Interim Resolution CM/ResDH(2007)41

Execution of the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights
in the case of Ahmet Okyay and others against Turkey

(Application No. 36220/97, judgment of 12 July 2005, final on 12 October 2005)

The Committee of Ministers, under the terms of Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which provides that the Committee supervises the execution of final judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter referred to as “the Convention” and “the Court”);

Having regard to the final judgment of the Court in this case transmitted to the Committee on 12 October 2005;

Recalling that the violation of the right of access to a court guaranteed by Article 6 of the Convention established by the Court in this case concerns the national authorities’ failure to enforce domestic courts’ orders given in 1996 and upheld on appeal in 1998 to shut down three thermal-power plants (namely, Gökova (Kemerköy), Yeniköy and Yatağan), operated jointly by the Ministry of Energy and National Resources and a public utility company, as they polluted the environment in south-west Turkey in contravention of relevant Turkish environmental protection legislation (the operation of the plants was notably found to cause environmental harm and was carried out without the permits required by law);

Recalling in particular that the domestic courts’ orders were motivated by the lack of equipment for filtering sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide gases discharged from the plant’s chimneys and ordered that desulphurisation units be installed in order to filter 95% of the sulphur dioxide;

Recalling that a finding of the violations by the Court requires, over and above the payment of just satisfaction awarded in the judgment, the adoption by the respondent State, where appropriate, of

    - individual measures to put an end to the violations and erase their consequences so as to achieve as far as possible restitutio in integrum; and

    - general measures preventing similar violations;

Recalling that since the Committee’s first examination of the case, the authorities have been repeatedly invited to comply with the domestic court orders in accordance with their obligation under Article 6 of the Convention, as set out in the Court’s judgment;

Noting that the Ministry of Energy and National Resources indicated already in the national proceedings in 1996 that contracts for the necessary improvements had been signed;

Noting that the necessary equipment has still not been installed and that, according to the information provided by the authorities, the power plants are in consequence thereof being operated at minimum capacity in order to maintain the lowest level gas emission and that administrative and judicial fines have been imposed for excessive pollution, in particular on the Yatağan power plant;

Deploring the fact that the domestic court orders to close the power plants remain unexecuted more than 6 years after they became final and one year after the Court’s judgment, and that the plants still continue to operate without proper filtering equipment;

Stressing that prolonged non-compliance with a judicial decision or injunction renders the right of access to a court illusory and the underlying legislation inoperative, thus leading to situations incompatible with the principle of the rule of law;

Stressing that the importance of speedy compliance with the judicial order is all the greater in the present case since the outcome of the proceedings is decisive for the applicants’ civil right to a healthy environment as guaranteed by the Turkish Constitution and relevant legislation;

Stressing also the importance of ensuring strict respect for domestic court judgments in the field of environmental protection;

Noting with concern the risk for a large group of people to be affected by the violation at issue;

Insisting, accordingly, on Turkey’s obligation to take without further delay all necessary individual and general measures required by the Court’s judgment;

    URGES the Turkish authorities to enforce the domestic court order imposing either closure of the power plants or installation of the necessary filtering equipment without further delay;

INVITES the Turkish authorities to furnish information on the general measures envisaged to prevent violations similar to that at issue in the present judgment.

1 Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 14 February 2007 at the 987th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies



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