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Russian Federation
Type of document:
International court
Date of text:
March 20, 2008
Data source:
Court name:
European Court of Human Rights
Seat of court:
Rozakis, C.
Vajic, N.
Kovler, A.
Steiner, E.
Hajiyev, K.
Malinverni, G.
Nicolaou, G.
Reference number:
ECOLEX subject(s):
Environment gen.

The town of Tyrnauz is situated in the mountain district adjacent to Mount Elbrus, in the central Caucasus. Its population is about 25,000 inhabitants. The general urban plan of the town was developed in the 1950s as part of a large-scale industrial construction project. Two tributaries of the Baksan River passing through Tyrnauz, the Gerhozhansu and the Kamyksu, are known to be prone to causing mudslides. The European Court of Human Rights was asked to that the Russian government had failed to fulfill its obligations under Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), namely to protect the right to life of people under its jurisdiction. The case concerned the events of 18-25 July 2000, when a mudslide led to a catastrophe in the Russian town Tyrnauz: it threatened the applicants’ lives and caused eight deaths, among them the husband’s of one of the applicants. The Court found that the Russian government breached Article 2 ECHR, both in its substance and in its procedural aspects. First, the authorities omitted to implement land-planning and emergency relief policies despite the fact that the area of Tyrnauz was particularly vulnerable for mudslides, thus exposing the residents to “mortal risk”. Second, the Court determined that the lack of any state investigation or examination of the accident also constituted a violation of Article 2 ECHR. The decision was so obvious that the Russian national judge did not opt for his right not to act up on it.