ECHR judgment of 06 June 2017 in the case of Sinim v. Turkey (application No. 9441/10).
In 2010, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Turkey.
In the case, a complaint was successfully considered on the lack of adequate judicial response to the death of a passenger in a truck carrying combustible substances. The case involved a violation of the requirements of Article 2 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant's husband entered into an agreement with the owner of the truck to transport personal belongings and furniture. The husband was informed that the truck was ordered the same day by a transport company and had to transport raw materials belonging to another customer. When transporting things, the truck collided with another vehicle and caught fire. The applicant's husband, who was a passenger of a truck, later died in the hospital of burns. Subsequently, it was established that the "raw materials" carried with the things were in fact a combustible liquid that caught fire in a collision.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with Article 2 of the Convention (procedural aspect). The truck was not equipped with an electric short-circuit prevention system and did not have warning signs. The driver was not trained in the carriage of dangerous goods contrary to the strict requirements of the law. In addition, the driver did not receive a license to transport such goods, and the goods were incorrectly recorded in the invoice and the commodity bill as "raw materials", possibly in order to avoid checking the authorities. All these elements together suggested that, although in the absence of intent, the death of the applicant's husband was caused by an arbitrary and frivolous disregard for the duties of the perpetrator. This was not a mere omission or error of a person, in connection with which civil remedies were sufficient. His seemingly carefree behavior the person responsible for the transportation caused another person a kind of grievous harm that sought to prevent domestic legislation. These actions required a criminal legal response to ensure effective prevention of such threats to the right to life in the future.
A criminal investigation into the incident was necessary to determine whether the death was caused by the illegal carriage of a dangerous cargo contrary to article 174, paragraph 1, of the Penal Code.
However, although the investigation into the circumstances of the death was started quickly, it seems that the prosecutor considered the accident as an ordinary traffic accident caused by careless driving without paying attention to the cause of the fire, which resulted in the death of the applicant's husband. The investigation also did not take any measures to determine the composition and chemical properties of the cargo in the car or identify the persons or companies involved in the transportation of such material. The Assize Court neglected these significant omissions from the prosecutor, despite the applicant's objections.
In addition, the judicial authorities neglected the applicant's official complaints for a significant period of time and denied her the right to participate effectively in the proceedings. She was not informed of the expert opinion or the prosecutor's decision to refuse prosecution. The Assize Court did not recognize her as a "plaintiff" and did not inform her about her decision. These arguments were sufficient to conclude that the criminal proceedings did not comply with the State's positive obligations under article 2 of the Convention, since the circumstances of the applicant's husband's death could not be clarified, and had insufficient deterrent effect from the viewpoint of ensuring the effective use of the regulatory framework for the transport of dangerous cargo.
Despite the fact that the applicant also instituted proceedings for compensation against allegedly guilty persons, an adequate legal response in the present case was a criminal remedy. The civil remedies alone in the applicant's case were insufficient to fulfill the obligations of the respondent Government in accordance with Article 2 of the Convention.
The violation of the requirements of Article 2 of the Convention (unanimously) was committed in the case.
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded the applicant EUR 15,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, the claim for compensation for pecuniary damage was rejected.