A picture of a same-sex kiss on Facebook wreaks havoc: Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania

Ingrida Milkaite is a PhD researcher in the research group Law & Technology at Ghent University, Belgium. She is working on the research project ‘A children’s rights perspective on privacy and data protection in the digital age’ (Ghent University, Special Research Fund) and is a member of the Human Rights Centre at the Faculty of Law and Criminology at Ghent University and PIXLES (Privacy, Information Exchange, Law Enforcement and Surveillance).

Two young men publicly posted a photograph of themselves kissing on Facebook. The post ‘went viral’ and attracted around 800 comments, most of which were hateful. Some of the comments featured suggestions to burn, exterminate, hang, beat, castrate, and kill the two men as well as gay people in general. The national authorities, while acknowledging that some comments were ‘unethical’, refused to launch a pre-trial investigation for incitement to hatred and violence against homosexuals. They considered that the couple’s ‘eccentric behaviour’ had been provocative and that launching an investigation in this case would be a ‘waste of time and resources’. The judgement in the case of Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania (Application no. 41288/15) was published on 14 January 2020. The ECtHR found a violation of Article 14 ECHR in conjunction with Article 8 ECHR, as well as a violation of Article 13 ECHR. Continue reading

Role of the constitutional courts in the system of the effective domestic remedies – a new approach on the horizon? Criticism of the Mendrei v. Hungary decision

By Dr. Dániel A. Karsai, attorney at law, Dániel Karsai Law Firm

The European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter: the Court) recently adopted the Mendrei v. Hungary (no. 54927/15) decision on 5 July 2018. In this very important decision, the Court changes fundamentally, and in my opinion negatively, its understandings of the role of the constitutional courts in the system of domestic remedies and the required level of protection of Convention rights. The prospects of the negative changes are not mere Cassandra’s curse; since in Mendrei the Court accepted a legal avenue before the Hungarian constitutional court to be an effective remedy, whereas this procedure can only result in the quashing of the underlying regulations without curing the injustice concerned. Moreover, it turned upside-down the burden of proof previously vested on the governments concerning the effectiveness of a remedy, and, last but not least, the impartiality of the proceedings can be seriously questioned.

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