Strasbourg court rules against Russia in Siberian radiation case
The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay around $95,000 in compensation to residents of a Siberian town over the length of time taken to consider claims connected to a 1990s radiation leak, a local NGO official said on Wednesday, the RIA Novosti reported.
The applicants had earlier sued the Siberian Chemical Combine over a radioactive leak in April 1993 that affected two towns, Georgiyevka and Naumovka.
The residents of the two towns lodged compensation claims in 1997. In 2002, a Russian court granted the Georgiyevka claim, ruling however that Naumovka was too far removed from the epicenter of the leak to have been significantly affected.
In 2003, with an appeal on the original decision still outstanding, residents of Naumovka filed a complaint with Strasbourg over the excessive length of the proceedings, demanding 50,000 euros in compensation each.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in their favor, but found their claims excessive.
"The European court has ruled that Russia pay 2,000 euros to 29 residents of the town of Naumovka each in moral damages," said Alexei Toporov, director of Siberian Environmental Agency, a Tomsk-based non-governmental organization.
Russia is one of the most frequent defendants at the European Court of Human Rights. The court has considered a total of 46,700 cases against Russia over the past ten years, comprising 20% of all lawsuits submitted.
The court has made 397 rulings on Russia in the past 10 years, or 5% of the total number of cases during this period. A total of 23,000 cases are currently pending against Russia.