B. The Government’s submissions

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117. In respect of the applicants’ claims made in August 1998, on 2 December 1998 the Government commented, stating that if the Committee of Ministers had to rule on them, it should reject them as being unsubstantiated and unrelated to the issues in the case.

The Government’s reply to the applicants’ claims made in October 2000 was submitted at the hearing and in writing on 29 December 2000. They argued that those claims had been submitted out of time under Rule 60 §§ 1 and 3 of the Rules of Court and had not been corroborated by sufficient documentary proof.

118. The claim in respect of costs in the domestic proceedings – the Government continued – was out of proportion and abusive. The applicants had only submitted, in each case, one-page standard requests and appeals, evidently prepared without legal advice. No court fees had been due and no other expenses incurred.

The DEM 15,000 claimed in respect of the Strasbourg proceedings had not been itemised. The assertion that providing documentary evidence had been difficult was groundless. In the Government’s view, an award of FRF 35,000 in legal fees would be clearly excessive as it did not correspond to the actual legal work done by the applicants’ counsel and also because the economic conditions in the respondent State should be taken into account. The lawyer’s claim was the equivalent of 146 minimum monthly wages in Bulgaria and of about 6 minimum monthly wages in France. The Government concluded that an award of costs covering Mr Ivanov’s travel and subsistence expenses for the hearing before the Court (FRF 8,127) plus FRF 5,000 in legal fees for Mr Hincker would be acceptable, if the Court decided to award just satisfaction.