Kolyadenko & Ors v Russia (ECHR)

Geographical Area
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)
Case Name
Kolyadenko & Ors v Russia
Case Reference
Application nos. 17423/05, 20534/05, 20678/05, 23263/05, 24283/05 and 35673/05
Name of Court
European Court of Human Rights
Key Facts
This case originated in six applications against the Russian Federation. The applicants were Russian nationals who lived in Vladivostok near a river reservoir, and were all victims of a flash flood which occurred in 2001. They alleged that the authorities were responsible for the flood and that there had been no adequate judicial response to it. A state-owned company in charge of the reservoir decided to release a large amount of water into the river which damaged the property of the applicants. The district prosecutor brought criminal proceedings against officials alleging that in excess of their power, they had allotted plots of land within a water protection zone. Following an investigation the prosecutor’s office concluded there was no evidence of a crime being committed.

The applicants then brought civil proceedings against the region, water company and the state seeking damages for the damage which was done to their property and for compensation for the distress suffered by the applicants. All claims were dismissed. The applicants insisted that responsibility for the flood damage on 7 August 2001 lay with the State-owned water company, the Primorskiy regional and the Vladivostok city authorities.
Decision and Reasoning
The Court held there had been violations of: Article 2 (right to life) on account of the State’s failure to protect the first, third and sixth applicants’ right to life, and on account of the lack of adequate judicial response; Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life and the home); and Article 1, Protocol No.1 (protection of property).

The Court held that the authorities had failed to establish legislative and administrative frameworks to assess risks correctly. There was no supervisory system to ensure adequate protection of the population living in the area. The Court noted that the authorities had remained inactive even after the flood of 7 August 2001, and concluded that the Government had failed in its positive obligation to protect the lives of those individuals.

In relation to the procedural aspects of Article 2, the Court held that the judicial system must make provision for an independent and official investigation that satisfies a certain standard of effectiveness. The Court noted that authorities “must act with exemplary diligence and promptness”.

In relation to Article 8, the Court held that a causal link was established between the negligence of the state and the lives which were endangered and so the damage done to the properties. The authorities had failed to do everything in their power to protect the applicants under Article 8.

The Court found no violation of Article 13.
Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court held that Russia was to pay the applicants sums ranging from €1,500 to €20,000 in respect of pecuniary damage and also in respect of non-pecuniary damage.
This case law summary was developed as part of the Disaster Law Database (DISLAW) project, and is not an official record of the case.