FIRST SECTION

PARTIAL DECISION

AS TO THE ADMISSIBILITY OF

Application no. 9941/03 
by Antonina ROLGEZER and Others 
against Russia

The European Court of Human Rights (First Section), sitting on 11 April 2006 as a Chamber composed of:

    Mr C.L. Rozakis, President
 Mr L. Loucaides
 Mrs N. Vajić
 Mr A. Kovler
 Mrs E. Steiner
 Mr K. Hajiyev, 
 Mr S.E. Jebens, judges
and Mr S. Nielsen, Section Registrar,

Having regard to the above application lodged on 28 February 2003,

Having deliberated, decides as follows:

THE FACTS

The applicants, Ms Antonina Fedorovna Rolgezer and 28 others listed in the schedule, are Russian nationals, who live in the village of Naumovka in the Tomsk region.

A.  The circumstances of the case

The facts of the case, as submitted by the applicants, may be summarised as follows.

The applicants live in the vicinity of a radiochemical plant of the Siberian Chemical Industrial Complex (hereinafter “the plant”). They regularly undergo health checks.

On an unspecified date in July 1997 the applicants sued the plant for compensation for the damage to their health caused by its activity. They also sought an injunction banning the burial ground disposal of nuclear waste.

On 15 July 2002 the Seversk Town Court of the Tomsk Region dismissed their claims as unsubstantiated. The applicants were present at the public hearing.

On 5 November 2002 the Tomsk Regional Court upheld the judgment on appeal.

COMPLAINTS

1. The applicants complained under Article 6 about the excessive length of the proceedings.

2. The applicants complained under Articles 6 and 13 of the Convention about erroneous assessment of evidence and incorrect application of the law by the domestic courts, and unjust outcome of the proceedings.

3. The applicants complained under Article 8 of the Convention that they and their children were required to submit to health checks against their will.

THE LAW

1. The applicants alleged a violation of Article 6 on account of the unreasonable length of the civil proceedings. The relevant parts of Article 6 read as follows:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”

The Court considers that it cannot, on the basis of the case file, determine the admissibility of this part of the complaint and that it is therefore necessary, in accordance with Rule 54 § 2 (b) of the Rules of Court, to give notice of it to the respondent Government.

2. The applicants complained Articles 6 and 13 of the Convention about the findings of the domestic courts. Article 6 provides:

“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations ..., everyone is entitled to a fair ... hearing within a reasonable time by [a] ... tribunal...”

Article 13 provides:

“Everyone whose rights and freedoms as set forth in [the] Convention are violated shall have an effective remedy before a national authority notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity.”

(a) Insofar as the applicants alleged a violation of Article 6 on account of incorrect assessment of evidence, application of the domestic law and the unfavourable result of the proceedings before the domestic courts, the Court reiterates that, according to Article 19 of the Convention, its duty is to ensure the observance of the engagements undertaken by the Contracting Parties to the Convention. In particular, it is not its function to deal with errors of fact or law allegedly committed by a national court unless and in so far as they may have infringed rights and freedoms protected by the Convention (see, e.g., Čekić and Others v. Croatia (dec.), no. 15085/02, 9 October 2003). Moreover, while Article 6 of the Convention guarantees the right to a fair hearing, it does not lay down any rules on the admissibility of evidence or the way it should be assessed, which are therefore primarily matters for regulation by national law and the national courts (see García Ruiz v. Spain [GC], no. 30544/96, § 28, ECHR 1999-I).

Turning to the facts of the present case, the Court finds that there is nothing to indicate that the domestic courts’ evaluation of the facts and evidence presented in the applicants’ case was contrary to Article 6 of the Convention. The applicants were fully able to present their case and challenge the evidence of the other party, public hearings were held and the courts’ decisions were amply reasoned. Having regard to the facts, as submitted, the Court has not found any reason to believe that the proceedings did not comply with the fairness requirement of Article 6 of the Convention.

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

(b) Insofar as the applicants relied on Article 13 of the Convention, the Court reiterates that Article 6 § 1 provides more rigorous procedural guarantees than Article 13 and, therefore, operates as a lex specialis in respect of Article 13 (see Philis v. Greece, no. 23202/94, Commission decision of 5 March 1996; Brualla Gómez de la Torre v. Spain, judgment of 19 December 1997, Reports of Judgments and Decisions 1997-VIII, § 41).

Thus, the Court considers that, having regard to its findings relating to Article 6 § 1, it is unnecessary to examine the application from the standpoint of Article 13 of the Convention since the requirements of the latter provision are less strict and are here absorbed by those of Article 6 § 1 (see Markkula v. Finland, no. 27866/95, Commission decision of 3 December 1997).

It follows that this part of the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 and 4 of the Convention.

3. The applicants complained under Article 8 of the Convention about health checks.

The Court notes that the applicants never complained about this matter to any domestic authority and therefore did not afford the State an opportunity to examine the alleged breaches of their right to respect for their private life and, if appropriate, to offer redress.

It follows that this complaint must be rejected under Article 35 §§ 1 and 4 of the Convention for non-exhaustion of domestic remedies.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously

Decides to adjourn the examination of the applicants’ complaint concerning the excessive length of the civil proceedings;

Declares the remainder of the application inadmissible.

Søren Nielsen Christos Rozakis 
 Registrar President

 

SCHEDULE

List of applicants

No.

Name

Year of birth

1.     

Ms Antonina Fedorovna Rolgezer

1953

2.     

Ms Galina Vasilyevna Bakakina

1940

3.     

Mr Igor Vasilyevich Bakakin

1978

4.     

Mr Grigoriy Yuryevich Grigoryev

1982

5.     

Ms Irina Yuryevna Lisimenko

1979

6.     

Ms Yelena Aleksandrovna Degtyareva

1982

7.     

Mr Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Zibayev

1981

8.     

Mr Dmitriy Aleksandrovich Zibayev

1980

9.     

Ms Valentina Fedorovna Klimacheva

1934

10.     

Mr Aleksandr Ivanovich Konstantinov

1981

11.     

Ms Tatyana Ivanovna Konstantinova

1983

12.     

Ms Nadezhda Alekseyevna Kuzmina

1967

13.     

Mr Sergey Iosifovich Rolgezer

1984

14.     

Mr Dmitriy Pavlovich Savelyev

1977

15.     

Ms Tatyana Pavlovna Savelyeva

1982

16.     

Ms Tamara Ilyinichna Savelyeva

1932

17.     

Ms Lyudmila Ilyinichna Semakova

1954

18.     

Ms Tatyana Insafetdinovna Staseeva

1979

19.     

Ms Yelena Insafetdinovna Khaliulina

1978

20.     

Ms Irina Alekseevna Pishchulina

1960

21.     

Mr Vasiliy Dmitriyevich Pishchulin

1959

22.     

Ms Raisa Moiseevna Tryasugina

1938

23.     

Mr Aleksandr Alekseyevich Zibayev

1953

24.     

Ms Nadezhda Dmitrievna Savelyeva

1954

25.     

Ms Nadezhda Ivanovna Zibayeva

1949

26.     

Ms Svetlana Yakimovna Grigoryeva

1960

27.     

Ms Lyudmila Vasilyevna Khaliulina

1957

28.     

Ms Mariya Aleksandrovna Konstantinova

1958

29.     

Ms Olga Fedorovna Degtyareva

1961

ROLGEZER AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA DECISION


ROLGEZER AND OTHERS v. RUSSIA DECISION