The judgement in the case of Taskin and others v Turkey was recently published following a decision taken by the European Court of Human Rights on 10 November 2004.
The applicants alleged that, as a result of the Ovac1k gold mine’s development and operations, they had suffered and continued to suffer the effects of environmental damage in particular noise pollution caused by the use of machinery and explosives. Both the national authorities’ decision to issue a permit to use a cyanidation operating process in a gold mine and the related decision-making process was alleged to have given rise to a violation of the rights guaranteed by Article 8 of the Convention, which provides that .everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence..

Following the decision in Lopez Ostra v Spain, the Court pointed out that Article 8 applies to severe environmental pollution which may affect individuals’ well-being and prevent them from enjoying their homes in such a way as to affect their private and family life.

Article 8 could therefore apply to exposure to dangerous effects of an activity when these dangerous effects have been determined as part of an environmental impact assessment procedure in such a way as to establish a sufficiently close link with private and family life.

Based on the Turkish Supreme Administrative Court Decision of 13 May 1997 that the decision to issue a permit had not been compatible with the public interest, the Court therefore held that Article 8 applied. Despite procedural guarantees afforded by Turkish legislation and the implementation of those guarantees by judicial decisions, the Council of Ministers continued to authorise production at the gold mine.

The authorities therefore prevented the applicants from being able to rely on the procedural guarantees available to them and did not fulfil Turkeys obligation to secure the applicants’ right to respect for their private and family life, in breach of Article 8 of the Convention.

The judgement in application No 46117/99 can be found at the following link:

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