ECHR - Homepage of the European Court of Human Rights - ECHR
The Court held a Grand Chamber hearing in the case of Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Others.
The case concerns the greenhouse gas emissions from 33 member States, which in the applicants’ view contribute to the phenomenon of global warming resulting, among other things, in heatwaves affecting the applicants’ living conditions and health.
In the case of Yüksel Yalçınkaya v. Türkiye the Court held that there had been violations of the right to a fair trial, to no punishment without law and to freedom of association.
The case concerned the trial and conviction of the applicant for membership of the FETÖ/PDY. The trial took place in the aftermath of the attempted coup d’état of 15 July 2016.
The problems which had led to findings of violations were systemic in nature. The ECHR held that Türkiye had to take general measures as appropriate to address those systemic problems, notably with regard to the Turkish judiciary’s approach to Bylock evidence. There are currently approximately 8,500 applications on the Court’s docket involving similar complaints under the right to a fair trial and/or to no punishment without law.
In the case of El-Asmar v. Denmark the Court held that there had been a violation of the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment as regards the allegation of excessive use of force, and a further violation of the prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment concerning the lack of an effective investigation.
The case concerned the applicant’s being pepper sprayed by two guards while held in an observational cell in prison. The Court found that the investigation had not carefully addressed whether the legal procedural safeguards for the use of pepper spray had been complied with and considered that the Danish authorities had failed to carry out an effective investigation the applicant’s allegations of ill-treatment.
In the case of Durukan and Birol v. Türkiye, the Court held that there had been a violation of the freedom of expression.
The case concerned the applicants’ convictions and prison sentences, with the effects of the judgments being suspended, on account of content they had shared on social media.
The Court held that, in view of their potentially chilling effect, the criminal convictions, together with the decisions to suspend the judgments constituted an interference with the applicants’ right to freedom of expression.
In the case of Baret and Caballero v. France, the Court held that there had been no violation of the right to respect for private and family life.
The cases concerned the prohibition on exporting the sperm of the first applicant’s deceased husband and the embryos created by the second applicant with her deceased husband to Spain, a country where posthumous conception was permitted.
The Court held that the domestic authorities had struck a fair balance between the competing interests at stake, that the respondent State had acted within its discretion, and that there had therefore been no violation of the Convention.
In the case of Ainis and Others v. Italy, the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to life.
The case concerned the applicants’ relative who had died from a drug overdose while in police custody in Milan. He had been arrested as part of an anti-drug-trafficking operation. The Italian courts had found no liability on the part of the Ministry of the Interior.
The Court found that the Government had failed to provide convincing arguments or evidence that sufficient steps – such as searches or medical assistance – had been taken to protect the life of the applicant’s relative while in the Milan police headquarters.
Grand Chamber News
The Court has accepted the referral to the Grand Chamber of the cases Burando Holding B.V. and Port Invest B.V. v. the Netherlands, Janssen de Jong Groep B.V. and Others v. the Netherlands and Ships Waste Oil Collector B.V. v. the Netherlands.
The three cases concern the transmission of data, lawfully obtained in a criminal investigation, to another law-enforcement authority, the Competition Authority, that used those data in an investigation into the applicant companies’ involvement in price-fixing.
The Court has also decided to reject requests to refer 16 other cases.
The date for the Grand Chamber hearing in the case of Ukraine v. Russia (Crimea) (nos. 20958/14 and 38334/18) has been postponed from 8 November 2023 to 13 December 2023.
The case concerns Ukraine’s allegations of a pattern (“administrative practice”) of violations of the European Convention by the Russian Federation in Crimea beginning in February 2014.
The Court has ruled on 21 applications against Norway concerning children taken into public care. It declared 12 of the applications inadmissible, while it held in the nine others that there had been violations of the right to respect for private and family life.
The applications restated guiding principles in respect of children taken into public care. Notably, States had wide discretion when deciding on taking a child into care, but the Court had to carry out “stricter scrutiny” of any further measures taken, such as restricting contact rights. In particular, adoption had to be justified by “exceptional circumstances” and the overriding requirement of the child’s best interests.
In the case of Lenis v. Greece, the Court has declared the application inadmissible.
The appplicant was the Metropolitan (equivalent of a bishop) of the Greek Orthodox Church for Kalavryta and Aigialeia. The case concerned his posting a homophobic article on his personal blog in December 2015, when the Greek Parliament had been about to debate proposed legislation introducing civil unions for same-sex couples, and his subsequent prosecution and sentencing for incitement to hatred and discrimination.
The Court found that the applicant was attempting to deflect the freedom of expression of the Convention from its real purpose by using it for ends which were clearly contrary to the values which the Convention sought to promote.
Communication of cases
The Court has communicated to the Government of Hungary the application Karsai v. Hungary and has asked them to submit their observations on its admissibility and merits.
The case concerns the right to a self-determined death of a person affected with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a type of motor neurone disease. Given the nature of the case, the Chamber has decided to grant the application priority under Rule 41 of the Rules of Court.
On 2 October 2023 President Síofra O’Leary delivered the keynote speech at the official ceremony held at the Constitutional Court of Austria, in Vienna, on the occasion of Constitution Day, in the presence of Alexander Van der Bellen, Federal President of the Republic of Austria. President O’Leary was accompanied by Gabriele Kucsko-Stadlmayer, Section President and Judge elected in respect of Austria. On the side of the event, President O’Leary held bilateral meetings with Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister for the European Union and Constitution, and Alma Zadić, Federal Minister of Justice.
On 20 September 2023 a delegation from the Supreme Court of Sweden, headed by its President, Anders Eka, paid a working visit to the ECHR and was received by Vice-President Marko Bošnjak. During the visit the delegation took part in roundtable discussions with judges of the Court and members of the Registry.
On 19 September 2023, Niyazi Acar, Deputy Minister of Justice of Türkiye, visited the Court and was received by President Síofra O’Leary. Saadet Yüksel, Judge elected in respect of Türkiye, and Abel Campos, Deputy Registrar of the Court, also attended the meeting.