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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

Pisac ACM
30. 10. 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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