Oneryildiz v. Turkey (Grand Chamber)

Submitted by Kelly Russo on Wed, 12/01/2004 - 00:00
Regional Decisions
European Court

The European Court of Human Rights held that Turkey violated Articles 2 and 13 of  the European Convention on Human Rights and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 by allowing the applicant and his family to live near a dangerous refuse pile, taking no action to remove them, and opposing plans to mitigate the health risks caused by the pile. Articles 2 and 13 of the Convention and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 recognize the rights to life, to an effective national remedy in the event of a violation of the Convention, and to enjoyment of one's possessions, respectively. The Court found that the regulatory framework governing the site proved defective, as the site remained operational despite its non-conformity to applicable technical standards, and was exacerbated by the lack of a comprehensive supervisory system. The State's negligence ultimately resulted in a methane explosion, resulting in a landslide of refuse and causing the death of 39 residents, giving rise to a substantive violation of Article 2 of the Convention. The Court also determined that there was a procedural violation of Article 2 due to the inadequate response of the Turkish judiciary for purposes of deterring similar life-threatening conduct in the future. The Court further held that the destruction of the applicant's house represented a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1, and the failure of the government to fully compensate the applicant following domestic administrative proceedings constituted a violation of Article 13.