Earlier this week, the European Court of Human Rights released its judgment in El Haski v. Belgium, a case on the admissibility at a criminal trial of evidence potentially obtained through ill-treatment of third persons in a third State (Morocco). The ECtHR ruled that the Belgian authorities should have excluded the evidence from the trial. The applicant, who had been convicted for his membership of a terrorist organisation (le groupe islamique combattant marocain; GICM), was granted € 5,000 compensation. The Belgian media quickly picked up on the judgment. Headlines titled “Terrorist receives compensation” and comments referred to “growing criticism” of the European Court “in most Western European countries, including Belgium”, “because Strasbourg systematically exceeds its competences”.
In this post I will first attempt to place the judgment in the wider case law of the Court on the admissibility of evidence obtained through violations of art. 3. I will return to the assessment of the case in the Belgian media at the end of the post.