Key facts of the case:
11. The applicant company is an airline charter company incorporated in Turkey in March 1992. 12. By an agreement dated 17 April 1992, the applicant company leased two Boeing 737-300 aircraft from Yugoslav Airlines (JAT), the national airline of the former Yugoslavia. These were, at all material times, the only two aircraft operated by the applicant company. The lease agreement was a “dry lease without crew” for a period of forty-eight months from the dates of delivery of the two aircraft (22 April and 6 May 1992). According to the terms of the lease, the crew were to be the applicant company's employees and the applicant company was to control the destination of the aircraft. While ownership of the aircraft remained with JAT, the applicant company could enter the aircraft on the Turkish Civil Aviation Register provided it noted JAT's ownership. 13. The applicant company paid a lump sum of 1,000,000 United States dollars (USD) per aircraft on delivery. The monthly rental was 150,000 USD per aircraft. On 11 and 29 May 1992 the two aircraft were registered in Turkey as provided for in the lease. On 14 May 1992 the applicant company obtained its airline licence.
Outcome of the case:
4. Conclusion under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1
167. It follows that the impoundment of the aircraft did not give rise to a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1.
FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
159. The Court has described above (see paragraphs 73-81) the fundamental rights guarantees of the European Community which apply to member States, Community institutions and natural and legal persons (“individuals”). While the founding treaties of the European Communities did not initially contain express provisions for the protection of fundamental rights, the ECJ subsequently recognised that such rights were enshrined in the general principles of Community law protected by it, and that the Convention had a “special significance” as a source of such rights. Respect for fundamental rights has become “a condition of the legality of Community acts” (see paragraphs 73-75 above, together with the opinion of the Advocate General in the present case, paragraphs 45-50 above) and in carrying out this assessment the ECJ refers extensively to Convention provisions and to this Court's jurisprudence. At the relevant time, these jurisprudential developments had been reflected in certain treaty amendments (notably those aspects of the Single European Act of 1986 and of the Treaty on European Union referred to in paragraphs 77-78 above). This evolution has continued. The Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997 is referred to in paragraph 79 above. Although not fully binding, the provisions of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union were substantially inspired by those of the Convention, and the Charter recognises the Convention as establishing the minimum human rights standards. Article I-9 of the later Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (not in force) provides for the Charter to become primary law of the European Union and for the Union to accede to the Convention (see paragraphs 80-81 above).