ECHR fines Turkey for dismissing cases filed by 1999 quake victims
DHA photoThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has fined Turkey for dismissing lawsuits filed by victims of a 1999 earthquake against contractors of buildings that collapsed in the quake that killed tens of thousands of people in northwestern Turkey.
Turkey violated the right to a fair trial and the right to access a court through the inaction of its judicial bodies over the lawsuit filed by 20 victims of the earthquake. The victims sued the construction company and its partners for pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, saying there had been hidden defects resulting from the non-conformity of the buildings with anti-seismic standards and the poor quality of the building materials used, the ECHR stated.
Based on Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the ECHR fined Turkey 4,500 euros for each applicant, amounting to 90,000 euros in total.
“The case concerned a divergence in case-law concerning the starting point for the limitation period on action for damages in respect of hidden defects in the applicants’ dwellings, which had been damaged during the …earthquake,” the ECHR ruled.
“The applicants’ dwellings, located in the town of Gölcük, which was the epicenter of the Aug. 17, 1999 earthquake in northwestern Turkey, were damaged by the tremors, which caused the deaths of tens of thousands of people, including relatives of the applicants,” it added.