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Dubetska and Others v. Ukraine.

Type of court
International court
Feb 10, 2011
Court name
European Court of Human Rights
Seat of court
Peer Lorenzen, Karel Jungwiert, Mark Villiger, Mirjana Lazarova Trajkovska, Zdravka Kalaydjieva, Ganna Yudkivska Angelika Nußberger.
Reference number
Environment gen., Mineral resources
Human rights Public health Mining
The applicants in this case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are two Ukrainian families who had their residences in close proximity to a coal mine and a coal processing factory in the Ukraine as well as two spoil heaps created by these industrial facilities. They claimed that their right to respect for private and family life (Art. 8 ECHR) was violated on account of prolonged environmental pollution emanating from a state-owned mine and factory. The court dismissed an objection made by the Government of Ukraine that the applicants did not exhaust all domestic judicial remedies (required for the admission of a case to the ECtHR). It then found that Art. 8 was applicable, noting that it is often impossible to quantify the effects of industrial pollution in each individual case and that it is hard to distinguish the effects of environmental hazards from the influence of other relevant factors, such as age, profession or personal lifestyle. It consequently found that, through failing to relocate the applicants or put in place a functioning policy dealing with environmental risks, the Ukraine did not strike a fair balance between the interests of the individuals concerned and the society as a whole. Its actions could therefore not be justified under Art. 8(2) of the Convention. The Court awarded EUR 32.000 and EUR 33.000 in non pecuniary damages to the families respectively on the basis of the Art. 8 violation.
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