Strasbourg Observers
  • Alexandra Timmer

Same-sex marriage case should go to the Grand Chamber: more on Schalk and Kopf v. Austria

July 01, 2010

Gay rights are one of the human rights issues of our time. The Strasbourg Court came out with an important but ultimately disappointing ruling on same-sex marriage last week (for a summary of the case, see Lourdes’ post). It is disappointing both for the reasoning and for the outcome (see below). Despite the fact that […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

A courtroom is not a zoo! The use of metal cages in criminal trials.

June 30, 2010

Can you keep an accused person in a metal cage during a public hearing? This practice is clearly humiliating as the Court judged in the case of Ashot Harutyunian v. Armenia but is it also at odds with the presumption of innocence? According to the European Court of Human Rights it is not.

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

Jehovah’s Witnesses of Moscow v. Russia: Strange considerations, but good conclusion

June 23, 2010

On the 10th of June, the ECtHR issued a judgment about the religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses of Moscow. In this case, the applicants firstly complained of a breach of article 9 of the Convention since the religious community was dissolved and its activities were permanently banned. The dissolution was ordered following allegations for luring […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

About crucifixes and headscarves in Dutch jurisprudence. Is there a difference between both?

June 17, 2010

The Appeal Court of Amsterdam (Gerechtshof Amsterdam) issued on the 15th of June an interesting judgment concerning the wearing of crucifixes by the personnel of a private company that provides public transport services. The personnel of the company GVB must wear a uniform during working hours. The wearing of ornaments on their uniform such as […]

  • Weichie

When a Discrepancy is Not Necessarily a Discrepancy

June 14, 2010

Today I would like to discuss one particular aspect of a recent case, Biçici v. Turkey. This case concerned the arrest of Ms. Biçici, while she was participating in a peaceful demonstration, and her alleged ill-treatment during the arrest. The European Court of Human Rights found in favour of Ms. Biçici, ruling that the intervening […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

“I swear I am not an Orthodox Christian!” Oath taking rules in Greek penal law: Dimitras v. Greece

June 10, 2010

The general rule in the Greek penal law requires witnesses to take an oath on the Gospels. Accordingly witnesses are a priori considered to be of the Orthodox Christian faith. Individuals who have another religion or who do not have a religion must declare this explicitly to the judge during the hearing. When the witness […]

  • Guest Blogger

Petrina v Romania – serious issues of interpretation and implementation of the Convention

June 09, 2010

Today, we are pleased to announce a guest post by Dragoş Bogdan* and Mihai Selegean**. Their post on the consequences of the defamation case Petrina v. Romania (14 October 2008, App. no. 78060/01) represents a welcome addition to some of our own posts on the Court’s defamation case-law. More information on the authors, who we […]

  • Maris Burbergs

‘Unluxury problems’ of Europe

June 04, 2010

In a book published in 2003 Manfred Nowak wrote: “The OAS [Organization of American States] in comparison [with the Council of Europe] is composed of a wide range of states including both the richest industrialized countries (United States and Canada) and the poorest countries of the world (e.g. Haiti), as well as democracies and military […]

  • Lourdes Peroni

Conscientious objection: unfortunate precedent should not survive in the Grand Chamber

June 01, 2010

It is great news that the Grand Chamber has accepted the request for referral in the conscientious objection case of Bayatyan v. Armenia. Last October, against commonly accepted standards in the Council of Europe Member States (see, PACE, Recommendation 1518, 2001, paras. 2 and 3) and, despite Armenia’s official commitment to pardon conscientious objectors (see, […]

  • Weichie

Political speech under threat?

May 28, 2010

In the case of Fleury v. France of 11 May 2010, the European Court of Human Rights held that the freedom of expression of a politician, member of the opposition on municipal level, had not been violated by his criminal conviction for defamation of a public official, the mayor of the municipality. The ruling of […]

  • Lourdes Peroni

Turkey: voicing minority concerns in academic discussions

May 26, 2010

The European Court of Human Rights has recently ruled against a ban imposed on an American citizen’s re-entry into Turkey for past opinions concerning Kurdish and Armenian issues during her teaching activities in the eighties (Cox v. Turkey). The applicant had allegedly said to her university colleagues and students that the Turks had massacred the […]

  • Alexandra Timmer

A Strasbourg victory for the mentally disabled

May 21, 2010

The Strasbourg Court (Second Section) came out with a landmark judgment yesterday; Kiss v. Hungary. The applicant, Mr. Kiss, suffers from manic depression. Due to this condition he was placed under partial guardianship in 2005. In 2006, with the elections coming up, he realized that the Hungarian law forbade him to vote, as all persons […]

  • Weichie

President of Belgian Constitutional Court Criticizes European Court of Human Rights

May 17, 2010

“The European Court of Human Rights is exceedingly transgressing its competence in asylum matters. The Court takes decisions on behalf of the national authorities, it enforces provisional measures despite not having the competence to do so and demands their immediate execution. It has granted property rights on unemployment benefits and has thus realized something that […]

  • Alexandra Timmer

Tănase v. Moldova: multiple readings of a case concerning multiple nationality

May 12, 2010

To be honest, our team’s first reaction when discussing the recent Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Tănase v. Moldova was rather dismissive.  We had the feeling that the Court was teaching Moldova the basics of what it means to be a democracy; a thing they would hardly do in a case concerning, say, […]

  • Lourdes Peroni

Remembering Lautsi

May 10, 2010

“When is a cross a cross?” was the heading of a post by Stanley Fish earlier this month in the NY Times Opinionator Blog. The entry referred to US Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Salazar v. Buono concerning a solitary Latin cross standing in the Californian desert as a memorial for those who fought in […]

  • Maris Burbergs

The chilling effect of 690, 000 euro

May 06, 2010

In the case of Handölsdalen Sami Village and Others v. Sweden the applicants argued that legal costs at a national level that amounted to 690, 000 euro were in breach of the right to access to court under Article 6. The applicants were four Swedish Sami villages. The case concerned domestic proceedings about a disputed […]

  • Guest Blogger

Dutch Holocaust cartoon case: a valuable lesson for the Strasbourg Court?

May 05, 2010

This guestblog is written by our colleague Hannes Cannie* The criminal tribunal of Utrecht (the Netherlands) has rendered an interesting judgment (22 April 2010) in a case in which an alleged discriminatory cartoon was at stake. The Dutch branch of the Arab European League (hereafter, AEL), a movement in Belgium and the Netherlands that aims […]

  • Lourdes Peroni

Would a Niqab and Burqa ban pass the Strasbourg test?

May 04, 2010

By Lourdes Peroni, Saïla Ouald-Chaib and Stijn Smet Whether it is a Burqa or a Niqab, what is at stake is a face-covering veil. This veil is increasingly becoming the subject of heated discussion within Europe. In France, a bill that aims to prohibit its wearing is the subject of a national debate. Also at […]

  • Saïla Ouald Chaib

Mustafa and Armağan Akin v. Turkey: Not above children’s heads!

April 29, 2010

The bulk of the cases appearing before the European Court of Human Rights concern length of proceeding cases that might not always be interesting for the public because of their technical character. However in a lot of other cases, the Court is  confronted with very shocking facts. Cases of torture by public authorities, but also […]

  • Weichie

Of Rights and Interests

April 28, 2010

On 30 March 2010 the European Court of Human Rights released its judgment in the case of Petrenco v. Moldova. The case concerned a newspaper article in which negative remarks were made about the applicant’s competence as a historian. The article further alleged that the applicant, a university professor and Chairman of the Association of […]

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