The European Court of Human Rights yesterday delivered judgment in case of Association of Victims of Romanian Judges and Others v Romania (no. 47732/06) and found that Romania violated Article 11 as it denied registration of this civil society association. It noted that :
»the reasons invoked by the authorities for refusing registration of the applicant association were not determined by any “pressing social need”, nor were they convincing and compelling. Moreover, such a radical measure as the refusal of registration, taken even before the association started operating, appears disproportionate to the aim pursued« (para. 34).
Call for papers for Annual Conference of the European Society of International Law in Vienna, 4-6 September 2013 expires on 15 January 2014. You can find more information here.
The European Court of Human Rights has just before Christmas delivered a very controversial decision in Perinçek v. Switzerland (application no. 27510/08) concerning the denial of Armenian genocide. The Court did not find that Mr Perinçek abused his rights under Article 17 of ECHR and held that Switzerland violated Article 10 by sentencing him to pay a fine. The Court concluded that:
»129. Compte tenu de ce qui précède et notamment à la lumière des éléments de droit comparé, la Cour considère que les motifs avancés par les autorités nationales pour justifier la condamnation du requérant ne sont pas tous pertinents et, considérés dans leur ensemble, s’avèrent insuffisants. Les instances internes n’ont pas démontré en particulier que la condamnation du requérant répondait à un « besoin social impérieux » ni qu’elle était nécessaire, dans une société démocratique, pour la protection de l’honneur et les sentiments des descendants des victimes des atrocités qui remontent aux années 1915 et suivantes. Les instances internes ont donc dépassé la marge d’appréciation réduite dont elles jouissaient dans le cas d’espèce, qui s’inscrit dans un débat revêtant un intérêt public certain.«
This decision is comparable to the case of Garaudy v. France the author of “Fundamental myths of modern Israel”, where author was sentenced to a suspended prison sentence and fined for denying crimes against humanity and the Holocaust (no. 65831/01, 24. 6. 2003, pp. 2–12) The Court stated that “denying crimes against humanity is therefore one of the most serious forms of racial defamation of Jews and of incitement to hatred of them. The denial or rewriting of this type of historical fact undermines the values on which the fight against racism and anti-Semitism are based and constitutes a serious threat to public order” (Ibid., para. 23). Judges Vučinić and Pinto de Albuqueque noted in their partially dissenting opinion that that “Dans cette mesure, le requérant a agi avec le même dolus inacceptable que l’avait fait M. Garaudy. Il a même agi de manière plus répugnante encore, en s’identifiant au personnage qui, selon les juridictions militaires turques compétentes, avait fomenté le génocide des Arméniens …” (para. 25). It would be interesting why the Court has decided to depart from its well-established law on hate speech and, particularly why denial of the Armenian genocide which is a historical fact was not considered as the violation of Article 17 of ECHR on prohibition of abuse of rights.
Welcome to the Esohap, a new blog on the European System of Human Rights Protection ! This blog will cover recent human rights developments from both the Council of Europe and European Union. It will report on recent human rights case law of the European Court of Human Rights, European Court of Justice and other European human rights bodies. It will report also on recent publications, conferences and reports from this field. Your comments and suggestions on how to improve this blog are more than welcome !