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

Thursday, 13 June 2013

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - week 24

Blogpost written by Marc de Werd -  Courtesy Press Service of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg

Tuesday the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) launched a second practical guide to European law. The Handbook on European law relating to asylum, borders and immigration is the first comprehensive guide to European law in the areas of asylum, borders and immigration, taking into account both the case-law of the ECtHR and that of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). It also contains the relevant EU Regulations and Directives, as well as references to the European Social Charter (ESC) and other Council of Europe instruments. You can download the handbook here.



And yes, the Daily Express immediately reported that the new online guide to European asylum and immigration caused “outrage” for helping “migrants claim British benefits”. Adam Wagner (The serious lesson hiding behind the Express’s latest rights “outrage”) comments quite rightly:

 “There is a reason why reactionary newspapers like The Express are so upset by the prospect free online legal information. People knowing about their rights and the law surrounding them makes it a lot harder to unlawfully deport, imprison, and torture them. And as anyone who follows the human rights debate knows, it is unpopular groups like migrants and prisoners who are most likely to have their rights abused when the law is unclear and access to legal information is poor. Which suits some newspapers, but isn’t great if you are the victim of arbitrary or unlawful state action.”

In Vasylchuk v. Ukraine the ECtHR found that the search of the house of the applicant (who is disabled and cannot walk without of the aid of a walking stick) amounted to ill-treatment (art. 3). The police officer had taken away her walking stick and pushed her to the ground

In its decision in the case of Marc-Antoine v. France the ECtHR unanimously declared the application inadmissible. In connection with a hearing before the Conseil d’Etat the applicant complained that, unlike the “public rapporteur” (rapporteur public) at the Conseil d’Etat, he was not given a copy of the draft decision of the reporting judge. The Court found that the transmission of the draft decision to the public rapporteur did not place the applicant at any disadvantage or adversely affect the defence of his civil interests, which were the only interests in issue in the case. For a critical comment: Nicolas Hervieu, Droit à un procès équitable (Art. 6 CEDH): Le rapporteur public français finalement sauvé des eaux européennes:

"Quelque soit son issue, l’affaire Marc-Antoine c. France aurait du être un tournant majeur : soit une condamnation synonyme de bouleversement du procès administratif, soit un constat de non-violation marquant le point final d’un interminable contentieux. Mais en se limitant à une simple décision d’irrecevabilité, la Cour européenne laisse planer l’incertitude sur sa jurisprudence, désormais contradictoire selon les formations de jugement. Ceci est bien peu opportun, alors que les contentieux liés à la conventionalité du procès administratif ne se tarissent pas en France (v. ainsi un récent arrêt – CE, 28 mars 2013, Union syndicale des magistrats administratifs (U.S.M.A.), Req. 357064 – à propos duquel l’organisation requérante envisage une requête en révision, ainsi qu’une saisine de la Cour européenne sur la dispense de conclusions). Pour clore ces quelques propos, l’ellipse s’impose donc. Car l’interrogation qui fut le point de départ du présent commentaire peut désormais trouver sa réponse : « L’heure du dénouement aurait-elle enfin sonnée pour l’interminable saga contentieuse impliquant le rapporteur public ? ». A l’évidence, la réponse tend à être négative. Hélas, trois fois hélas."

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