Strasbourg Observers

The Best and Worst ECtHR judgments of 2020 are…

March 05, 2021

Dear readers,

About a month ago, we presented you with a shortlist of candidates for the awards of best and worst ECtHR judgments of 2020 (see our previous blogpost). We would like to thank everybody who participated in the vote. It is our pleasure to announce the results of the poll today.

In the category of best judgment, the winner is… Selahattin Demirtaş v. Turkey (no. 2)!

Selahattin Demirtaş v. Turkey (no. 2): 48.1%

Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania: 15.19%

G.L. v. Italy: 12.66%

In this case, the Grand Chamber found that Selahattin Demirtaş, former co-chair of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), had been unlawfully detained and that there had been a violation of his freedom of expression due to a constitutional amendment which limited political speech. Lastly, that Selahattin Demirtaş’ detention, especially during two political campaigns, violated Article 18 in conjunction with Article 5, as it ‘pursued the ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate’. Most importantly, under Article 46, the Court ordered the immediate release of Selahattin Demirtaş. The Grand Chamber relied heavily on the Venice Commission as well as third party interventions from, among others, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights to solidify its stance. The results of the vote demonstrate our readership’s support for political freedom in Turkey and that the Court should continue to step up to the plate when it comes to the very real – and dangerous – issue of democratic backsliding.

In the category of worst judgment, the winner is… N.D and N.T v. Spain!

N.D. and N.T. v. Spain: 51.76%

Dikaiou and Others v. Greece: 21.96%

B.G. and Others v. France and Napotnik v. Romania: tied with 7.06%

It is no surprise, given the response to this Grand Chamber judgment, that N.D. and N.T v. Spain has occupied the top spot on our worst judgment list. The Court’s fall from grace (as the Chamber judgment won the best judgment of 2017) is palpable in the human rights community. By electing the Grand Chamber judgment of N.D. and N.T., our readership has sent a clear signal that the Court should rethink the protection (not) offered to migrants concerning police violence and push backs.

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