parte, la seccin V del Consiglio di

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Stato seal que el municipio de Monte Argentario, no haba
vuelto a abrir la consulta de planificacin o pasado las
resoluciones ulteriores tras la anulacin de la resolucin por el
RAC.
19. Mediante resolucin de 7 de febrero de 1996, el Consiglio di
Stato, sentado en Pleno, desestim el recurso de la empresa
solicitante. Sostuvo que la aplicacin de la regla constructivoexpropiacin no haba supuesto una denegacin de justicia en el
presente caso. Se dijo que las obras de construccin de carreteras
se haban completado en gran medida el 7 de agosto 1987,
cuando la RAC haba dado su fallo. A partir de entonces, slo el
trabajo adicional de menor importancia haba sido llevado a cabo,
tales como la instalacin de iluminacin y la realizacin del
revestimiento de carreteras. En consecuencia, 07 de agosto 1987
deba considerarse la fecha en que el ttulo de la tierra fue
transferida debido a que fue en ese momento que el cambio de
usuario de la tierra se haba vuelto irreversible, como
consecuencia de la finalizacin de las obras. La tierra ya no poda
ser devuelto debido a la expropiacin constructiva. Esa fecha fue
tambin el punto de partida del plazo de prescripcin legal para
reclamar daos y perjuicios.
II. DERECHO INTERNO PERTINENTE Y PRCTICA
A. Ley no. 85 de 22 de octubre 1971
20. Esta ley regula el procedimiento de expropiacin urgente, que
permite a las autoridades para empezar a construir antes de la
expropiacin. Una vez que el plan ha sido declarado de inters
pblico y de los planes que se adopten, las autoridades pueden
hacer una orden de posesin acelerada, durante un perodo
limitado no superior a cinco aos, con respecto a la tierra a ser
expropiada. El pedido se anular automticamente si la posesin

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fsica de la tierra no se tiene un plazo de tres meses despus de
su emisin. Despus de la tierra ha sido poseda, una orden de
expropiacin formal que debe realizarse y la indemnizacin
pagada.

B. La regla constructivo-expropiacin (acquisitiva occupazione o


invertita accessione)
21. Durante la dcada de 1970, una serie de autoridades locales
tomaron posesin de la tierra mediante el procedimiento
acelerado, pero no pudo posteriormente de emitir una orden de
expropiacin. Los tribunales italianos se enfrentaron a los casos
en que el terrateniente haba perdido el uso de facto de la tierra,
ya que haba sido poseda y la construccin de obras de inters
pblico se han emprendido. Se plante la cuestin de si el mero
hecho de que las obras se haban llevado a cabo significa que el
propietario tambin haba perdido el ttulo de la tierra.
1. Jurisprudencia antes de la sentencia del Tribunal de Casacin
no. 1464 de 16 de febrero 1983
22. Hubo una divergencia sustancial en las decisiones del Tribunal
de Casacin sobre los efectos de la realizacin de obras de
construccin de inters pblico en terrenos donde la posesin
haba sido tomada ilcitamente. Posesin ilegal significa la
posesin que sea ilegal desde el principio, es decir, obtenidos sin
autorizacin, o que est autorizado inicialmente, pero
posteriormente pas a ser ilegal, ya sea porque la autoridad que
se anule o porque la posesin contina ms all del perodo
autorizado, sin una orden de expropiacin que se hizo.
23. Bajo una lnea de jurisprudencia, el dueo de la tierra que
haba sido posedo por las autoridades no perdi la titularidad

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despus de la finalizacin de las obras de inters general. Sin
embargo, no poda solicitar el reintegro de las tierras; su nico
remedio era interponer una demanda por daos y perjuicios por
posesin ilcita. Sin plazo de prescripcin se aplica a acciones
tales como la ilegalidad de la posesin continuaba. Las
autoridades podran en cualquier momento emitir una orden de
expropiacin formal. Si lo hicieran, la accin por daos y
perjuicios se transform en una disputa sobre la indemnizacin
por expropiacin, con daos y perjuicios por la prdida del
disfrute de la tierra es debido nicamente por el perodo previo a
la emisin de la orden de expropiacin (vase, entre otras
autoridades , las sentencias dictadas por el Tribunal de Casacin
nos 2341 de 1982;. 4741 de 1981, y 6452 y 6308 de 1980).
24. En una segunda lnea, el propietario no pierde la propiedad de
la tierra y podra solicitar su reincorporacin si las autoridades
hubieran actuado, salvo en el inters pblico (vase, por ejemplo,
la Corte de Casacin sentencias nms. 1578 de 1976 y 5679 de
1980).
25. En una tercera lnea, un propietario desposedo por las
autoridades perdidos automticamente derecho a la tierra tan
pronto como se haba alterado de forma irreversible, es decir, al
trmino de las obras de inters general. era
derecho a reclamar daos y perjuicios (la nica autoridad es la
Corte de Casacin no. 3243 de 1979).
2. Sentencia del Tribunal de Casacin no. 1464 de 16 de febrero
1983
26. Mediante sentencia de 16 de febrero de 1983, el Tribunal de
Casacin, en calidad de tribunal pleno, resolvi el conflicto entre
las autoridades de jurisprudencia y adopt la tercera solucin. De
este modo, se estableci la regla constructivo-expropiacin

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(invertita accessione o acquisitiva occupazione). Bajo el gobierno,
los poderes pblicos adquieren derecho a la tierra desde el
principio antes de la expropiacin formal si, despus de tomar
posesin de la tierra y con independencia de si dicha posesin es
legal, se realizan las obras de inters general. Si, en un principio,
la tierra es poseda sin autorizacin, la transferencia de la
propiedad se lleva a cabo cuando se completen las obras de
inters general. Si la toma de posesin fue autorizada desde el
principio, la propiedad se transfiere al expirar el plazo autorizado
de posesin. En la misma sentencia, el Tribunal de Casacin
declar que, en una expropiacin constructiva, el propietario tiene
derecho a una indemnizacin en su totalidad como la adquisicin
de la tierra ha tenido lugar sin ttulo (titulo de seno). Sin embargo,
la indemnizacin no se paga de forma automtica: el propietario
debe presentar una reclamacin por daos y perjuicios. Adems,
el derecho a la indemnizacin est sujeta a un plazo de
prescripcin de cinco aos que se aplica a las acciones ilcitas; el
punto de partida es la fecha en que la tierra se ve alterado de
forma irreversible.
3. La jurisprudencia posterior a la sentencia del Tribunal de
Casacin no. 1464 de 1983
(a) Plazo de prescripcin
27. Inicialmente, se sostuvo que ningn plazo de prescripcin se
aplica, ya que la posesin de la tierra sin ttulo fue un acto ilegal
continua (vase el prrafo 23 supra). En su sentencia nm. 1464
de 1983, el Tribunal de Casacin declar que el derecho a la
indemnizacin estaba sujeta a un plazo de prescripcin de cinco
aos (vase el prrafo 26 supra). Posteriormente, la Sala Primera
de la Corte de Casacin dijo que un plazo de prescripcin de diez
aos debe aplicarse (nos juicio. 7952 de 1991 y 10.979 de 1992).
El 22 de noviembre de 1992, el pleno del Tribunal de la Corte de

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Casacin decidi la cuestin, por ltimo, al considerar que el
plazo de prescripcin es de cinco aos y comienza a correr a
partir de la fecha en que la tierra se ve alterado de forma
irreversible.
(b) Los casos en que el principio de expropiacin constructiva no
se aplica
28. Los acontecimientos recientes en el show jurisprudencia que
el mecanismo por el que la ejecucin de las obras de construccin
de inters pblico opera a
transferir la propiedad de la tierra a las autoridades est sujeto a
excepciones.
29. En su sentencia nm. 874 de 1996, el Consiglio di Stato
afirm que no hubo expropiacin constructiva donde las
resoluciones de las autoridades y una orden de posesin expedita
haban sido anuladas por los tribunales administrativos, de lo
contrario la decisin judicial sera sin objeto.
30. En el juicio no. 1907 de 1997, el Tribunal de Casacin, en
calidad de tribunal pleno, dijo que las autoridades no adquieren la
propiedad de la tierra si sus resoluciones y la declaracin de que
la expropiacin era de inters pblico se considerar que han sido
nulas desde el principio . En tales casos, el propietario retiene
ttulo de la tierra y podra reclamar la restitutio in integrum. En la
alternativa, que podra reclamar daos y perjuicios. La ilegalidad
de la posesin en estos casos se contina y hay plazo de
prescripcin aplicada.
31. En el juicio no. 6515 de 1997, el Tribunal de Casacin, en
calidad de tribunal pleno, dijo que no hubo transferencia de
propiedad en que la declaracin de que la expropiacin era de
inters pblico haba sido anulada por los tribunales

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administrativos. En estos casos, por lo tanto, la regla
constructivo-expropiacin no era aplicable. El propietario, que
conserv la propiedad de la tierra, tena derecho a reclamar la
restitutio in integrum. Si l interpuso un recurso por daos y
perjuicios, que implicaba una renuncia a su derecho a la
restitucin. El plazo de prescripcin de cinco aos comenz a
correr a partir de la fecha en que la decisin del tribunal
administrativo qued firme.
32. En el juicio no. 148 de 1998, la Sala Primera de la Corte de
Casacin sigui a la decisin del pleno del Tribunal y sostuvo que
no hubo transferencia de bienes por constructiveexpropriation en
que la declaracin de que las obras de construccin se
encontraban en el inters pblico se considerar que ha sido
vlido desde el principio.
(c) Sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional n. 188 de 1995
33. En esta sentencia, el Tribunal Constitucional fue llamado a
decidir en primer lugar si la regla constructivo-expropiacin era
compatible con la Constitucin. El tribunal declar que la
pregunta inadmisible que era competente para examinar las
disposiciones legales solamente, no las reglas establecidas por los
tribunales. En segundo lugar, sostuvo que la aplicacin de una
accin de indemnizacin del plazo de prescripcin de cinco aos
previsto en el artculo 2043 del Cdigo Civil para reclamaciones
de agravio era compatible con la Constitucin. El hecho de que
las autoridades se haban convertido en propietarios de la tierra
mediante el aprovechamiento de su propio comportamiento ilegal
no plantea ninguna dificultad en virtud de la Constitucin, ya que
el inters pblico en la conservacin de las obras para el bien
pblico superaba el inters del individuo en el derecho de
propiedad .

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(d) Nivel de la indemnizacin por expropiacin constructiva
34. Segn el Tribunal de la jurisprudencia del Supremo sobre
expropiaciones constructivas, la indemnizacin en su totalidad, es
decir, una indemnizacin por la privacin de la tierra, se debe al
propietario, en contraprestacin por la prdida de la propiedad
causada por la privacin ilegal de la posesin.
35. La Ley de Finanzas de 1992 (artculo 5 bis del Decreto
Legislativo n . 333 del 11 de julio de 1992) sustituy dicha
jurisprudencia al establecer que la indemnizacin a pagar en
expropiaciones constructivas no puede exceder del importe
debido en expropiaciones formales. En el juicio no. 369 de 1996,
la Corte Constitucional declar esta disposicin inconstitucional.
36. Ley de Finanzas Bajo ninguna. 662 de 1996, que modific la
disposicin de que haba sido declarada inconstitucional, la
indemnizacin en su totalidad no se puede otorgar por
expropiaciones efectuadas antes del 30 de septiembre de 1996.
En tales casos, la compensacin no puede superar dicho monto,
ms el 10%, pero sin aplicar la reduccin del 40%, como habra
sido pagadera en una expropiacin formal, (la mitad de la suma
del valor de mercado ms el ingreso de la tierra, menos del 40%).
En una sentencia no. 148 de 30 de abril de 1999 el Tribunal
Constitucional declar que dicha disposicin era compatible con la
Constitucin. Sin embargo, en la misma decisin, se dijo que la
indemnizacin en su totalidad, hasta el valor de mercado de la
tierra, podra ser reclamado cuando el desposeimiento y la
privacin de la tierra no eran de inters publico
LA LEY
I. SUPUESTA VIOLACIn DEL ARTCULO 1 DEL PROTOCOLO N 1
37. La empresa solicitante se quej de que se haba hecho
imposible que se recupere su tierra como resultado de la regla

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constructivo-expropiacin, que se haba aplicado a pesar de la
decisin del Tribunal Administrativo Regional de Toscana ("CCR")
anulando el proyecto de urbanizacin y la orden de posesin
como ilcito y no en el inters pblico. Aleg la violacin del
artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1, que dispone:
"Toda persona fsica o moral tiene derecho al respeto de sus
bienes. Nadie podr ser privado de su propiedad sino por causa
de utilidad pblica y en las condiciones previstas por la ley y por
los principios generales del derecho internacional.
Las disposiciones precedentes se entienden sin embargo, de
ninguna manera poner en peligro el derecho de un Estado para
hacer cumplir las leyes que considere necesarias para controlar el
uso de los bienes de acuerdo con el inters general o para
garantizar el pago de impuestos u otras contribuciones o
sanciones. "
A. Alegatos de los comparecientes
1. La empresa solicitante
38. La sociedad demandante mantiene que la injerencia en el
derecho al disfrute pacfico de sus posesiones no era compatible
con el artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1.
. 39 Sostuvo que la expropiacin era constructiva pese a las
exigencias de la legalidad por las siguientes razones: las
autoridades se hicieron dueos de la tierra a travs de una
conducta ilcita, es decir, tomando posesin sin ttulo;
terratenientes no podan acogerse a las garantas procesales
disponibles en una expropiacin formal; y el estado constructivoexpropiacin no se encontraba en ninguna disposicin legal, pero
haba sido establecido por la jurisprudencia y se considera
"derecho vivo".
40. Los acontecimientos posteriores han llevado a la empresa
solicitante a considerar que el requisito de legalidad no se haba
cumplido en el presente caso. Se observ que no estaba en
condiciones de obtener la restitucin de la tierra a pesar de la

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decisin del Tribunal Administrativo - que haba adquirido firmeza
- anulacin retroactiva a todos los actos de las autoridades,
incluida la declaracin de que el esquema era de inters pblico.
La decisin de la denegacin de la restitucin Consiglio di Stato
de la tierra como resultado de la aplicacin de la regla
constructivo-expropiacin por lo tanto representaba una
injerencia injustificada en el derecho de la sociedad demandante
al respeto de sus bienes. La empresa solicitante seal que la
regla constructivo-expropiacin dej terratenientes a la merced
de las autoridades, que - con el nico objetivo de apropiarse de la
tierra - podra llevar a cabo obras que no estaban en el inters
pblico despus de tomar posesin de la tierra en su totalidad de
forma ilegal y luego negarse a cumplir con las decisiones
judiciales que declaran su conducta ilegal.
41. La empresa solicitante aadi que el RAC Toscana haba sido
llamado a pronunciarse nicamente sobre la legalidad de los
actos de las autoridades y no poda decidir sobre el fondo del
asunto, es decir, si las obras de construccin de carreteras se
haban terminado. Por otro lado, el Consiglio di Stato, sobre un
recurso sobre la cuestin de la aplicacin (ottemperanza), tena
competencia para conocer el fondo y, por tanto, podra
determinar la fecha de finalizacin de las obras.
42. La empresa solicitante observ finalmente que era cierto que
la medida de la indemnizacin exigible por un propietario privado
de su tierra para las obras que no estaban en el inters pblico
era una compensacin en su totalidad (vase el prrafo 34
supra). Sin embargo, los daos no pueden ser considerados como
una compensacin por la supuesta prdida aun suponiendo que
pudieran ser reclamados por la empresa solicitante. La empresa
solicitante no estaba pidiendo a la Corte que se pronuncie sobre
la conducta de las autoridades - el RAC Toscana ya lo haba hecho
- sino para dar una decisin sobre el despido del Consiglio di Stato
de su solicitud de restitucin de la tierra. La empresa solicitante

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concluy invitando a la Corte para restablecer la legalidad.
2. El Gobierno
43. El Gobierno sostiene que la prdida de la tierra por la empresa
solicitante no infringi el artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1.
44. Ellos observaron en primer lugar, que la injerencia en el
derecho de la sociedad demandante al disfrute pacfico de sus
posesiones estaba "prevista por la ley", es decir, una norma
establecida por los tribunales que haban sido constante y
unnime aplicado desde la sentencia del Tribunal de Casacin no.
1464 de 1983 (vase el prrafo 26 supra). El Gobierno se refiri,
en particular, las sentencias del Tribunal de Casacin nn. 3940 de
1988 y 12.546 de 1992, el Consiglio di Stato'sjudgment no. 877
de 1991 y la jurisprudencia de la Corte Constitucional. La regla
establecida por la jurisprudencia de este modo constituye una
norma jurdica clara, accesible y adecuada y era una expresin de
la "ley viva", es decir, la ley efectivamente en vigor.
45. El Gobierno observa en segundo lugar que la empresa
demandante haba sido privado de su tierra "en el inters
pblico". Al principio, el esquema de la construccin de carreteras
y de las resoluciones de las autoridades haban estado en el
inters pblico. Si bien es cierto que los actos de las autoridades
posteriormente fueron anuladas por el Tribunal Administrativo, el
efecto de la regla constructivo-expropiacin era que, una vez
terminadas, las obras municipales se convirtieron de facto un
nuevo esquema en el inters pblico. Finalizacin de las obras
llevadas a cabo por las autoridades, por lo tanto tuvo un doble
efecto: que implicaba el reconocimiento de que el trabajo
realizado era de inters pblico, lo que significaba que la
conducta de las autoridades dej de ser ilegal.
46. Como resultado de ese mecanismo, la tierra ya no poda ser
devuelto a la empresa solicitante, ya que se considera irreversible
haberse convertido en pblico.
47. El hecho de que la privacin de la posesin era ilegal hasta

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que se hayan completado los trabajos, sin embargo, proporcion
al propietario el derecho a reclamar una indemnizacin pecuniaria
en forma de daos y perjuicios ante los tribunales competentes.
El Gobierno sostuvo que todava estaba abierto a la sociedad
demandante en el presente caso para interponer un recurso de
indemnizacin ante los tribunales competentes, que tal accin le
permitira obtener una indemnizacin en su totalidad y por lo
tanto constituye un remedio suficiente para la interferencia con
su derecho al disfrute pacfico de sus posesiones. A este respecto,
el Gobierno se refiri a la sentencia del Tribunal en el caso de
Zubani contra Italia (sentencia de 7 de agosto de 1996,
Repertorio de sentencias y decisiones 1996-IV).
48. Una accin por daos y perjuicios fue posible porque, en
opinin del Gobierno, el plazo de prescripcin de cinco aos que
haba comenzado a funcionar el 7 de agosto de 1987, sobre la
terminacin de las obras haba sido interrumpido por el
procedimiento de ejecucin presentados por la empresa
demandante ante el Consiglio di Stato. El Gobierno aade que,
cuando se trata de una solicitud de ejecucin (ottemperanza) el
Consiglio di Stato era competente para apreciar los hechos,
incluso con respecto a la fecha de finalizacin de sus obras. En
consecuencia, no haba incompatibilidad entre la constatacin y el
hecho de que la decisin de la RAC Toscana haba adquirido
firmeza, ya que esta ltima no poda decidir cuestiones de hecho.
49. Una accin por daos y perjuicios permitira a la empresa
solicitante para obtener una indemnizacin en su totalidad desde
la declaracin de que las obras estaban en el inters pblico
haba sido anulada por el RAC Toscana. El Gobierno se refiri a
este respecto a la sentencia del Tribunal Constitucional no. 148 de
30 de abril de 1999 (vase el prrafo 36 supra).
50. Por ltimo, el Gobierno explic que el procedimiento para la
reparacin pecuniaria tuvieron que ser instituido por la empresa
solicitante, ya que haba fracasado en su intento de obtener la

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restitucin de la tierra. Daos compensaran por la interferencia
con su derecho al disfrute pacfico de sus posesiones.
B. El cumplimiento del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1
. 51 El Tribunal recuerda que el artculo 1 del Protocolo N 1
contiene tres normas distintas: "La primera regla, que figura en la
primera frase del primer prrafo, es de naturaleza general y
enuncia el principio de respeto de la propiedad; la segunda regla,
contenida en la segunda frase del primer prrafo, abarca
privacin de la propiedad y la somete a ciertas condiciones; la
tercera regla, se indica en el segundo prrafo, reconoce que los
Estados contratantes tienen derecho, entre otras cosas, para
controlar el uso de los bienes de acuerdo con el inters general ...
Las tres reglas no son, sin embargo, "distinta" en el sentido de ser
desconectado. La segunda y tercera reglas se refieren a casos
concretos de injerencia en el derecho al disfrute pacfico de la
propiedad y por lo tanto deben ser interpretados a la luz del
principio general enunciado en la primera regla "(ver, entre otras
autoridades, el v James y otros, . el juicio de Reino Unido de 21 de
febrero de 1986, serie a, nm. 98, pp 29-30, 37, en parte
siguiendo los trminos del anlisis de la Corte en el Sporrong y
Lnnroth contra Suecia de 23 de septiembre de 1982, serie A nm
.. 52, p 24, 61;.. vase tambin el Santos Monasterios contra
Grecia de 9 de diciembre de 1994, serie A, n 301-A, p 31, 56, y
Iatridis contra Grecia [GS], nm. 31107/96, 55, CEDH 1999-II).
1. Si ha habido una injerencia
52. El Tribunal seala que ha quedado acreditado que se ha
producido una privacin de la propiedad.
53. Con el fin de determinar si se ha producido una privacin de la
propiedad en el sentido de la segunda regla, la Corte no debe
limitarse a examinar si ha habido desposesin o una expropiacin
formal, debe mirar detrs de las apariencias e investigar la
realidad de la situacin denunciada. Desde que la Convencin
tiene por objeto garantizar los derechos que son "prctica y

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efectiva", tiene que saber si esta situacin equivala a una
expropiacin de facto. (vase la sentencia Sporrong y Lnnroth
antes citada, pp 24-25, 63).
54. La Corte observa que en el presente caso, mediante la
aplicacin de la regla constructivo-expropiacin en su decisin, el
Consiglio di Stato priv a la empresa solicitante de la posibilidad
de obtener la restitucin de sus tierras. En estas circunstancias, el
Tribunal considera que el efecto de la sentencia del Consiglio di
Stato era privar a la empresa solicitante de sus posesiones en el
sentido de la segunda frase del prrafo primero del artculo 1 del
Protocolo n 1 (ver Brumrescu v . Rumania [GC],. no 28342/95,
77, CEDH 1999-VII).
55. Con el fin de ser compatible con el artculo 1 del Protocolo n
1, tal injerencia debe ser "de inters pblico", "sujeto a las
condiciones previstas por la ley y por los principios generales del
derecho internacional", y debe lograr un "justo equilibrio" entre
las exigencias del inters general de la comunidad y las
exigencias de la proteccin de los derechos fundamentales de la
persona (vase la sentencia Sporrong y Lnnroth antes citada, p.
26, 69). Por otra parte, la cuestin de si un justo equilibrio se ha
alcanzado "slo es pertinente una vez que se ha establecido que
la injerencia en cuestin cumple con el requisito de legalidad y no
fue arbitraria" (ver Iatridis antes citada, 58, y Beyeler contra
Italia [GC],. no 33202/96, 107, TEDH 2000-I).
2. El cumplimiento del requisito de la legalidad y el objetivo de la
interferencia
56. El Tribunal recuerda que la primera y ms importante requisito
del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1 es que cualquier injerencia de la
autoridad pblica en el respeto de los bienes debe ser legal. El
imperio de la ley, uno de los principios fundamentales de una
sociedad democrtica, es inherente a todos los artculos de la
Convencin (ver Iatridis antes citada, 58) y conlleva un deber
por parte del Estado o de otra autoridad pblica para cumplir con

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rdenes judiciales o decisiones en contra de ella.
57. El Tribunal considera que no es necesario decidir en abstracto
si el papel en el sistema de derecho continental de un Estado,
tales como la regla constructivo-expropiacin, establecida por los
tribunales es comparable a la de las disposiciones legales. Sin
embargo, reitera que el requisito de legalidad significa que las
normas de derecho interno han de ser lo suficientemente
accesible, precisa y previsible (vase el Hentrich contra Francia
sentencia de 22 de septiembre de 1994, serie A nm. 296-A, pp
19-20, 42, y la Lithgow y otros contra el Reino Unido de 8 de
julio de 1986, serie A nm. 102, p. 47, 110).
58. A este respecto, la Corte observa que la jurisprudencia en
materia de expropiaciones constructivas ha evolucionado de una
manera que ha llevado a la regla que se aplica
inconsistentemente (vanse los prrafos 22 a 36 supra), un factor
que podra dar lugar a resultados imprevisibles o arbitrarias y
privar a los justiciables de la proteccin efectiva de sus derechos
y es, por consiguiente, incompatible con el requisito de legalidad.
59. Asimismo, la Corte observa que, conforme la regla establecida
por el Tribunal de Casacin, en su sentencia nm. 1464 de 1983
toda expropiacin constructiva sigue la apropiacin ilcita de la
posesin de la tierra. La ilegalidad puede existir desde el principio
o surgir posteriormente. La Corte tiene reservas en cuanto a la
compatibilidad con el requisito de legalidad de un mecanismo
que, en general, permite a las autoridades para beneficiarse de
una situacin ilegal en la que el propietario de la tierra se
presenta con un hecho consumado.
60. En cualquier caso, el Tribunal tiene la obligacin de verificar si
la forma en que el derecho interno se interprete y aplique produce
consecuencias que sean consistentes con los principios de la
Convencin.
61. En el presente caso, la Corte observa que el 2 de diciembre de
1987, el RAC Toscana anul con efecto retroactivo la resolucin

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aprobada por las autoridades como ilcito y no en el inters
pblico. Sin embargo, esta afirmacin del RAC Toscana, en la que
declar que la ocupacin de las tierras de la empresa solicitante
era ilegal y no en el inters pblico (vase el prrafo 11 supra), no
dio lugar a la restitucin de la tierra, ya que el Consiglio di Stato
sostuvo que la transferencia de la propiedad a las autoridades se
haba vuelto irreversible.
62. La Corte considera que la injerencia en cuestin no era
compatible con el artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1. Esta conclusin
hace innecesario que proceda a examinar si se ha observado un
justo equilibrio entre las exigencias del inters general de la
comunidad y la necesidad de para proteger los derechos
individuales.
63. En consecuencia, se ha producido una violacin del artculo 1
del Protocolo n 1.
II. APLICACIN DEL ARTCULO 41 DE LA CONVENCIN
. 64 El artculo 41 de la Convencin establece:
Si el Tribunal declara que ha habido violacin del Convenio o de
sus Protocolos y si el derecho interno de la Alta Parte Contratante
as lo permita la reparacin slo las consecuencias de dicha
violacin, el Tribunal conceder, si procede, una satisfaccin
equitativa a la parte lesionada ".
65. La empresa demandante solicit la restitucin y reposicin de
los terrenos en cuestin, los que estn siendo las nicas medidas
que en su comunicacin sera remediar la presunta violacin, ya
que les permiten obtener la posicin anterior a la violacin del
artculo 1 del Protocolo N 1 al ser restablecido. La sociedad
demandante tambin reclama una indemnizacin por los daos
materiales que se determinar de manera equitativa o, en su
caso, a travs de la apreciacin de un experto; puso la
indemnizacin no ser inferior a 80 millones de liras italianas
(ITL), ms los intereses y la indexacin cubriendo como mnimo su
prdida del disfrute de la tierra para el perodo de privacin de la

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posesin hasta la restitucin. La empresa solicitante aleg
tambin ITL 30.000.000 ms intereses y la indexacin por los
daos inmateriales que la conducta del Estado haba causado. Por
ltimo, solicit el reembolso de los gastos efectuados ante los
tribunales nacionales y de ITL 8.000.000 para los gastos
generados ante la Corte.
66. El Gobierno afirm que la restitucin de la tierra fue excluida
por la expropiacin constructiva y sostuvo que la empresa
solicitante podra obtener una indemnizacin por la supuesta
violacin a travs de la accin de responsabilidad que se pudiera
llevar a los tribunales italianos. En referencia a las sentencias de
la Corte en los casos de B. contra Francia (sentencia de 25 de
marzo de 1992, serie A nm. 232-C), y De Wilde, Ooms y Versyp
contra Blgica (sentencia de 10 de marzo de 1972 (artculo 50),
Serie a, nm. 14), el Gobierno argument que la reclamacin de
la empresa solicitante de una satisfaccin equitativa era
inadmisible.
. 67 Si el Tribunal no mantener esa objecin, el Gobierno dijo que
sera imposible - por las razones indicadas por el Consiglio di
Stato - por la tierra a ser devuelto. Afirmaron que la restitucin de
la tierra estaba ms all del alcance del artculo 41 de la
Convencin. En cuanto a los daos materiales, el Gobierno afirma
que no suma podra conceder por este concepto, ya que todava
estaba abierto a la empresa solicitante para reclamar daos y
perjuicios ante los tribunales nacionales. En cuanto al dao
inmaterial, el Gobierno sostuvo que la constatacin de una
violacin constituira una satisfaccin equitativa suficiente. El
Gobierno considera que la suma solicitada por los costos era
excesivo y dej el asunto a la discrecin del Tribunal.
68. A la luz de las razones que le llevaron a encontrar una
violacin del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1, la Corte considera que
la objecin del Gobierno debe ser rechazada. El acto del gobierno
italiano que se declar contraria a la Convencin no fue una

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expropiacin que habra sido legtimo, pero para la falta de pago
de una compensacin equitativa; que era una toma por parte del
Estado de las tierras pertenecientes a la empresa solicitante, para
lo cual este ltimo no tena reparacin (ver, mutatis mutandis, el
Papamichalopoulos contra Grecia de 31 de octubre de 1995, serie
A nm. 330-B, pp 59 -60, 36).
69. El Tribunal considera, sin embargo, que en las circunstancias
del caso, la cuestin de la aplicacin del artculo 41 no est listo
para la toma. A la luz de la violacin que se ha encontrado en el
artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1, la forma ms adecuada de
reparacin en el presente caso sera a travs de la restitucin de
las tierras por parte del Estado, junto con la indemnizacin por el
dao moral sufrido , tales como la prdida del disfrute, y la
indemnizacin por concepto de dao moral. Sin embargo, las
partes no han proporcionado informacin detallada sobre este
punto. En consecuencia, es necesario reservar esta cuestin y
fijar el procedimiento posterior a la luz de cualquier acuerdo entre
el Estado demandado y la empresa solicitante (artculo 75 1 del
Reglamento de la Corte).
POR ESTOS MOTIVOS, EL TRIBUNAL, POR UNANIMIDAD
. 1 Declara que ha habido una violacin del artculo 1 del
Protocolo N 1;
. 2 Declara que la cuestin de la aplicacin del artculo 41 de la
Convencin no est listo para la toma en cuanto a los daos
materiales e inmateriales o los costos y gastos incurridos ante los
tribunales nacionales o la Corte; en consecuencia,
(a) se reserva en su conjunto;
(b) invita al Gobierno y la empresa solicitante que presente,
dentro de los prximos seis meses, cualquier acuerdo que puedan
alcanzar;
(c) reserva el procedimiento posterior y delega en el Presidente

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de la Cmara el poder de fijar la misma en caso de necesidad.
Hecha en francs y notificada por escrito el 30 de mayo de 2000,
en aplicacin del artculo 77 2 y 3 del Reglamento de la Corte.

Erik Fribergh Christos ROZAKIS


El Secretario El Presidente
De conformidad con el artculo 45 2 de la Convencin y el
Artculo 74 2 del Reglamento de la Corte, las siguientes
opiniones separadas son anexadas para este juicio:
(a) Opinin concordante del seor Rozakis;
(b) Opinin concordante del seor Bonello;
(c) Opinin concordante del Sr. Lorenzen acompaado por el Sr.
Baka.
C.L.R.
E.F.

VOTO CONCURRENTE DEL JUEZ ROZAKIS


Me gustara aclarar plenamente mi posicin en este caso, lo que
me ha llevado a encontrar una violacin del artculo 1 del
Protocolo n 1. Porque, aunque estoy de acuerdo, en trminos
generales, con las conclusiones y el razonamiento de la Corte,
hay todava algunos detalles, fundamentales para mi decisin de
celebrar que se ha producido una violacin que, en mi opinin,
debe ser ms elaborado.
(a) La violacin del artculo 1 del Protocolo N 1 en este caso
tiene como origen la decisin del Consiglio di Stato para aplicar la
regla de la expropiacin constructivo y, por lo tanto, privar a la
empresa solicitante de la posibilidad de obtener la restitucin de
su tierra, objeto de apropiacin ilcita por el municipio de Monte
Argentario.

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(b) La regla de expropiacin constructiva, aplicado en las
circunstancias del caso, se refiere a una forma de expropiacin
que se enmarca en el segundo prrafo del artculo 1 del Protocolo
n 1. Como consecuencia de ello, por una expropiacin para ser
considerado de conformidad con esta disposicin, debe servir al
inters pblico y estar sujeto a las condiciones previstas por la
ley.
(c) Parece que no hay duda de que la expropiacin constructiva
sirve, en las circunstancias del caso, el inters pblico. El
Consiglio di Stato, mediante la aplicacin de esta norma,
destinada a proteger las obras pblicas emprendidas por el
municipio que se haba terminado incluso antes del
pronunciamiento de la sentencia del Tribunal Administrativo. No
hay que confundir, pues, el hecho de que en un principio, ya que
el Tribunal Administrativo encontr, no hubo inters pblico, con
el inters pblico en que se bas la expropiacin constructiva.
(d) Sin embargo, como el Tribunal de Justicia ha dejado claro a su
juicio, el principal problema en este caso es que el imperio de la
expropiacin constructiva, una emanacin de la jurisprudencia,
"ha evolucionado de una manera que ha llevado a la regla que es
aplicado inconsistentemente ..., un factor que puede dar lugar a
resultados imprevisibles o arbitrarias y privar a los justiciables de
la proteccin efectiva de sus derechos ". Tambin me gustara
aadir que la regla de la expropiacin constructiva aplicada en
circunstancias como la actual no parece ser compatible con la
exigencia de la calidad de la legislacin que debe acompaar a
una norma legal o jurisprudencia con el fin de que ste cumpla los
requisitos del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1.
En conclusin, estoy de acuerdo con el Tribunal en que la
injerencia en cuestin no era compatible con el artculo 1 del
Protocolo n 1, ya que no haba base jurdica debidamente
apoyarlo.

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VOTO CONCURRENTE DEL JUEZ BONELLO
1. He votado con la mayora de encontrar una violacin del
artculo 1 del Protocolo N 1 y, en principio, suscribo plenamente
el razonamiento que lleva a esta conclusin.
2. Este voto particular se ocupa de lo que considero inadecuada
respuesta de la Corte a los escritos del Gobierno y de la sentencia
del Tribunal Constitucional italiano (n 188, de 1995).
. 3 No se discute en el presente caso (a) que la decisin de ocupar
la tierra de la demandante era ilegal e invlida; y (b) que las
obras llevadas a cabo en la tierra de la demandante en virtud de
que la notificacin no vlida de la expropiacin eran igualmente
ilegal.
4. El Tribunal Constitucional italiano, sin embargo, en dicha
sentencia, aprob la llamada "regla constructivo-expropiacin"
creado por el Tribunal de Casacin (ausente en cualquier libro de
estatutos) en virtud del cual la propiedad privada, designada de
manera ilegal por la expropiacin y construido ilegalmente sobre,
de todos modos se convierte en propiedad pblica, una vez
finalizadas las obras construidas en l. La Corte Constitucional
aadi que el hecho de que las autoridades se haban convertido
en propietarios de la tierra mediante el aprovechamiento de su
propio comportamiento ilegal no plantea ninguna dificultad en
virtud de la Constitucin, ya que el inters pblico en la
conservacin de las obras para el bien pblico superaba el inters
individual en el derecho de propiedad (vase el apartado 33 de la
presente sentencia).
5. Artculo 1 del Protocolo N 1 hace la privacin de la propiedad
privada sujeta a la existencia de una ley y para el cumplimiento
de las condiciones previstas en dicha ley. No existe una ley
estatutaria en Italia que autoriza la expropiacin de las
circunstancias sancionadas por el Tribunal Constitucional. Pero,
solamente para el bien del argumento, voy a admitir que una
oleada de activismo judicial por un tribunal de casacin ratificado

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por un Tribunal Constitucional tiene la eficacia suficiente en
derecho para llenar el vaco evidente en el libro de estatutos
italiano y puedo soportar como "ley" en lugar de una disposicin
legal inexistente. El problema, sin embargo, sigue siendo si este
satisface "cuasi-ley" en todos los criterios mnimos planteados por
la Convencin.
6. A diferencia de la Corte Constitucional italiana, el
comportamiento ilegal de las autoridades no plantean una
dificultad para m. Slo arsenales vergenza al tratar de
convencerme de que un acto ilegal es un acto ilegal, pero la suma
de dos actos ilegales da a luz a los derechos a favor del
malhechor. No me atrevo a comprar nuevas marcas de tica legal
por el cual, la tierra, una vez adquirido de forma ilegal se ha
construido ilegalmente sobre, el abuso de alguna manera
transfigura a s mismo en la legalidad. Programas de construccin
son, sin duda, dotada de virtudes milagrosas; convertir la
injusticia en derecho no es, a mi entender, uno de ellos.
7. En el desarrollo de la norma bsica de que todas las
interferencias con el disfrute de los derechos y libertades
fundamentales deben ser "de conformidad con la ley", los
rganos de la Convencin (en otros casos, en referencia a otros
derechos) han perfeccionado este concepto considerablemente.
Ellos han establecido que la expresin "'de conformidad con la
ley" ... tambin se refiere a la calidad de esa ley, requiriendo que
sea compatible con el Estado de Derecho recogidos en el
Prembulo de la Convencin "1.
8. Encuentro sugerencias muy insignificantes de compatibilidad
con el Estado de Derecho en una norma jurdicamente procreado
que hace que la adquisicin de los derechos depender de la
morosidad del malhechor. Los argumentos por los que los
derechos se pueden ganaron ex turpis causa no debera, en mi
opinin, cuentan con muy alta en la escala de la "calidad" del
imperio de la ley.

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9. La Corte ha, me parece, perdi una valiosa oportunidad para
extender el examen de la "calidad de la ley" principio adoptado
en otros casos para el caso de la privacin de la propiedad
conforme al artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1. Es un lstima.

VOTO CONCURRENTE DEL JUEZ LORENZEN


ACUMULADOS POR JUEZ BAKA
Estoy de acuerdo con la mayora que se ha producido una
violacin del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1, pero lamento que yo
no soy capaz de transmitir plenamente sus motivos.
Lo que ocurri en este caso fue que el municipio decidi expropiar
la propiedad del solicitante, cumplir su decisin muy rpidamente
y construy un camino a la tierra. La empresa demandante
interpuso recurso ante el Tribunal Administrativo Regional de
Toscana ("CCR"), que el 2 de diciembre 1987 encontr a su favor
declarando, entre otras cosas, que el proyecto de la carretera era
ilegal y que no exista un inters pblico en la construccin de la
carretera (de ah en la toma de tierra del solicitante). Esa decisin
qued firme, pero se entreg despus de la carretera ya se haba
construido. En las actuaciones posteriores de aplicacin de la RAC
incluso declar en su sentencia de 26 de junio 1991 que el
proyecto de la carretera era "peligrosa y contraria al inters
pblico". Esta afirmacin no ha sido impugnada ni por el Consiglio
di Stato, o, ante esta Corte, por el Gobierno italiano. Por tanto,
podra decirse que los tribunales italianos en efecto han
reconocido que la empresa solicitante fue privada de la tierra en
la violacin del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1.
De acuerdo con la jurisprudencia reiterada del Tribunal de Justicia
no es, en principio, suficiente para un aspirante a ser privado de
su condicin de "vctima" de las autoridades nacionales para
reconocer en forma expresa o en sustancia, que se ha producido
un incumplimiento de la Convencin: el solicitante tambin debe

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conceder compensacin por el incumplimiento (vase, por
analoga, la Amuur contra Francia sentencia de 25 de junio de
1996, Repertorio de sentencias y resoluciones 1996-III, p 846,
36, y Brumrescu v. Rumana [GC],. no 28342/95, 50, CEDH
1999-VII).
Por lo tanto, estoy de acuerdo con la mayora (vase el apartado
61 de la sentencia) que es importante en un caso como el
presente para examinar howthe autoridades nacionales
respondieron al hecho de que la toma de la propiedad era ilegal
por no ser de inters pblico. Si, por ejemplo, las autoridades
haban devuelto la propiedad a la empresa solicitante y la
indemnizacin por los daos que haba sufrido la privacin ilegal
de la propiedad pagadas, itcould evidente que ya no pretenden
ser una vctima. Sin embargo, la mayora parece ser de la opinin
de que la restitutio in integrum es una condicin absoluta para
declarar que un solicitante ha dejado de ser una vctima de la
violacin. No puedo estar de acuerdo con esa conclusin. Puede
ser imposible restaurar el estado original de las cosas,
simplemente porque la propiedad ya no existe, por ejemplo,
cuando un edificio se ha demolido. Pero incluso si la restitutio in
integrum, en principio, es posible que no siempre puede ser una
condicin para la curacin de una violacin del artculo 1 del
Protocolo n 1. Si la restitucin fuese a dar lugar a costes
excesivos que eran claramente desproporcionada en relacin con
el valor de la propiedad expropiada ilegalmente , que iba a
encontrar ninguna violacin del
dicho artculo, si la demandante hubiera sido compensado en su
totalidad por el dao que haba sufrido.
En el presente caso, el Consiglio di Stato italiano afirm en su
decisin de 7 de febrero de 1996 de que la restitucin era
imposible como consecuencia de la acquisitiva occupazione. La
sentencia no contiene la evaluacin de los costos o cualquier otro
posibles obstculos sustanciales a la restitucin. Por el contrario,

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uno tiene la impresin al leer la sentencia, que el mero hecho de
que las obras de construccin se haban terminado cre una
transferencia irreversible de la propiedad a travs de acquisitiva
occupazione. Legalizar claramente los actos ilegales de una
manera tan automtica, siempre y cuando se lleven a cabo con
rapidez y con independencia del hecho de que las demandas en
cuanto a su legalidad ya estn pendientes suficiente, sera en mi
opinin causan daos graves al respeto de la ley y el orden, por lo
que no es compatible con el concepto del Estado de Derecho, que
se materializa en el Prembulo de la Convencin y es
fundamental para la aplicacin de sus disposiciones. En todo
caso, sobre la base de la informacin disponible no encuentro se
estableci que no era posible para devolver la propiedad a la
empresa solicitante o que el retorno implicara costes excesivos.
Por esa razn, estoy de acuerdo con la mayora que se ha
producido una violacin del artculo 1 del Protocolo n 1.
El hecho de que la empresa solicitante an no se ha ofrecido
ninguna indemnizacin por la privacin ilegal de su propiedad,
pero tiene en s a entablar acciones judiciales - y dentro de un
plazo que, en principio, se extiende desde la terminacin de las
obras de construccin - me da grave preocupacin. En vista de la
conclusin anterior, sin embargo, yo no necesito en el presente
caso, considerar si esta es en s mismo incompatible con el citado
artculo.
Por ltimo, estoy de acuerdo con la mayora que puede dar lugar
a serias dudas de si la jurisprudencia relativa a la "expropiacin
constructiva" (occupazioneacquisitiva) de los tribunales italianos,
ya que ha desarrollado da una base jurdica suficiente para la
privacin de la propiedad, sino que no es necesario pronunciarse
sobre esta cuestin en el presente caso.

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SECOND SECTION

CASE OF BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY

(Application no. 31524/96)

JUDGMENT

STRASBOURG

30 May 2000

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FINAL

30/08/2000

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

In the case of Belvedere Alberghiera S.r.l. v. Italy,


The European Court of Human Rights (Second Section), sitting as a
Chamber composed of:
Mr C.L. ROZAKIS, President,
Mr A.B. BAKA,
Mr B. CONFORTI,
Mr G. BONELLO,
Mrs V. STRNICK
Mr P. LORENZEN,
Mrs M. TSATSA-NIKOLOVSKA, judges,
and Mr E. FRIBERGH, Section Registrar,
Having deliberated in private on 13 January and 11 May 2000,
Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the lastmentioned date:

PROCEDURE
1. The case originated in an application (no. 31524/96) against the
ItalianRepublic lodged with the European Commission of Human Rights
(the Commission) under former Article 25 of the Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention)
by a company formed under Italian law, Belvedere Alberghiera S.r.l. (the
applicant company), on 2 May 1996. The applicant company alleged an
unjustified interference with its right to peaceful enjoyment of its
possessions. On 1 July 1998 the Commission decided to give notice of the
application to the Italian Government (the Government) and invited them
to submit their observations on its admissibility and merits.
2. Following the entry into force of Protocol No. 11 to the Convention
on 1 November 1998 and in accordance with the provisions of Article 5 2
thereof, the application was examined by the Court. In accordance with
Rule 52 1 of the Rules of Court, the President of the Court assigned the
case to the Second Section. The Chamber constituted within that Section
included ex officio Mr B. Conforti, the judge elected in respect of Italy
(Article 27 2 of the Convention and Rule 26 1 (a)), and
Mr C.L. Rozakis, the President of the Section (Rule 26 1 (a)). The other
members designated by the latter to complete the Chamber were
Mr M. Fischbach, Mr P. Lorenzen, Mrs M. Tsatsa-Nikolovska,
Mr A.B. Baka and Mr E. Levits (Rule 26 1 (b)). Subsequently
Mr Fischbach and Mr Levits were replaced by Mr G. Bonello and
Mrs V. Strnick respectively.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

3. Before the Court, the applicant company was represented by


Mr Nicol Paoletti. The Government were represented by their Agent,
Mr U. Leanza, and co-Agent, Mr V. Esposito.
4. On 21 September 1999 the Chamber declared the application
admissible1 and decided to hold a hearing on the merits.
5. The applicant company and the Government each filed a memorial.
6. The hearing took place in public in the HumanRightsBuilding,
Strasbourg, on 13 January 2000.
There appeared before the Court:
(a)for the Government
Mr V. ESPOSITO,
(b) for the applicant company
Mr N. PAOLETTI, and
Mrs N. PAOLETTI, both of the Rome Bar,

Co-Agent;

Counsel.

THE FACTS
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
7. The applicant company, owner of the Belvedere Hotel at Monte
Argentario, also owned 1,375 sq. m. of land that gave patrons of the hotel
direct access to the sea.
8. On 19 May 1987 the Monte Argentario municipality passed a
resolution approving a road-building scheme. The road was to pass over the
applicant company's land.
9. On 25 May 1987 the mayor of Monte Argentario issued an order,
under an expedited procedure, for the possession of the applicant company's
land. On an unspecified date the authorities took physical possession of the
land and began the road-building works.
1. The proceedings issued by the applicant company
before the administrative courts

1. Note by the Registry. The Courts decision is obtainable from


the Registry.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

10. The applicant company appealed to the Tuscany Regional


Administrative Court (the RAC), contesting, inter alia, the lawfulness of
the municipality's resolution of 19 May 1987 and of its occupation of the
land.
11. By a judgment delivered on 2 December 1987, the Tuscany RAC
allowed the applicant company's appeal; it quashed the municipality's
resolution of 19 May 1987 and ruled that all subsequent action taken by it
was invalid. The RAC found that the municipality had approved the roadbuilding scheme without carrying out sufficient technical surveys
beforehand. As a result, the approved scheme was unlawful and could not be
considered as being in the public interest (non atto a realizzare un interesse
pubblico).
12. That decision was lodged at the registry on 24 May 1988 and
became final on 9 June 1989.
2. The enforcement proceedings issued by the applicant
company
13. By letters of 8 July 1988, 11 August 1989 and 18 July 1990, the
applicant company asked the Monte Argentario municipality to reinstate and
return the land, pursuant to the judgment of the RAC. However, the
municipality took no action.
14. The applicant company issued enforcement proceedings (giudizio di
ottemperanza) in the Tuscany RAC for the reinstatement and return of the
land in accordance with the judgment of 2 December 1987.
15. On 26 June 1991 the RAC dismissed those proceedings on the
ground that the judgment of 2 December 1987 could not be enforced as
there had been a constructive expropriation.
16. The RAC observed that although the judgment of 2 December 1987
had quashed the resolution of the municipality of Monte Argentario for
procedural defects during the planning inquiry, that did not prevent the
municipality from subsequently restarting the procedure and passing a fresh
resolution though it had not in any event done so. The RAC went on to
say that as a result of the constructive-expropriation rule (occupazione
acquisitiva), the applicant company was no longer the owner of the land,
which had become the property of the municipality of Monte Argentario
following completion of the road-building works. Despite its earlier
judgment and the fact that the works carried out by the authorities were
dangerous and contrary to the public interest, the fact that the authorities
had completed the works meant that title to the land had been transferred.
Consequently, restitution was impossible. However, as the transfer of
property had been unlawful, the applicant company was entitled to claim
damages in the civil courts.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

17. The applicant company appealed against that decision to the


Consiglio di Stato, its main contention being that, although the RAC had
ruled that the authorities' conduct was unlawful before they had completed
the works, the authorities had ignored the judgment. The fact that the
constructive-expropriation rule had been applied in the instant case rendered
the judgment devoid of purpose, since the authorities were free to act
unlawfully with the sole aim of acquiring title to the land.
18. By an order of 5 June 1995, Section V of the Consiglio di Stato,
before whom the appeal was pending, decided to refer the appeal to the full
court. The order indicates that the section concerned considered that in the
instant case the loss of title to the land as a result of the public works being
carried out amounted to a denial of justice. If a decision of an administrative
court favourable to the owner of the land, such as the decision of
2 December 1987, could not prevent the authorities taking possession of the
land, the owner would be at their mercy. Furthermore, Section V of the
Consiglio di Stato noted that the municipality of Monte Argentario had not
reopened the planning inquiry or passed any further resolutions following
the quashing of its resolution by the RAC.
19. In a decision of 7 February 1996 the Consiglio di Stato, sitting as a
full court, dismissed the applicant company's appeal. It held that the
application of the constructive-expropriation rule had not entailed a denial
of justice in the instant case. It said that the road-building works had been
largely completed by 7 August 1987 when the RAC had given its judgment.
Thereafter, only additional work of minor importance had been carried out,
such as the installation of lighting and the completion of the road surfacing.
Consequently, 7 August 1987 had to be considered the date when title to the
land was transferred because it was at that point that the change of user of
the land had become irreversible, as a result of the completion of the works.
The land could no longer be returned owing to the constructive
expropriation. That date was also the starting-point of the statutory
limitation period for claiming damages.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW AND PRACTICE
A. Law no. 85 of 22 October 1971
20. This statute governs the expedited expropriation procedure, which
permits authorities to start building before expropriation. Once a scheme has
been declared to be in the public interest and the plans adopted, the
authorities may make an expedited possession order, for a limited period not
exceeding five years, in respect of the land to be expropriated. The order
will lapse if physical possession of the land is not taken within three months

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

after its issue. After the land has been possessed, a formal expropriation
order must be made and compensation paid.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

B. The constructive-expropriation rule


(occupazione acquisitiva or accessione invertita)
21. During the 1970s, a number of local authorities took possession of
land using the expedited procedure but failed subsequently to issue an
expropriation order. The Italian courts were confronted with cases in which
the landowner had de facto lost use of the land as it had been possessed and
building works in the public interest had been undertaken. The question
arose whether the mere fact that works had been carried out meant that the
owner had also lost title to the land.
1. Case-law before the Court of Cassation's judgment
no. 1464 of 16 February 1983
22. There was a substantial divergence in the decisions of the Court of
Cassation over the effects of carrying out building works in the public
interest on land where possession had been taken unlawfully. Unlawful
possession means possession that is unlawful from the start, in other words
obtained without authority, or that is initially authorised but subsequently
became unlawful, either because the authority is quashed or because
possession continues beyond the authorised period without an expropriation
order being made.
23. Under one line of case-law, the owner of land that had been
possessed by the authorities did not lose ownership after the completion of
the works in the public interest. However, he could not request
reinstatement of the land; his only remedy was to bring an action in
damages for wrongful possession. No limitation period applied to such
actions as the unlawful nature of the possession was continuing. The
authorities could at any time issue a formal expropriation order. If they did
so, the action in damages was transformed into a dispute over the
compensation for expropriation, with damages for the loss of enjoyment of
the land being due only for the period prior to the making of the
expropriation order (see, among other authorities, the judgments of the
Court of Cassation nos. 2341 of 1982; 4741 of 1981; and 6452 and 6308 of
1980).
24. Under a second line, the landowner did not lose property in the land
and could request its reinstatement if the authorities had acted other than in
the public interest (see, for example, Court of Cassation judgments
nos. 1578 of 1976 and 5679 of 1980).

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

25. Under a third line, an owner dispossessed by the authorities


automatically lost title to the land as soon as it had been altered irreversibly,
that is to say on completion of the works in the public interest. He was
entitled to claim damages (the sole authority is Court of Cassation judgment
no. 3243 of 1979).
2. Court of Cassation judgment no. 1464 of 16 February
1983
26. In a judgment of 16 February 1983, the Court of Cassation, sitting as
a full court, resolved the conflict between the case-law authorities and
adopted the third solution. In so doing, it established the constructiveexpropriation rule (accessione invertita or occupazione acquisitiva). Under
the rule, the public authorities acquire title to the land from the outset before
formal expropriation if, after taking possession of the land and irrespective
of whether such possession is lawful, the works in the public interest are
performed. If, initially, the land is possessed without authority, the transfer
of property takes place when the works in the public interest are completed.
If the taking of possession was authorised from the outset, property is
transferred on the expiry of the authorised period of possession. In the same
judgment, the Court of Cassation stated that, on a constructive
expropriation, the owner is entitled to compensation in full as the
acquisition of the land has taken place without title (sine titulo). However,
compensation is not paid automatically: the owner must lodge a claim for
damages. In addition, the right to compensation is subject to a five-year
limitation period that applies to actions in tort; the starting-point is the date
the land is irreversibly altered.
3. Case-law after the Court of Cassation's judgment no.
1464 of 1983
(a) Limitation period

27. Initially, it was held that no limitation period applied, since


possession of the land without title was a continuing unlawful act (see
paragraph 23 above). In its judgment no. 1464 of 1983, the Court of
Cassation stated that the right to compensation was subject to a five-year
limitation period (see paragraph 26 above). Subsequently, the First Division
of the Court of Cassation said that a ten-year limitation period should apply
(judgment nos. 7952 of 1991 and 10979 of 1992). On 22 November 1992
the full court of the Court of Cassation decided the issue finally, holding that
the limitation period is five years and starts to run from the date the land is
irreversibly altered.
(b) Cases where the principle of constructive

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

expropriation does not apply

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

28. Recent developments in the case-law show that the mechanism


whereby carrying out building works in the public interest operates to
transfer property in the land to the authorities is subject to exceptions.
29. In its judgment no. 874 of 1996, the Consiglio di Stato stated that
there was no constructive expropriation where resolutions of the authorities
and an expedited possession order had been quashed by the administrative
courts, as otherwise the judicial decision would be devoid of purpose.
30. In judgment no. 1907 of 1997, the Court of Cassation, sitting as a
full court, said that the authorities did not acquire ownership of the land if
their resolutions and the declaration that expropriation was in the public
interest were deemed to have been null and void from the outset. In such
cases, the owner retained title to the land and could claim restitutio in
integrum. In the alternative, he could seek damages. The unlawful nature of
the possession in such cases was continuing and no limitation period
applied.
31. In judgment no. 6515 of 1997, the Court of Cassation, sitting as a
full court, said that there was no transfer of property where the declaration
that expropriation was in the public interest had been annulled by the
administrative courts. In such cases, therefore, the constructiveexpropriation rule did not apply. The owner, who retained ownership of the
land, was entitled to claim restitutio in integrum. If he brought an action in
damages, that entailed a waiver of his right to restitution. The five-year
limitation period started to run from the date when the decision of the
administrative court became final.
32. In judgment no. 148 of 1998, the First Division of the Court of
Cassation followed the decision of the full court and held that there was no
transfer of property by constructiveexpropriation where the declaration that
the building works were in the public interest was deemed to have been
invalid from the outset.
(c) Constitutional Court judgment no. 188 of 1995

33. In this judgment, the Constitutional Court was called upon to decide
firstly whether the constructive-expropriation rule was compatible with the
Constitution. The court declared that question inadmissible on the ground
that it had jurisdiction to examine statutory provisions only, not rules
established by the courts. Secondly, it held that the application to an action
for compensation of the five-year limitation period laid down by
Article 2043 of the Civil Code for claims in tort was compatible with the
Constitution. The fact that the authorities had become owners of the land by
taking advantage of their own unlawful conduct did not pose any difficulty
under the Constitution, since the public interest in the preservation of works
for the public good outweighed the individual's interest in the right of
property.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

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(d) Level of compensation for constructive expropriation

34. Under the Court of Cassation's case-law on constructive


expropriations, compensation in full, that is to say damages for the
deprivation of the land, is due to the owner in consideration for the loss of
ownership caused by the unlawful taking of possession.
35. The Finance Law of 1992 (Article 5 bis of Legislative Decree
no. 333 of 11 July 1992) superseded that case-law by providing that the
compensation payable on constructive expropriations could not exceed the
amount due on formal expropriations. In judgment no. 369 of 1996, the
Constitutional Court declared that provision unconstitutional.
36. Under Finance Law no. 662 of 1996, which amended the provision
that had been declared unconstitutional, compensation in full cannot be
awarded for dispossessions effected before 30 September 1996. In such
cases, compensation cannot exceed such amount, plus 10%, but without
applying the 40% reduction, as would have been payable on a formal
expropriation (one-half of the sum of the market value plus the income from
the land, less 40%). In a judgment no. 148 of 30 April 1999, the
Constitutional Court held that that provision was compatible with the
Constitution. However, in the same decision, it said that compensation in
full, up to the market value of the land, could be claimed where the
dispossession and deprivation of the land were not in the public interest.

THE LAW
I. ALLEGED VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 1 OF PROTOCOL No. 1
37. The applicant company complained that it had become impossible
for it to recover its land as a result of the constructive-expropriation rule,
which had been applied despite the decision of the Tuscany Regional
Administrative Court (the RAC) quashing the building scheme and the
possession order as being unlawful and not in the public interest. It alleged a
violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, which provides:
Every natural or legal person is entitled to the peaceful enjoyment of his
possessions. No one shall be deprived of his possessions except in the public interest
and subject to the conditions provided for by law and by the general principles of
international law.
The preceding provisions shall not, however, in any way impair the right of a State
to enforce such laws as it deems necessary to control the use of property in accordance
with the general interest or to secure the payment of taxes or other contributions or
penalties.

A. Arguments of those appearing before the Court

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

11

1. The applicant company


38. The applicant company maintained that the interference with its right
to peaceful enjoyment of its possessions was not compatible with Article 1
of Protocol No. 1.
39. It contended that constructive expropriation was contrary to the
requirement of lawfulness for the following reasons: the authorities became
owners of the land through unlawful conduct, namely by taking possession
without title; landowners could not avail themselves of the procedural
guarantees available on a formal expropriation; and the constructiveexpropriation rule was not to be found in any statutory provision but had
been established by the case-law and was considered to be living law.
40. Subsequent events had led the applicant company to consider that
the requirement of lawfulness had not been complied with in the instant
case. It observed that it was unable to obtain restitution of the land despite
the decision of the Administrative Court which had become final
retrospectively quashing all the authorities' acts, including the declaration
that the scheme was in the public interest. The decision of the Consiglio di
Stato refusing restitution of the land as a result of the application of the
constructive-expropriation rule thus represented an unjustified interference
with the applicant company's right to the peaceful enjoyment of its
possessions. The applicant company noted that the constructiveexpropriation rule left landowners at the mercy of the authorities, who
with the sole aim of appropriating land could carry out works that were
not in the public interest after taking possession of the land wholly
unlawfully and then refuse to comply with judicial decisions declaring their
conduct unlawful.
41. The applicant company added that the Tuscany RAC had been called
upon to rule solely on the lawfulness of the authorities' acts and could not
decide the merits of the case, that is to say whether the road-building works
had been finished. On the other hand, the Consiglio di Stato, on an appeal
on the issue of enforcement (ottemperanza), had jurisdiction to hear the
merits and could therefore determine the date of completion of the works.
42. The applicant company observed finally that it was true that the
measure of compensation claimable by an owner deprived of his land for
works that were not in the public interest was compensation in full (see
paragraph 34 above). However, damages could not be considered as
compensation for the alleged loss even assuming they could be claimed by
the applicant company. The applicant company was not asking the Court to
rule on the authorities' conduct the Tuscany RAC had already done so
but to give a decision on the Consiglio di Stato's dismissal of its application
for restitution of the land. The applicant company concluded by inviting the
Court to restore legality.
2. The Government

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

12

43. The Government submitted that the loss of the land by the applicant
company did not infringe Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
44. They observed firstly that the interference with the applicant
company's right to peaceful enjoyment of its possessions was provided for
by law, namely a rule established by the courts that had been consistently
and unanimously applied since the Court of Cassation's judgment no. 1464
of 1983 (see paragraph 26 above). The Government referred in particular to
the Court of Cassation's judgments nos. 3940 of 1988 and 12546 of 1992,
the Consiglio di Stato'sjudgment no. 877 of 1991 and the case-law of the
Constitutional Court. The rule established by the case-law thus constituted a
clear, accessible and adequate legal norm and was an expression of the
living law, that is to say the law effectively in force.
45. The Government observed secondly that the applicant company had
been deprived of its land in the public interest. At the outset, the roadbuilding scheme and the authorities' resolutions had been in the public
interest. Although it was true that the authorities' acts had subsequently been
quashed by the Administrative Court, the effect of the constructiveexpropriation rule was that, once completed, municipal works became de
facto a new scheme in the public interest. Completion of the works carried
out by the authorities therefore had a dual effect: it entailed recognition that
the work carried out was in the public interest and meant that the authorities'
conduct ceased to be unlawful.
46. As a result of that mechanism, the land could no longer be returned
to the applicant company as it was irreversibly deemed to have become
public.
47. The fact that the deprivation of possession was unlawful until the
works had been completed nevertheless afforded the owner the right to
claim pecuniary compensation in the form of damages before the relevant
courts. The Government maintained that it was still open to the applicant
company in the instant case to bring an action in damages before the
relevant courts, that such an action would enable it to obtain compensation
in full and thus constituted a sufficient remedy for the interference with its
right to peaceful enjoyment of its possessions. On that point, the
Government referred to the judgment of the Court in the case of Zubani
v. Italy (judgment of 7 August 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions
1996-IV).
48. An action in damages was possible because, in the Government's
submission, the five-year limitation period which had started to run on
7 August 1987 on completion of the works had been interrupted by the
enforcement proceedings brought by the applicant company before the
Consiglio di Stato. The Government added that, when dealing with an
application for enforcement (ottemperanza) the Consiglio di Stato had
jurisdiction to make findings of fact, including as to the date when the
works were completed. Consequently, there was no inconsistency between

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

13

its finding and the fact that the decision of the Tuscany RAC had become
final, as the latter could not decide issues of fact.
49. An action in damages would enable the applicant company to obtain
compensation in full since the declaration that the works were in the public
interest had been quashed by the Tuscany RAC. The Government referred
on that point to the Constitutional Court's judgment no. 148 of 30 April
1999 (see paragraph 36 above).
50. Lastly the Government explained that proceedings for pecuniary
reparation had to be instituted by the applicant company as it had failed in
its attempt to obtain restitution of the land. Damages would compensate it
for the interference with its right to peaceful enjoyment of its possessions.
B. Compliance with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
51. The Court reiterates that Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 contains three
distinct rules: The first rule, set out in the first sentence of the first
paragraph, is of a general nature and enunciates the principle of the peaceful
enjoyment of property; the second rule, contained in the second sentence of
the first paragraph, covers deprivation of possessions and subjects it to
certain conditions; the third rule, stated in the second paragraph, recognises
that the Contracting States are entitled, amongst other things, to control the
use of property in accordance with the general interest ... The three rules are
not, however, 'distinct' in the sense of being unconnected. The second and
third rules are concerned with particular instances of interference with the
right to peaceful enjoyment of property and should therefore be construed in
the light of the general principle enunciated in the first rule (see, among
other authorities, the James and Others v. the United Kingdom judgment of
21 February 1986, Series A no. 98, pp. 29-30, 37, partly following the
terms of the Court's analysis in the Sporrong and Lnnroth v. Sweden
judgment of 23 September 1982, Series A no. 52, p. 24, 61; see also the
Holy Monasteries v. Greece judgment of 9 December 1994, Series A
no. 301-A, p. 31, 56, and Iatridis v. Greece [GC], no. 31107/96, 55,
ECHR 1999-II).
1. Whether there has been an interference
52. The Court notes that it is common ground that there has been a
deprivation of possessions.
53. In order to determine whether there has been a deprivation of
possessions within the meaning of the second rule, the Court must not
confine itself to examining whether there has been dispossession or formal
expropriation, it must look behind the appearances and investigate the
realities of the situation complained of. Since the Convention is intended to
guarantee rights that are practical and effective, it has to be ascertained

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

14

whether that situation amounted to a de facto expropriation. (see the


Sporrong and Lnnroth judgment cited above, pp. 24-25, 63).
54. The Court notes that in the present case, by applying the
constructive-expropriation rule in its decision, the Consiglio di Stato
deprived the applicant company of the possibility of obtaining restitution of
its land. In the circumstances, the Court finds that the effect of the judgment
of the Consiglio di Stato was to deprive the applicant company of its
possessions within the meaning of the second sentence of the first paragraph
of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (see Brumrescu v. Romania [GC],
no. 28342/95, 77, ECHR 1999-VII).
55. In order to be compatible with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, such an
interference must be in the public interest, subject to the conditions
provided for by law and by the general principles of international law and
must strike a fair balance between the demands of the general interest of
the community and the requirements of the protection of the individual's
fundamental rights (see the Sporrong and Lnnroth judgment cited above,
p. 26, 69). Furthermore, the issue of whether a fair balance has been struck
becomes relevant only once it has been established that the interference in
question satisfied the requirement of lawfulness and was not arbitrary (see
Iatridis cited above, 58, and Beyeler v. Italy [GC], no. 33202/96, 107,
ECHR 2000-I).
2. Compliance with the requirement of lawfulness and
the aim of the interference
56. The Court reiterates that the first and most important requirement of
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 is that any interference by a public authority
with the peaceful enjoyment of possessions should be lawful. The rule of
law, one of the fundamental principles of a democratic society, is inherent in
all the Articles of the Convention (see Iatridis cited above, 58) and entails
a duty on the part of the State or other public authority to comply with
judicial orders or decisions against it.
57. The Court does not consider it necessary to decide in the abstract
whether the role in the continental-law system of a rule, such as the
constructive-expropriation rule, established by the courts is comparable to
that of statutory provisions. However, it reiterates that the requirement of
lawfulness means that rules of domestic law must be sufficiently accessible,
precise and foreseeable (see the Hentrich v. France judgment of
22 September 1994, Series A no. 296-A, pp. 19-20, 42, and the Lithgow
and Others v. the United Kingdom judgment of 8 July 1986, Series A
no. 102, p. 47, 110).
58. In that connection, the Court observes that the case-law on
constructive expropriations has evolved in a way that has led to the rule
being applied inconsistently (see paragraphs 22 to 36 above), a factor which

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

15

could result in unforeseeable or arbitrary outcomes and deprive litigants of


effective protection of their rights and is, as a consequence, inconsistent
with the requirement of lawfulness.
59. The Court also notes that under the rule established by the Court of
Cassation in its judgment no. 1464 of 1983 every constructive expropriation
follows the unlawful taking of possession of the land. The unlawfulness
may exist at the outset or arise subsequently. The Court has reservations as
to the compatibility with the requirement of lawfulness of a mechanism
which, generally, enables the authorities to benefit from an unlawful
situation in which the landowner is presented with a fait accompli.
60. In any event, the Court is required to verify whether the way in
which the domestic law is interpreted and applied produces consequences
that are consistent with the principles of the Convention.
61. In the instant case, the Court notes that on 2 December 1987 the
Tuscany RAC quashed with retrospective effect the resolution passed by the
authorities as being unlawful and not in the public interest. However, that
finding of the Tuscany RAC, in which it held that the occupation of the
applicant company's land was unlawful and not in the public interest (see
paragraph 11 above), did not result in restitution of the land, since the
Consiglio di Stato held that the transfer of property to the authorities had
become irreversible.
62. The Court considers that the interference in question was not
compatible with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. That conclusion makes it
unnecessary for it to examine whether a fair balance was struck between the
requirements of the general interest of the community and the need to
protect individual rights.
63. Consequently, there has been a violation of Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1.
II. application of article 41 of the convention
64. Article 41 of the Convention provides:
If the Court finds that there has been a violation of the Convention or the Protocols
thereto, and if the internal law of the High Contracting Party concerned allows only
partial reparation to be made, the Court shall, if necessary, afford just satisfaction to
the injured party.

65. The applicant company sought restitution and reinstatement of the


land in question, those being the only measures which in its submission
would remedy the alleged violation, since they would enable the position
obtaining before the violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to be reestablished. The applicant company also claimed compensation for
pecuniary damage to be determined on an equitable basis or, if appropriate,
through the assessment of an expert; it put the compensation at not less than
80,000,000 Italian lire (ITL) plus interest and index-linking covering at

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

16

minimum its loss of enjoyment of the land for the period of deprivation of
possession until restitution. The applicant company further claimed
ITL 30,000,000 plus interest and index-linking for the non-pecuniary
damage which the State's conduct had caused it. Lastly, it requested
reimbursement of the costs incurred before the national courts and of
ITL 8,000,000 for costs incurred before the Court.
66. The Government stated that restitution of the land was precluded by
the constructive expropriation and maintained that the applicant company
could obtain compensation for the alleged violation through the action in
damages which it could bring in the Italian courts. Referring to the
judgments of the Court in the cases of B. v. France (judgment of 25 March
1992, Series A no. 232-C), and De Wilde, Ooms and Versyp v. Belgium
(judgment of 10 March 1972 (Article 50), Series A no. 14), the Government
argued that the applicant company's claim for just satisfaction was
inadmissible.
67. Should the Court not uphold that objection, the Government said that
it would be impossible for the reasons indicated by the Consiglio di Stato
for the land to be returned. They contended that restitution of the land was
beyond the scope of Article 41 of the Convention. As regards pecuniary
damage, the Government submitted that no sum could be awarded under
that head since it was still open to the applicant company to seek damages
before the national courts. As to non-pecuniary damage, the Government
maintained that a finding of a violation would constitute sufficient just
satisfaction. The Government considered that the sum requested for costs
was excessive and left the issue to the discretion of the Court.
68. In the light of the reasons which led it to find a violation of Article 1
of Protocol No. 1, the Court considers that the Government's objection must
be rejected. The act of the Italian government which the Court held to be
contrary to the Convention was not an expropriation that would have been
legitimate but for the failure to pay fair compensation; it was a taking by the
State of land belonging to the applicant company, for which the latter had no
redress (see, mutatis mutandis, the Papamichalopoulos v. Greece judgment
of 31 October 1995, Series A no. 330-B, pp. 59-60, 36).
69. The Court considers, however, that in the circumstances of the case
the issue of the application of Article 41 is not ready for decision. In the
light of the violation that has been found of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, the
most appropriate form of redress in the present case would be by way of
restitution of the land by the State, coupled with compensation for the
pecuniary damage sustained, such as the loss of enjoyment, and
compensation for non-pecuniary damage. However, the parties have not
provided detailed information on this point. Consequently, it is necessary to
reserve this issue and to fix the subsequent procedure in the light of any
agreement between the respondent State and the applicant company
(Rule 75 1 of the Rules of Court).

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

17

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY


1. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1;
2. Holds that the question of the application of Article 41 of the
Convention is not ready for decision as regards pecuniary and nonpecuniary damage or the costs and expenses incurred before the
domestic courts or the Court; accordingly,
(a) reserves it in whole;
(b) invites the Government and the applicant company to submit, within
the forthcoming six months, any settlement that they may reach;
(c) reserves the further procedure and delegates to the President of the
Chamber power to fix the same if need be.
Done in French, and notified in writing on 30 May 2000, pursuant to
Rule 77 2 and 3 of the Rules of Court.

Erik FRIBERGH
Registrar

Christos ROZAKIS
President

In accordance with Article 45 2 of the Convention and Rule 74 2 of


the Rules of Court, the following separate opinions are annexed to this
judgment:
(a) concurring opinion of Mr Rozakis;
(b) concurring opinion of Mr Bonello;
(c) concurring opinion of Mr Lorenzen joined by Mr Baka.
C.L.R.
E.F.

CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE ROZAKIS


I would like to fully clarify my position in this case which has led me to
find a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. Because, while I agree, in
general terms, with the findings and the reasoning of the Court, there are
still some details, fundamental to my decision to hold that there has been a
violation which, to my mind, must be further elaborated.
(a) The violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in this case has as its
source the decision of the Consiglio di Stato to apply the rule of
constructive expropriation and, hence, to deprive the applicant company of

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

18

the possibility of obtaining restitution of its land, unlawfully taken by the


municipality of Monte Argentario.
(b) The rule of constructive expropriation, applied in the circumstances
of the case, refers to a means of expropriation which falls under the second
paragraph of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. As a consequence, for an
expropriation to be considered in conformity with this provision, it must
serve the public interest and be subject to the conditions provided for by
law.
(c) It seems that there is no doubt that the constructive expropriation
served, in the circumstances of the case, the public interest. The Consiglio
di Stato, by applying this rule, aimed at protecting the public works
undertaken by the municipality which had been completed even before the
delivery of the judgment by the Administrative Court. One should not
confuse, then, the fact that initially, as the Administrative Court found, there
was no public interest, with the public interest upon which the constructive
expropriation was based.
(d) Yet, as the Court has clearly stated in its judgment, the main problem
in this case is that the rule of constructive expropriation, an emanation of the
case-law, has evolved in a way that has led to the rule being applied
inconsistently ..., a factor which can result in unforeseeable or arbitrary
outcomes and deprive litigants of effective protection of their rights. I
would also add that the rule of constructive expropriation applied in
circumstances like the present one does not seem to be reconcilable with the
requirement of the quality of law which should accompany a statutory or
case-law rule in order for the latter to fulfil the requirements of Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1.
In conclusion, I agree with the Court that the interference in question was
not compatible with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, since there was no legal
basis duly supporting it.

CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE BONELLO


1. I have voted with the majority to find a violation of Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1 and, in principle, I fully subscribe to the reasoning which
leads to that finding.
2. This separate opinion addresses what I consider the Court's
inadequate response to the Government's pleadings and to the judgment of
the Italian Constitutional Court (no. 188 of 1995).
3. It is not disputed in the present case (a) that the decision to occupy the
applicant's land was illegal and invalid; and (b) that the construction works
carried out on the applicant's land in pursuance of that invalid notice of
expropriation were equally illegal.
4. The Italian Constitutional Court, however, in the said judgment,
approved the so-called constructive-expropriation rule created by the
Court of Cassation (absent in any statute book) by virtue of which private

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

19

property, illegally designated for expropriation and illegally built upon,


anyway becomes public property once the works constructed on it are
completed. The Constitutional Court added that the fact that the authorities
had become owners of the land by taking advantage of their own unlawful
conduct did not pose any difficulty under the Constitution, since the public
interest in the preservation of works for the public good outweighed the
individual interest in the right of property (see paragraph 33 of the present
judgment).
5. Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 makes deprivation of private property
subject to the existence of a law and to the observance of the conditions
provided for by that law. There is no statutory law in Italy authorising
expropriation in the circumstances sanctioned by the Constitutional Court.
But, solely for the sake of argument, I will concede that a surge of judicial
activism by a Court of Cassation ratified by a Constitutional Court has
sufficient efficacy at law to fill the conspicuous gap in the Italian statute
book and can stand as law in lieu of an inexistent statutory provision. The
problem, however, remains whether this quasi-law satisfies at all the
minimum criteria posited by the Convention.
6. Differently from the Italian Constitutional Court, the unlawful
conduct of the authorities does pose a difficulty for me. I only stockpile
embarrassment in attempting to convince myself that one illegal act is an
illegal act, but the sum of two illegal acts gives birth to rights in favour of
the wrongdoer. I hesitate to buy new brands of legal ethics by which, once
unlawfully acquired land has been unlawfully built upon, abuse somehow
transfigures itself into lawfulness. Construction programmes are, no doubt,
endowed with bountiful virtues; turning wrong into right is not, to my
knowledge, one of them.
7. In developing the basic rule that all interferences with the enjoyment
of fundamental rights and freedoms have to be in accordance with the
law, the Convention organs (in other cases, referring to other rights) have
refined this concept considerably. They have established that the expression
'in accordance with the law' ... also relates to the quality of that law,
requiring it to be compatible with the rule of law mentioned in the Preamble
to the Convention1.
8. I find very insignificant suggestions of compatibility with the rule of
law in a judicially procreated norm that makes the acquisition of rights
depend on the delinquency of the wrongdoer. Arguments by which rights
11. Silver and Others v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 25 March 1983, Series A no. 61,
p. 34, 90; Malone v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 2 August 1984, Series A no. 82,
p. 32, 67; Halford v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 25 June 1997, Reports of
Judgments and Decisions 1997-III, p. 1017, 49; and Rotaru v. Romania [GC],
no. 28341/95, opinion of the Commission, 64, ECHR 2000-V.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l. v. ITALY JUDGMENT

20

can be earned ex turpis causa should not, in my view, feature very high in
the quality scale of the rule of law.
9. The Court has, it seems to me, lost a priceless opportunity to extend
the examination of the quality of law principle adopted in other cases to
the case of deprivation of property under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1. It is a
pity.

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l.v. ITALY JUDGMENT

21

CONCURRING OPINION OF JUDGE LORENZEN


JOINED BY JUDGE BAKA
I agree with the majority that there has been a violation of Article 1 of
Protocol No. 1, but I regret that I am not able fully to share its reasoning.
What happened in this case was that the municipality decided to
expropriate the applicant's property, enforced its decision very quickly and
built a road on the land. The applicant company appealed to the Regional
Administrative Court of Tuscany (the RAC) which on 2 December 1987
found in its favour stating, inter alia, that the road project was illegal and
that there was no public interest in building the road (hence in taking the
applicant's land). That decision became final, but was delivered after the
road had already been built. In the later enforcement proceedings the RAC
even stated in its judgment of 26 June 1991 that the road project was
dangerous and contrary to the public interest. That finding has not been
contested either by the Consiglio di Stato or, before this Court, by the Italian
Government. It could therefore be said that the Italian courts have in effect
recognised that the applicant company was deprived of the land in breach of
Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
According to the settled case-law of the Court it is not in principle
sufficient for an applicant to be deprived of his status as a victim for the
national authorities to acknowledge, either expressly or in substance, that
there has been a breach of the Convention: the applicant must also be
afforded redress for the breach (see, mutatis mutandis, the Amuur v. France
judgment of 25 June 1996, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1996-III,
p. 846, 36, and Brumrescu v. Romania [GC], no. 28342/95, 50, ECHR
1999-VII).
I therefore agree with the majority (see paragraph 61 of the judgment)
that it is important in a case like the present one to examine howthe national
authorities responded to the fact that the taking of the property was illegal as
not being in the public interest. If, for instance,the authorities had given
back the property to the applicant company and paid compensation for the
damage which it had suffered from the unlawful taking of the property,
itcould clearly no longer claim to be a victim. However, the majority seems
to be of the opinion that restitutio in integrum is an absolute condition for
stating that an applicant is no longer a victim of the violation. I cannot agree
with such a conclusion. It may be impossible to restore the original state of
affairs simply because the property no longer exists, for instance where a
building has been demolished. But even if restitutio in integrum in principle
is possible it cannot always be a condition for curing a violation of Article 1
of Protocol No. 1. If restitution were to give rise to excessive costs which
were clearly disproportionate to the value of the property illegally taken, I
would find no violation of the

BELVEDERE ALBERGHIERA S.r.l.v. ITALY JUDGMENT

22

said Article, if the applicant had been compensated in full for the damage he had
suffered.
In the present case the Italian Consiglio di Stato stated in its decision of 7 February
1996 that restitution was impossible as a consequence of the occupazione acquisitiva.
The judgment contains no assessment of the costs or any other possible substantial
obstacles to restitution. On the contrary, one gets the impression when reading the
judgment that the mere fact that the construction works had been completed created an
irreversible transfer of ownership by way of occupazione acquisitiva. To legalise clearly
illegal acts in such an automatic way, provided they are carried out with sufficient speed
and irrespective of the fact that lawsuits concerning their legality are already pending,
would in my opinion cause serious damage to respect for law and order and is therefore
not compatible with the concept of the rule of law, which is embodied in the Preamble
to the Convention and is fundamental to the application of its provisions. In any event,
on the basis of the available information I cannot find it established that it was
impossible to return the property to the applicant company or that such a return would
involve excessive costs. For that reason, I agree with the majority that there has been a
violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
The fact that the applicant company has not even been offered any compensation for
the illegal deprivation of its property, but has itself to initiate court proceedings and
within a time-limit which in principle runs from the termination of the construction
works gives me serious concern. In view of the above finding, however, I need not in
the present case consider whether this in itself is incompatible with the said Article.
Finally, I agree with the majority that it may give rise to serious doubt whether the
case-law on constructive expropriation (occupazioneacquisitiva) of the Italian courts
as it has developed gives a sufficient legal basis for a deprivation of property, but that it
is not necessary to rule on that question in the present case.