Date of the decision: 11 October 2016 (Final 06.03.2017)
Jurisdiction: Council of Europe – European Court of Human Rights
Subject: Violation of Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life (Article 8-1 - Respect for family life Respect for home Respect for private life)
The applicants were members of six Roma families who lived in the village of Dorojnoé, situated in the district of Gourievsk, in the Kaliningrad region of Russia. They were evicted and their houses were demolished.
In particular, the applicants alleged a violation of Article 8 relating to respect for the home taken alone or in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention relating to prohibition of discrimina- tion due to the demolition of their houses and their forced eviction which, they complained, had occurred on account of their membership of the Roma community. On the basis of these facts, they also complained of a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 of the Convention relating to protection of property.
The Court pointed out that it had ruled, in the Yordanova and Others, and Winterstein and Others cases, that particular attention had to be paid to the consequences of evicting members of the Roma community from their homes and the risk of homelessness, having regard to how long the parties, their families, and the communities they had formed had been living there.
The Court also stressed the need, in the case of forced evictions of the Roma and Travellers, for rehousing, except in cases of force majeure. The Court moreover reiterated that due to their membership of a socially disadvantaged group, the parties had specific needs which should have been taken into account in the examination of proportionality that the national authorities were obliged to carry out. This principle applies not only to finding a solution to the ille- gal occupation of the site, but also, when such eviction is necessary, to determine the date and terms of its implementation, and, if possible, rehousing options. The Court also noted that Russia had been called upon to implement these principles within the framework of both the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
The possible consequences of the demolition of the houses and the forced eviction of the applicants were not taken into account by the domestic courts during or following the legal proceedings initiated by the prosecutor. With regard to the date and terms of the eviction, the Court observed that the Government had not shown that the applicants had been duly informed of the intervention of the judicial officers in charge of the demolition of the homes nor the terms of this operation.
With regard to the proposals for rehousing, the Government argued that the Kaliningrad regional government had adopted Order No. 288 dated 28 April 2006 which proposed the creation of a special housing fund to rehouse the applicants and that, in so doing, the national authorities had fulfilled the rehousing obligation. However, the Government had not shown that Order No. 228 had been practically implemented, in other words that its adoption had been followed by the actual creation of a housing fund, and that such housing had been made available and offered to the applicants.
Consequently, the Court took the view that the national authorities had not conducted genuine consultations with the applicants about possible rehousing options, on the basis of their needs and prior to their forced eviction.
The Court found that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention, as the applicants had not benefited, in the proceedings in relation to the demolition of their homes, to an examination of proportionality of the interference, in accordance with the requirements of that Article, and that the authorities had failed to conduct genuine consultations with the applicants about possible rehousing options, on the basis of their needs and prior to their forced eviction.
To learn more: http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-167089 (French version only)
Council of Europe - European Court of Human Rights
Article 8 - Right to respect for private and family life
Article 14 - Prohibition of discrimination