On 16 February 2016, Kyiv Appellate Economic Courts supported the decision of Economic Court of Kyiv by which EPL was refused the right to challenge state acts on the right to use lands by regional landscape park “Hranitno-stepove Pobuzhzhia”. Back in 2006 by an illegal decision made by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine the challenged 27,72 ha of lands of the park were given for permanent use to the national nuclear company “Enerhoatom” to be flooded. Despite the fact that the decision was cancelled by courts in litigation processes initiated by EPL, economic courts refused to declare unlawful the state acts for 27,72 ha of lands that were issued on the basis of illegal and currently void decision of the government.
Unfortunately, judges applied usual practice when they are unwilling to hear the case on the merit and they use procedural tools and reject cases referring to plaintiff’s lack of standing to address courts with such suits. The court believes that the challenged legal relationship belongs to private legal relationship and is related to exercising by parties of civil or other property rights to land lots on the basis of equality. Thus, the court does not see any violation of rights or interests of the plaintiff.
The judges were indifferent to the fate of the river Southern Buh and biodiversity that is seriously harmed by dams constructed on the river for Oleksandrivske water reservoir. The court considers that needs of energy industry to use water from Oleksandrivske water reservoir cannot be equal to the harm caused to the environment as a result of flooding 27,72 ha of protected areas.
The judges once again proved the tendency for the courts, mostly economic ones, to fail to understand the role of non-governmental organizations in protecting the environment and to ignore provisions of the Aarhus Convention regarding access to justice in environmental matters.
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