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

Saturday, 8 March 2014

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2014 week 10

MARKET MANIPULATION - In the case of Grande Stevens and Others v. Italy the European Court of Human Rights held that persons responsible for market manipulation ought not to have been deprived of a public hearing or prosecuted twice for the same offence.  The case concerned the applicants’ appeal against the administrative penalty imposed on them by the Italian Companies and Stock Exchange Commission (hereafter “Consob2”) and the criminal proceedings to which they are currently subject after having been accused of market manipulation in the context of a financial operation involving the car manufacturer FIAT. According to the Court, although the procedure before Consob had not fully satisfied the requirements of fairness and impartiality, the applicants had nonetheless benefited from subsequent review by a judicial body with full jurisdiction. However, the latter court had not held a public  hearing, which would have been necessary in this case. For his part, Mr Grande Stevens had been informed in good time of the accusation against him and had had adequate time to prepare his own defence or to be represented by a lawyer of his own choosing. Moreover, although they were severe, the sanctions imposed on the applicants pursued an aim that was in the general interest – namely guaranteeing the integrity of the financial markets and maintaining public confidence in the security of transactions – and did not appear disproportionate to the conduct with which they were charged. However, the new criminal proceedings against Mr Gabietti and Mr Grande Stevens concerned offences involving identical facts to those for which they had been finally convicted, and ought consequently to be closed as rapidly as possible.
JOURNALISTS - In Dilipak and Karakaya v. Turkey the Court held that Fairness of proceedings must be guaranteed in order to protect the competing interests of freedom of expression and the rights of others.  The case concerned a judgment against two journalists, after hearings in their absence, for having written articles that were considered offensive towards a high-ranking dignitary of the army. The Court found that Mr Dilipak and Mr Karakaya had not been given the opportunity to participate in the civil proceedings against them or to defend their interests. It observed that the articles in question were part of a debate on the political role of the army and that the remarks of the two journalists clearly fell within a matter of general interest. Lastly, the particularly significant award of damages against the two journalists was a sanction that would be likely to have a chilling effect not only on the applicants themselves but on all journalists.

NOT IMPARTIAL - A decision taken by judges of the Turkish Supreme Administrative Court in proceedings in which they had previously participated was not impartial. That’s the outcome of the case of Fazli Aslaner v. Turkey. The Court found that the general assembly of the Administrative Proceedings Divisions of the Supreme Administrative Court, as it had been composed in this case, could not be considered impartial, given that certain judges had previously taken a position on the issue to be decided.

Texts build on the press releases of the European Court of Human Rights. 
This selection covers categories 1 and 2 judgments. 

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