List of European Court of Human Rights judgments

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The following is a list of notable judgements by the European Court of Human Rights.

Treatment of individuals[edit]

Ireland v UK[edit]

In December 1977, in the case of Ireland v United Kingdom (5310/71), the Court ruled that the government of the United Kingdom was guilty of "inhuman and degrading treatment", of men interned without trial, following a case brought by Ireland (Case No. 5310/71).[1] The Court found that while their internment was an interference of the convention rights, it was justifiable in the circumstances; it however ruled that the practice of the five techniques and the practice of beating prisoners constituted inhumane and degrading punishment in violation of the convention, although not torture.[2] This is considered this a "key decision" by the court.[3]

A and others v UK[edit]

On 19 February 2009, in the case of A. and Others v. the United Kingdom, the Grand Chamber of the Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of right to liberty and security, a violation of right to have lawfulness of detention decided by a court, and violation of right to be compensated for such violations. The case concerned the applicants' complaints that they were detained in high security conditions under a statutory scheme that permitted the indefinite detention of non-nationals certified by the Secretary of State as suspected of involvement in terrorism. The applicants were 11 individuals, six of Algerian nationality; four, respectively, of French, Jordanian, Moroccan and Tunisian nationality; and, one, born in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan, and thus stateless. The Court made awards under Article 41 of the European Convention on Human Rights (just satisfaction) that were substantially lower than those it made in past cases of unlawful detention, in view of the fact that the detention scheme was devised in the face of a public emergency and as an attempt to reconcile the need to protect the United Kingdom public against terrorism with the obligation not to send the applicants back to countries where they faced a real risk of ill-treatment. The Court therefore awarded, to the six Algerian applicants EUR 3,400, EUR 3,900, EUR 3,800, EUR 3,400, EUR 2,500 and EUR 1,700, respectively; to the stateless and Tunisian applicants EUR 3,900, each; and to the Jordanian applicant, EUR 2,800. The applicants were jointly awarded EUR 60,000 for legal costs.[4]

Refugees[edit]

Loizidou v. Turkey[edit]

In Loizidou v. Turkey the property rights of Greek-Cypriot refugees displaced by an invading Turkish army were addressed.[5] In 2003 Turkey paid Ms Loizidou the compensation amounts (of over $1 million) ruled by the European Court of Human Rights.[6]

Batasuna and Herri Batasuna v Spain[edit]

In June 2009, the Court supported the illegalization of the Basque party Batasuna (formerly Herri Batasuna) on the basis that its activity was part of the strategy of the terrorist group ETA, stating that its illegalization by Spain could be justified as necessary in a democratic society in the pursuit of the legitimate aim of preventing terrorism.[7]

M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece[edit]

In the case M.S.S. v Belgium and Greece the Court judged on 21 January 2011 that both the Greek and the Belgian governments violated the European Convention on Human Rights when applying the EU law (Dublin Regulation) on asylum seekers and were given fines to the tune of some €6,000 and €30,000, respectively.[8][9]

Military actions[edit]

Cases of Russian Military Abuses[edit]

Since the Russian military invaded Chechnya for the second time in 1999, the Court agreed to hear cases of human rights abuse brought forward by Chechen civilians against Russia in the course of the Second Chechen War, with 104 rulings to date as of April 2009 (including regarding the cases of torture and extrajudicial executions).[10][11] In 2007, the Court ruled that Russia was responsible for the killings of a human rights activist Zura Bitiyeva and her family.[12] Bitiyeva herself had filed a complaint against Moscow with the Court in 2000 for abuse while in detention, in then-second case from Chechnya, but she was murdered in 2003 before the ruling was issued.[13] Other cases ruled against Russia included the deaths (or presumed deaths after years of forced disappearance) of Ruslan Alikhadzhyev, Shakhid Baysayev, Nura Luluyeva and Khadzhi-Murat Yandiyev, the case of the indiscriminate bombing of Katyr-Yurt, and some of the deaths during the Novye Aldi massacre. As of 2008, the Court has been flooded by complaints from Chechnya, what the Human Rights Watch called "the last hope for the victims".[14]


A European court case that received unprecedented level of attention in Russia and in the countries of former USSR was Kononov vs Latvia, in which the Grand Chamber ruled against USSR WWII veteran, partisan fighter Vassili Kononov, accused of war crimes in now independent Latvia. The ruling not only made into numerous talk shows on TV, but invoked sharp criticism[15] and threats to pull out of the court[16] among some high-ranking Russian politicians and caused the State Duma to adopt a condemning resolution [17]

Freedom of speech[edit]

Appleby v. UK[edit]

This 2003 case involved balancing the right of freedom of speech against the rights of private property owners. The issue was whether shopping centers in new towns, by assuming the functions of traditional high streets, must also assume the responsibility of serving as a public forum. The Court considered but declined to follow the decision of the Supreme Court of California in the landmark case of Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center (affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins (1980)).[18]

Religion[edit]

Refah Partisi v Turkey[edit]

In upholding the Turkish Constitutional Court's dissolution of The Welfare Party (Refah Partisi) for violating Turkey's principle of secularism (by calling for the re-introduction of religious law) the court held "that sharia is incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy."[19] The Court justified the breach of the appellants' rights by reasoning that a legal regime based on sharia would diverge from the Convention's values, "particularly with regard to its criminal law and criminal procedure, its rules on the status of women and the way it intervenes in all spheres of private and public life in accordance with religious precepts."[20]

Decisions on religious symbols and clothing[edit]

In several cases, the Court has ruled in favour of restricting the obstentation of symbols and clothing as religious signs. In the case of Leyla Şahin v. Turkey, where adult Turkish women were refused entrance into lectures and examination rooms if they chose to wear a headscarf, the Court ruled in favour of the ban, arguing that it was based on the principles of secularism and equality. In the 2001 case of Dahlab v. Switzerland, the court upheld the government's right to require a teacher, who had recently converted to Islam, to remove her headscarf given that it was a "powerful external symbol" that could "influence" young children. In November and December 2008, the European Court dealt with Dogru v. France, and Kevanci v. France, both cases of 12-year-old Muslim girls expelled in 1999 from their schools for covering their head during phys-ed class. The European Court found no violation of the right to religion saying the girls had made an "ostentatious" display. In Mann Singh v. France, where a Sikh who had held driving licenses for 20 years with his picture showing him wearing a turban now had to remove his turban to continue to do so, the European Court rejected the case without a hearing. In Lautsi v. Italy the Court ruled unanimously in 2009 that crucifixes in Italian public school classes are contrary to parents' right to educate their children in line with their convictions and to children's right to freedom of religion (art. 2 of the 1st Protocol, and art. 9 of the Convention). According to the Court ruling: "the presence of the crucifix—which it was impossible not to notice in the classrooms - could easily be interpreted by pupils of all ages as a religious sign and they would feel that they were being educated in a school environment bearing the stamp of a given religion."[21][22] In 2011, this judgment was reversed by a majority in the Grand Chamber of the Court.

Interstate cases[edit]

Unanimous Chamber judgments reversed by the Grand Chamber[edit]

Judgments where the only judge finding a violation was from the state accused[edit]

  • Perna v. Italy (48898/99)[26]
  • Zavoloka v. Latvia (58447/00)[27]
  • Ligeres v. Latvia (17/02)[28]
  • Velkhiyev and Others v. Russia (34085/06)[29]

Other cases[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lauterpacht, Elihu; C. J. Greenwood (1980). International Law Reports. Cambridge UP. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-521-46403-1. 
  2. ^ Search ECHR data base Archived 2007-07-01 at the Wayback Machine. "In the case of Ireland v. the United Kingdom" (No. 5310/71)
  3. ^ The United Kingdom confronts the European Convention on Human Rights by Donald Wilson Jackson 1997 ISBN 0-8130-1487-5 page 31 [1]
  4. ^ [2] A. and Others v. the United Kingdom
  5. ^ "Turkey declines to pay damages to Greek Cypriot woman". BBC News. October 28, 1998. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  6. ^ "Turkey compensates Cyprus refugee". BBC News. 2 December 2003. Retrieved 2007-01-31. 
  7. ^ http://www.elpais.com/elpaismedia/ultimahora/media/200906/30/espana/20090630elpepunac_1_Pes_PDF.pdf
  8. ^ EU Observer
  9. ^ ECHR Press Release on the case
  10. ^ European Court announced the 100th judgment in case from Chechnya memo.ru
  11. ^ K. Koroteyev Chechnya's Strasbourg "anniversary"
  12. ^ "Russia Ruled Responsible For Killings Of Four Chechens" 21 June 2007, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, June 21, 2007
  13. ^ Russia Convicted in Chechnya Killings, IslamOnline, Jun. 22, 2007
  14. ^ Chechnya: European Court Last Hope for Victims; France, EU, Should Use Rulings to End Abuses, Human Rights Watch, June 9, 2008
  15. ^ European Court decision on WWII veteran– attempt to rewrite history, 22 May 2010
  16. ^ Дума приняла заявление в Евросуд, № 90 (4390) от 22.05.2010
  17. ^ Statement of the State Duma of the Russian Federation in connection with the adoption of a ruling on the V.M. Kononov case by the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights Statement adopted by a resolution of the State Duma № 3694-5 DG on 21 May 2010, UN Portal
  18. ^ Appleby and Others v. the United Kingdom [2003] ECHR 222, (2003) 37 EHRR 38 (6 May 2003)
  19. ^ [3] Refah Partisi (The Welfare Party) and Others v Turkey
  20. ^ Refah (The Welfare Party) and Others v. Turkey [41340/98 41342/98 41343/98 41344/98] 13th February 2003, pp. 39–49
  21. ^ http://www.hs.fi/english/print/1135250498097
  22. ^ "Italy vows to fight for classroom crucifixes". CNN. November 4, 2009. 
  23. ^ Order of the President of the ECtHR, 6 December 2007
  24. ^ Information on interstate applications at ECtHR website
  25. ^ Interim measure granted in inter-State case brought by Ukraine against Russia
  26. ^ Perna v. Italy (48898/99), Grand Chamber judgment of 6 May 2003
  27. ^ Zavoloka v. Latvia (58447/00), Chamber judgment of 7 July 2009(French)
  28. ^ Ligeres v. Latvia (17/02), Chamber judgment of 28 June 2011
  29. ^ Velkhiyev and Others v. Russia (34085/06), Chamber judgment of 5 July 2011