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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR: Time Deadlines may Violate Human Rights by not examining particular circumstances

ECHR: Time Deadlines may Violate Human Rights by not examining particular circumstances

Written by ACM
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Forcing strict and absolute Time Deadlines may Violate Human Rights, if it doesn't take into account the Particular Circumstances of each affair, where the cause of a Delay could be a very Serious Issue, judged, in substance, ECHR in a Ruling published Today, on a case which might be linked even with possible, Long-Time Attempts to Steal Oil from NATO's installations in Turkey, (See Facts Infra : "Kursun").


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The Applicant was an Owner of a Property used as Industrial Park, located near to a Private Oil Refinery ("Tupras"), as well as to some Oil Storage and Supply facilities, run by the Ministry of Defence, for the Turkish NATO Pipeline system ("ANT").


A Big Explosion (equivalent to an Earthquake with Magnitude of 9 on Richter scale !) at those Neighbouring Areas, and ensuing Fire, Killed 2 Persons and Injured Many others, while also Damaging nearby Properties.


Several Commissions were established in order to determine the Cause of that Explosion, and the Damage caused by it.


Contrary to Initial estimations pointing at the Private Refinery, subsequent analysis found that the Cause was related to the NATO Pipeline system in Turkey, because of a large and long Leakage, mainly of Oil, (given the Fact that Both the precise Product leaked ["Gasoline"], and its Location in the UnderGround, etc., concerned the "ANT" system of Turkish NATO Pipelines, under which, a very Old Leak appeared Continuing during Decades, in a Network established since 1960/1970+)...


Curiously, such a "Ping-Pong" on the Question : -"Who was Responsible ?", persisted also longer in Turkey, and, moreover, a Decision to "Clean" up that Dangerous Leak, wasN't implemented, not even 12 Years After that Deadly Explosion (2005-2017) !


>>> Later-on, a Team of Experts reportedly Found that Leaks might result from "Breaches" of Pipelines or other equipments "by Malicious individuals, for the purpose of Theft" (sic). Indeed, that Leak "involved a Highly Valuable Economic Commodity"...


=> Therefore, Turkish "Institutions" could "Not be expected to UnCover such Incidents, by their own efforts alone", and it's "highly ImProbable that Institutions would Not take Any Action to Stop such a Leak", ECHR noted.


* In other words, to put it in a nutshell, Thieves may have been Stealing NATO's Oil, under its installations in Turkey, during Decades, with Complicities from Turkish Authorities !


Perhaps that's a reason for which, Turkey's Cour de Cassation, curiously Claimed, afterwads, in this affair, that "it was Not Necessary to have the TortFeasor established with Certainty", but, on the Contrary, "a Guess" on his "Identity", within the bounds of a "Possibility", was "Sufficient to Bring an Action" via the Prosecutor, (etc), so that a Proprietor's  Application, which aWaited for such matters to be Clarified, should be Rejected as Out of Time, ECHR's Judgement points out.


Indeed, that private Owner prefered to Wait until such thorny Matters (as Cause and Damages : Comp. Supra) are further Clarified, with the Result, for his Application, to Delay More than a Year of "Time Limit" in such  cases. Thereby, it gave a Legal Pretext, for Turkish Courts, to Reject it...


>>> But, on the Contrary, ECHR's Judgement, published Today, points at the Need of an "Exact and Certain Information" about the "Identity of the TortFeasor", and Not "mere Suspicions and Guesses", in order to "Trigger" the Time-Limit for an Application to the Courts.


- In this regard, "the Applicant Complained that he had been Denied a Fair Trial, on account of the Dismissal of his Compensation Claim, as being Out of Time", ECHR observed. Indeed, "although Time-Limits are in principle legitimate procedural limitations on access to a court, their interpretation in Disregard of relevant Practical Circumstances, may result in Violations" of Human Rights, ECHR confirmed.

F.ex., in this case, "having regard to the nature of the Explosion, the Uncertainty of the Cause of the damage, the Complexity of the matter, as well as the Various Reports on the issue, the Court finds it Difficult to follow" the Turkish Courts, which "required" from the Applicant "to Institute Proceedings at a Moment when he could Not, realistically, have Sufficient Knowledge of the Cause of the Damage, or the Identity of those Responsible" ; I.e. something "very Formalistic", bearing in mind "particularly the possible Practical and Financial Implications, of such a Requirement, for the applicant".


>>> "Furthermore, the Court notes that the Appliqant Raised pertinent Questions, that Called for a Response", the Judgement stresses. (F.ex. about the still Remaining Risk for even More Explosions, since that Leakage had Not yet been Cleaned up : Comp. Supra ; and on the Identity of those Responsible for that Deadly Explosion, etc). Indeed, "his Attempts to Clarify those Important Matters, ...went to the very Core of his Right of Access to Court", and, in Consequence, "canNot be used Against him, in assessing ... the Time-LImit", ECHR found.


=> Thus, EuroJudges concluded that "there has been a Violation of the Applicant's Right of Access to a Court, under article 6§1 of the (PanEuropean) Convention (on Human Rights)", and awarded to the Victim 2.500 € for Non-Pecunuary Damage, as well as 3.000 € for the Costs, wityOut "Speculating" about "the Outcome of Proceedings", at the National Courts, "as regards Pecuniary Damage", in addition.  


In this regard, ECHR noted, indeed, the "Deprivation of Rental Income", the "Reduced Value of Property", and the "Risk of Further Explosions", since "necessary steps had Not yet been taken to clean the Oil Leak", as the applicant had Denounced, (Comp. Supra).

 

(../..)


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(Opinion)

Paris - Bruxelles - Strasbourg, 2 septembre 2008

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Le spectaculaire succès du Président français, Nicolas Sarkozy, (en tête de l'UE jusqu'a décembre), à obtenir de suite un cessez le feu inattendu entre la Russie et la Georgie, immédiatement après sa visite aux Présidents Medvedev et Saakashvili, au pire moment de tensions et heurts violents meurtieurs, qui avaient tué plusieurs innocents et provoqué le deplacement forcé de réfugiés par milliers, lui donne incontestablement une stature vraiment européenne :

A ses liens personnels bien connus avec l'Hongrie, la Grece, l'Italie ou l'Espagne, en sus de son amitié avec la chancelière allemande Merkel, son souhait d'essayer d'attirer l'Angleterre au jeu européen, etc, s'y ajoute, maintenant, une réussite, fragile certes, mais importante, au combat pour la Paix dans la "grande" Europe du général De Gaulle, "jusqu'a l'Oural", qui inclut naturellement la Géorgie, l'Arménie et d'autres pays, et ne peut exister qu'avec rapports de confiance et partenartiat stratégique avec la Russie.

Apres avoir réussi à debloquer la situation au Liban, (pays avec liens culturels historiques en Europe), lors du Sommet pour la Méditerranée à Paris, juillet dernier, (comme atteste maintenant le prémier accord d'echange d'Ambassadeurs avec la Syrie), Sarkozy activa maintenant une présidence française de l'EU bien entreprenante, à l'autre bout de l'Europe, à Moscou, où, contrairement à Napoléon, il a été reçu avec soulagement par le nouveau président russe, ami de l'experimenté Vladimir Poutine.

Cet homme politique rélativement nouveau au plan politique européen, avec une vision souvent critique ou même critiquée, à tort ou a raison, mais ambitieuse et concrete a la fois, qui aime s'adresser aux "Européens", comme il dit, n'est-il pas bien placé pour stimuler le fameux débat sur l' "Identité de l' Europe", qu'il a proposé au Parlement Européen récemment à Strasbourg, moins d'un an avant les Elections européennes de 2009 ?

En 2007, il a réussi à faire monter spectaculairement la participation citoyenne aux élections présidentielles en France, obtenant des récords historiques :

N'est-ce pas, justement ce que l' Europe a bésoin, apres 2 abstentions majoritaires sans précedent aux Elections de 1999 et 2004, et 3 "Non" aux réferenda pour ses institutions en 2005 et 2008, pendant une décennie trouble 1999-2008, (marquée surtout par la demande controversée de la Turquie d'entrer dans l'UE eclipsant les avancées de la Monnaie unique et de la liberté de circulation à l'espace Shengen, avec consequences mal-ressenties par la majorité des citoyens, bien au-délà des clivages du passé), qui a failli stopper l'integration européenne ?

Et cela, au moment même ou une globalisation galopante met l'Europe devant un choix crucial entre saut qualitatif en avant, apte à valoriser une occasion historique exceptionelle à se développer résolument, après les vaines destructions, querelles et tensions des guerres "chaudes" ou "froides" qui lui ont couté son rang dans le Monde, ou réculer définitivement en décadence...

Alors, que certains de nos amis à la Commission en Bruxelles, lui laissent au moins un peu d'espace de mouvement, et qu'ils l'aident à tenter d'insufler de l' oxygène frais et vivifiant aux rapports entre les citoyens et une Europe qui a manifestement bésoin et mérite de retrouver d'urgence un nouveau dynamisme populaire, avec un souci de réalisme mais aussi une vision passionante pour son avenir !

Après tout, les Etats Unis d' Amérique ne se sont pas faits à coups de bureaucratie, nécessaire et utile, mais manifestement insuffisante : Sans l'impulsion d'hommes politiques originaux, d'intellectuels vraiment engagés, et, surtout, sans l'enorme énergie émanant de la conscience d'enjeux à la fois pratiques et grandioses, bien resentis par des millions de citoyens, stimulant leur adhésion active comme pioniers d'un nouveau avenir commun à construire, ils seraient encore une ex-colonie périphérique, affaiblie par stériles divisions, passif et impuissant spectateur des convulsions tragiques d'un Monde à la dérive...

Que les vrais "européens" ré-lisent au moins les fameux discours historiques sur l' Europe d'un Sarkozy bien inspiré à Strasbourg, aussi bien avant qu'après avoir gagné les élections françaises, le 21 février et le 2 juillet 2007, après son 1er sommet des Bruxelles, qui a adopté le nouveau Traité de l'UE en conclusion de la presidence allémande : Bonnes lectures pour cet été 2008, afin de préparer l' avenir qui s'ouvrira (ou fermera) à partir des élections européennes de 2009.

Peut-etre revelera-t-il plus, en ce sens, lors de ses 2 discours-debats prochains avec les eurodeputés, prévus lors des sessions plenières du Parlement Européen a Strasbourg en octobre et décembre 2008... 

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Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had already unveiled President Sarkozy's intentions, during a particularly "hot" Press Conference in Paris, where he faced some's insistance for "sanctions", with a call for "a common EU stance". In the meanwhile, he was consulting "all these days" most of his EU, Russia and Georgia counterparts, (as Sarkozy's Spokesman, P-J. Henin confirmed to "EuroFora"). This allowed him to obtained the desired result, as EU Chairman, at a short, exceptional EU Summit in Brussels, afterwards.

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But, Sarkozy's No 1 official, Presidential palace's Secretary General Claude Gueant, active at Elysee during the 2008 Ambassadors' Conference, (together with his Top Diplomat, the experienced David Levitte), is well known for having an overall view : A link with 2009 EU Elections at the horizon ?

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