This case note examines Tatar c. Roumanie, App. No. 6702 1/01, at http://www.echr.coe.int., European Court of Human Rights, January 27, 2009. In Tatar c. Roumanie, the applicants claimed that the Romanian authorities’ failure to halt the practice of using sodium cyanide constituted a breach of Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. On these facts, the European Court reiterated earlier holdings that pollution can interfere with a person's private and family life by harming his or her well-being. Accordingly, the Court held that the operating conditions laid down by the Romanian authorities had been inadequate to preclude the possibility of serious harm.
The present case illustrates that the Court has increasingly relied on international environmental law as a basis for determining the adequacy of measures taken by the government. It is likely that the Court has done so on the basis of its consistently stated principle that the Convention's guarantees must be made “real and effective.” However, despite the findings of violations in this case, the Court awarded no pecuniary or nonpecuniary damages. The court’s decision is reflective of a larger pattern in which the Court, facing a constantly rising caseload, is increasingly restrictive in awarding compensation.
GW Paper Series
GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2013-48; GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2013-48
Dinah L. Shelton, International Decisions: Tatar c. Roumanie, 104 AM. J. INT’L L. 247 (2010).