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‘Abduction of Europa’ (Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Amsterdam - 1632 - fragment)

Thursday, 22 September 2016

ECtHR: no obligation to prosecute Dutch peacekeepers for their conduct at Srebrenica


In its decision in the case of Mustafić-Mujić and Others v. the Netherlands the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The applicants, relatives of men killed in the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, imputed criminal responsibility to three Netherlands servicemen who were members of the UN peacekeeping force. They complained that the Netherlands authorities had wrongly refused to investigate and prosecute the servicemen for allegedly sending their relatives to their probable death by ordering them to leave the safety of the UN peacekeepers’ compound after the Bosnian Serb forces had overrun Srebrenica and its environs.

Monday, 12 September 2016

Rechtspraak Europa no. 8/9 - augustus/september 2016 - verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LBVr (European Courts' newsletter in Dutch)

Klik HIER voor de nieuwsbrief Rechtspraak Europa verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LBVr met een overzicht van de rechtspraak van de afgelopen maand van het Europese Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens in Straatsburg en het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie in Luxemburg.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2016 - week 28


Latvian courts struck a fair balance in their decisions on musical copyright case - case of SIA AKKA/LAA v. Latvia - no violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 ECHR (protection of property) - The case concerned a complaint about the restriction on the copyright of authors’ musical work. SIA AKKA/LAA, an organisation responsible for managing the copyright of the musical works of a large number of Latvian and international authors, complained about decisions by the national courts ordering the applicant organisation and two radio companies to enter into a licence agreement and to set an equitable royalty rate. The applicant organisation notably alleged that those decisions had restricted the exclusive rights of the authors they represented to freely conclude licence agreements for the use of their musical works. The Court found in particular that the Latvian authorities had struck a fair balance between the demands of the public interest (namely, the radio companies’ interest in obtaining a licence allowing them to legally broadcast work as well as the general public’s interest in having access to musical works), on the one hand, and the rights of the applicant organisation to obtain equitable remuneration from the use of musical work, on the other. Indeed, the effort to maintain a balance between the competing interests could be seen in their decisions, which had observed that protected works were being broadcast without a valid licence over an extended period of time and that that situation had to a certain extent been due to the applicant organisation’s limited efficiency in carrying out negotiations with the radio companies.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Rechtspraak Europa no. 7 - juli 2016 - verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LBVr (European Courts' newsletter in Dutch)



Klik HIER voor de nieuwsbrief Rechtspraak Europa verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LSB met een overzicht van de rechtspraak van de afgelopen maand van het Europese Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens in Straatsburg en het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie in Luxemburg.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2016 - weeks 26-27



Refusal to grant residence permit to gay couple on family grounds was unjustified discrimination - The  case of Taddeucci and McCall v. Italy (only in French) concerned a refusal by the Italian authorities to grant a residence permit to a gay couple on family grounds.
The European Court of Human Rights held in this case, by six votes to one, that there had been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court found in particular that the situation of Mr Taddeucci and Mr McCall, a gay couple, could not be understood as comparable to that of an unmarried heterosexual couple. As they could not marry or, at the relevant time, obtain any other form of legal recognition of their situation in Italy, they could not be classified as “spouses” under national law. The restrictive interpretation of the notion of family member constituted, for homosexual couples, an insuperable obstacle to the granting of a residence permit on family grounds. That restrictive interpretation of the concept of family member, as applied to Mr McCall, did not take due account of the applicants’ personal situation and in particular their inability to obtain a form of legal recognition of their relationship in Italy. In deciding to treat homosexual couples in the same way as heterosexual couples without any spousal status, the State had breached the applicants’ right not to be subjected to discrimination based on sexual orientation in the enjoyment of their rights under Article 8 of the Convention.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2016 - week 25



The conviction of journalists who illegally intercepted radio communications between law-enforcement officers did not infringe their right to freedom of expression - In the case of Brambilla and Others v. Italy  the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The case concerned the conviction of three journalists who intercepted radio communications between carabinieri in order to arrive quickly at crime scenes and report on them for their local newspaper. Stressing the notion of responsible journalism and noting that the decisions of the domestic courts had been duly reasoned and had focused primarily on the need to protect national security and prevent crime and disorder, the Court found in particular that the courts had made an appropriate distinction between on the one hand the duty of the three journalists to comply with domestic law, which prohibited in general terms the interception by any persons of communications not addressed to them, including those of the law-enforcement agencies, and on the other hand the pursuit of their journalistic activities, which had not been restricted per se. The Court also noted that the penalties ordered by the domestic courts, consisting in the seizure of the radio equipment and the imposition of custodial sentences, had not been disproportionate, as the sentences of the three journalists had been suspended and the authorities had not prohibited them from bringing news items to the public’s attention.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Rechtspraak Europa no. 6 - juni 2016 - verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LBVr (European Courts' newsletter in Dutch)



Klik HIER voor de nieuwsbrief Rechtspraak Europa verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LSB met een overzicht van de rechtspraak van de afgelopen maand van het Europese Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens in Straatsburg en het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie in Luxemburg.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Brexit: misverstanden over het Straatsburgse mensenrechtenhof (Brexit: fatal misunderstandings about Europe's Human Rights Court)



Op 23 juni gaan de Britten naar de stembus. Zij kunnen zich dan uitspreken over de vraag of het VK in de EU moet blijven (‘Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?’). Er zijn tal van oorzaken waarom veel Britten zich willen afkeren (dat is het goede woord) van 'Europa'. Maar zeker is dat  misverstanden over de rechtspraak van het Europese Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens (EHRM) in Straatsburg een belangrijke rol spelen in de ‘Brexit’-campagne. Ook al is Europa niet hetzelfde als de Europese Unie, is de Raad van Europa (47 lidstaten) niet hetzelfde als de EU (28 lidstaten) en is het EVRM iets anders dan het EU Handvest voor de grondrechten. Maar dat zijn nog de minste misverstanden in dit referendum.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2016 - weeks 18/19


Criminal conviction for drug trafficking of truck driver was not unfair - case of Poletan and Azirovik v. “The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” - no violation of Article 6 §§ 1 and 2 (right to a fair trial / presumption of innocence) of the European Convention on Human Rights
The case concerned the complaint of two persons convicted of drug trafficking that the criminal proceedings against them had been unfair. They notably alleged: that the trial court’s decision had lacked reasoning; that one of the applicants had been unable to consult the case file and that she had had no opportunity to examine two witnesses; and that the expert examination of the substance in question had been biased. The Court – underlining that its role was essentially subsidiary to that of the national authorities which were better placed to assess the credibility of evidence with a view to establishing the facts – saw no reason to depart from the domestic courts’ conclusion to the effect that one of the applicants, who had driven the truck in which the drugs were found, had been aware that he was transporting drugs. The Court further declared inadmissible for being manifestly ill-founded the remainder of the complaints. It noted in particular that while two witnesses had been unable to attend the trial their statements – which had been read out instead – had constituted neither the sole, nor the decisive evidence on which the domestic courts had relied.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Prejudiciële procedure: iedereen doet mee behalve de vragensteller


De prejudiciële procedure vormt de ‘hoeksteen van het rechterlijke systeem’ dat de EU kent. Het verzekert de uniformiteit van het Europees recht en is cruciaal voor de rechtsvorming binnen de EU. De procedure draagt ook bij aan rechtsbescherming van particulieren. Dit is belangrijk, gelet op de beperkte directe toegang voor particulieren tot de Europese rechter. Het is ook een bijzondere procedure. Het is een dialoog van rechter tot rechter die beheerst wordt door ‘de geest van samenwerking’, aldus het EU-Hof. Het EU-Hof en nationale rechters hebben een gedeelde verantwoordelijkheid om hun dialoog tot een succes te maken. Zonder vragen kan het EU-Hof zijn taak als hoogste Europese rechter niet uitoefenen. Verwijzende rechters zijn op hun beurt afhankelijk van het antwoord van het Hof om het nationale geschil op te lossen.

Rechtspraak Europa no. 5 - mei 2016 - verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LSB (European Courts' newsletter in Dutch)



Klik HIER voor de nieuwsbrief Rechtspraak Europa verzorgd door het gerechtshof Amsterdam en het LSB met een overzicht van de rechtspraak van de afgelopen maand van het Europese Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens in Straatsburg en het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Unie in Luxemburg.

Friday, 29 April 2016

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2016 - weeks 16-17


Leaving mentally-ill life prisoner without treatment for decades deprived him of any realistic prospect of releaseGrand Chamber judgment - case of Murray v. the Netherlandsviolation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights - The case concerned the complaint by a man convicted of murder in 1980, who consecutively served his life sentence on the islands of Curaçao and Aruba (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) – until being granted a pardon in 2014 due to his deteriorating health –, about his life sentence without any realistic prospect of release. The applicant, Mr Murray, notably maintained that he was not provided with a special detention regime for prisoners with psychiatric problems. Although a legal mechanism for reviewing life sentences had been introduced shortly after he lodged his application with the Court, he argued that, de facto, he had no perspective of being released since he had never been provided with any psychiatric treatment and therefore the risk of his reoffending would continue to be considered too high to be eligible for release. Mr Murray passed away while the case was pending before the Grand Chamber. Two of his relatives subsequently pursued his case before the Court. The Court came to the conclusion that Mr Murray’s life sentence had not de facto been reducible. It observed that although he had been assessed, prior to being sentenced to life imprisonment, as requiring treatment, he had never been provided with any treatment for his mental condition during the time he was imprisoned. The opinions of the domestic court advising against his release showed that there was a close link between the persistence of the risk of his reoffending on the one hand and the lack of treatment on the other. Consequently, at the time he lodged his application with the Court, any request by him for a pardon was in practice incapable of leading to his release.