Euro Court finds Turkey rightful in mine zone incident
STRASBOURGThe European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Dec. 6 ruled in favor of Turkey over a landmine explosion that injured a young shepherd in 2003, saying there was no violation of his right to life.
The court said the 1991-born Erkan Sarıhan “received serious injuries to the face, hands and chest when, on July 24, 2003, an anti-personnel mine exploded on mined land where he was grazing his sheep,” after he entered a mined area despite the warning signs.
A probe prepared by the military after the incident held Sarıhan’s parents responsible for not informing the boy, then aged 12, of the mined military zone. Military prosecutors subsequently decided to drop proceedings in July 2006.
In 2003, Sarıhan’s parents applied to the Defense Ministry, accusing the “military authorities of not taking the necessary measures to prevent the incident.”
An administrative court dismissed the parents’ claim in 2006 and the Supreme Administrative Court rejected the family’s appeal. The family later applied to the ECHR in 2008, also complaining that the administrative courts had refused to pay compensation.
“Relying on Articles 1 [the obligation to respect human rights], 6 [the right to a fair trial] and 13 [the right to an effective remedy], the Sarıhan family argued that the State had failed in its obligation to protect his right to life on grounds that the appropriate measures had not been taken to prevent the incident,” the ECHR ruled.
“The court therefore considered that, in view of the methods used by the domestic authorities to inform and warn people, the boy had been in a position to understand the risks inherent in entering a prohibited military area,” it also said, adding that there were no grounds to find the state in this case as failing to comply with the obligations of the “right to life” article.