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Environmental disaster


Olena Kryvko
For «Yurydychna Praktyka»
The right to secure environmental safety by the state is not explicitly enshrined in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the Convention). However, environmental issues may be raised and be subject to its protection and, therefore, under the protection of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Such issues may constitute a violation of Article 2 of the Convention («The right to life»), Article 8 («The right to respect for private and family life») or Article 6 («The right to a fair trial»). The practice of the European Court interprets the conditions under which the state is responsible for pollution damage.
In its judgments on environmental issues, the European Court points out that neither Article 8 nor any other provision of the Convention guarantees the right to preservation of the environment. However, the application to the European Court under Article 8 may be acceptable, and not without reason, if environmental danger reaches such a serious level that significantly interferes with the enjoyment of housing, has a negative effect on family and personal life.
Two judgments approved by the European Court of Ukraine evidence that the state may be responsible for pollution damage by virtue of obligations under Article 8 of the Convention.
In the case «Dubetska and Others v. Ukraine» (the European Court Judgment dated February 10, 2011), the European Court held that there was a violation by the state of the applicants’ right to respect for private and family life, and awarded one family compensation of EUR 32,000, and the other – EUR 33,000.
In the case «Hrymkovska v. Ukraine» (the European Court Judgment dated July 21, 2011), the European Court awarded the applicant compensation of EUR 10,000 for moral damages.
Thus, the European Court of Human Rights can consider the cases that involve the environmental issues.
KRYVKO Olena, attorney, Ilyashev & Partners Law Firm, Kyiv

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