Chamber judgment concerning Croatia
In the case of Baljak and Others v. Croatia, the Court has found a violation of the right to a fair hearing.
The applicants are the relatives of a man who disappeared after having been detained by Croatian soldiers during the “Operation Storm” military campaign in 1995; his body was found in 2002 in a mass grave, together with the bodies of the other men taken with him. The applicants complained about the Croatian courts’ dismissal of their claim for damages against the State on the grounds that they had failed to prove that the State was responsible for their relative’s death.
The Court found that the Croatian courts had imposed an unattainable standard of proof on the applicants, which was particularly unacceptable in view of the seriousness of the acts concerned.
Judgment concerning Italy25/11/2021
In the case of Biancardi v. Italy, the first in which it examined whether a journalist’s civil liability for not de-indexing information published on the Internet was compatible with Article 10 of the Convention, the ECHR has held that there was no violation of the right to freedom of expression.
The applicant, a former editor-in-chief of an online newspaper, complained before the Court about the fact that he had been found liable in civil proceedings for having kept on his newspaper’s website an article reporting on a fight in a restaurant, giving details about the related criminal proceedings. He had not de-indexed the tags to the article, meaning that anyone could type into a search engine the name of the restaurant or its owner and have access to sensitive information on the criminal proceedings, despite the owner’s request to have the article removed.
In the Court’s view, not only can Internet search engine providers be obliged to de-index material, but so also can administrators of newspaper or journalistic archives that are accessible through the Internet, such as the applicant....
Judgment concerning the Russian Federation23/11/2021
The Court has found several violations of the Convention in the case of Corley and Others v. Russia.
The applicants are two missionaries of the Unification Church, a religious movement founded by Sun Myung Moon (also known as “Reverend Moon”), and their families. The applications concern their sudden and enforced expulsion from Russia, ostensibly for violating residence regulations.
In the Court’s view, the systematic involvement of the security services in the enforced departures of members of the Unification Church from Russia suggested that those measures had been taken for the purpose of repressing the exercise of their right to freedom of religion and stifling the spreading of the Church’s teaching in Russia....
The Court has declared the application in the case of Shortall and Others v. Ireland inadmissible.
The applicants, Irish politicians and members of civile society, had complained about the religious wording of the declarations required under the Irish Constitution for the office of President of Ireland and for members of the Council of State.
The Court considered that while the Contracting States enjoyed a wide margin of discretion in questions concerning the relationship between States and religion, it nevertheless went hand in hand with European supervision. The reference by a State to a tradition could not relieve it of its obligation to respect the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Convention.
In this case, the Court ruled that none of the applicants had produced reasonable and convincing evidence of the likelihood that a violation affecting any of them personally would occur as a result of the constitutional requirements relating to the taking of the oath....
Referral to the Grand Chamber23/11/2021
The Court has accepted the referral to the Grand Chamber of the case of Fedotova and Others v. Russia.
The applicants, three same-sex couples, complained before the Court that it was impossible for them to enter into a marriage or any other formal union. In its Chamber judgment, the Court held that the lack of any possible means for same-sex couples to have their relationship officially recognised created a conflict between the applicants’ social reality and the law. The choice of the most appropriate form of registration of same-sex unions fell within the discretion of the respondent State. The case is currently pending before the Grand Chamber....
Visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia23/11/2021
On 22 November 2021, Gordan Grlić Radman, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Croatia, visited the Court and was received by President Robert Spano. Ksenija Turković, Vice-President, judge elected in respect of Croatia, and Marialena Tsirli, Registrar of the Court, also attended the meeting....
Forthcoming Judgments & Decisions