In Alexandridis v. Greece, the European Court of Human Rights recently held that obligating a person to reveal his religion constitutes a violation of Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects freedom of thought, conscience and religion. The applicant, a Greek lawyer, alleged that he was asked to reveal whether he was an orthodox Christian when taking the oath of office. The Greek Government in response to the allegation stated that the applicant had been allowed to make a solemn declaration and refrain from disclosing his religion but was unable to exercise this option due to a procedural failure. The court also held there was no effective alternative remedy for the applicant, which qualified as a violation of Article 13, the right to an effective remedy, of the European Convention on Human Rights. For further details on this case, click here.
On April 10, the ECtHR delivered its Grand Chamber judgment in the case Evans v. the United Kingdom. The Court held that there had been no violation of Article 2 (right to life), no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and no violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination). The applicant, who underwent an operation to remove her ovaries due to a pre-cancerous condition, complained that domestic law permitted her former partner to withdraw his consent to the use of embryos they created, preventing her from ever giving birth to a child.
For more information see here.
On March 27, Georgia lodged an application against the Russian Federation following alleged acts of espionage by Russian service personnel arrested in Tbilisi. According to Georgia, the reaction of the Russia amounted to breaches of several provisions of the Convention and its Protocols. Violations allegedly consist of harassment of the Georgian immigrant population in the Russian Federation. Although the now-defunct European Commission of Human Rights dealt with seventeen inter-state applications, the ECtHR has decided only 3 inter-state applications since its inception in 1959.
Fore more information, see here.
In Heglas v. the Czech Republic, the ECtHR held on March 1st that the Czech Republic had violated the applicantâ€™s right to respect for private life. The Czech authorities used evidence based on the applicantâ€™s telephone calls; the Court established that this evidence had been obtained in a manner not compatible with the Czech legislation allowing telephone interceptions. Moreover, the Court did not approve the use of dictaphone recording because it was not based on â€œlawâ€ as defined by the ECtHR. For more information see here.
On March 1st, the ECtHR issued a Chamber judgment in the case of Belevitskiy v. Russia. The applicant was accused of drug-dealing and arrested. The Court held unanimously that Russia had violated the prohibition on inhuman or degrading treatment during the applicantâ€™s detention. Also the Court concluded that Russia had violated the applicant’s rights to liberty and security due to the absence of a legal basis for his detention during certain periods of the detention. For more information see here.
On February 7th, the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR heard the case Stoll v. Switzerland. The applicant, a Swiss national and journalist, alleges that his freedom of expression was violated by Switzerland. Mr. Stoll took possession of a confidential document written by a Swiss diplomat and published extracts of the document as well as articles highly critical of the Swiss diplomatâ€™s conduct. He was subsequently sentenced under the Swiss Criminal Code for publishing â€œofficial confidential deliberationsâ€. For more details see here.