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

Thursday, 22 January 2015

This week in Strasbourg - A roundup of the European Court of Human Rights' case law - 2015 - week 4

Grandparents’ contact rights with their granddaughter suspended on account of criminal proceedings against the father - case of Manuello and Nevi v. Italy - violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention - The case concerned the applicants’ inability to see their granddaughter, firstly because of the non- enforcement of court decisions authorising meetings and secondly on account of a court decision suspending those meetings. The Court found that forbidding meetings between the grandparents and their granddaughter, on grounds that the child associated her grandparents with her father and the suffering she had undergone as a result of alleged sexual interference, was a measure that the authorities were entitled to take in cases of maltreatment. However, whilst great care was necessary in situations of this type and measures for the child’s protection could involve restricting contact with members of the family, the Court considered that the authorities had not made the necessary efforts to protect the family ties between the grandparents and their granddaughter, who had not seen each other for about twelve years.

Single-parent adoption: legal vacuum in Turkey regarding recognition of adoptive mother’s forenamecase of Gözüm v. Turkey - violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the Convention - The case concerned the refusal of Ms Gözüm’s request, as a single adoptive mother, to have her own forename entered on the personal documents for her adopted son E. in place of the name of the child’s biological mother. The Court found in particular that there had been a vacuum in Turkish civil law in relation to single- parent adoption, since at the time Ms Gözüm had made her request, there had been no regulatory framework for recognition of the adoptive single parent’s forename in place of that of the natural parent. This had left Ms Gözüm in a situation of distressing uncertainty regarding her private and family life with her son.

Dismissal of constitutional appeal for failure to meet objective criteria did not breach the Convention - case of Arribas Anton v. Spain - no violation of Article 6 § 1 (right of access to a court) of the Convention - The case mainly concerned the applicant’s right of access to a court. The Court observed that the decision of the Constitutional Court had been based on a lack of grounds on which to declare admissible an amparo appeal by the applicant, who argued that he had been deprived of his right of access to that court by a ground of inadmissibility that he considered excessively formal, introduced by an institutional law of 24 May 2007 requiring appellants to show that their appeal was of particular constitutional importance. The Court found in particular that the fact of subjecting the admissibility of such an appeal to the existence of objective criteria and to a requirement of justification by the appellant, was neither disproportionate nor in breach of the right of access to the Constitutional Court.

European Court discontinues examination of second case brought by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Tymoshenko - In the case of Tymoshenko v. Ukraine (no. 2) the Court has unanimously decided, on 16 December 2014, to strike the application out of its list of cases pursuant to Article 39 friendly settlements) of the European Convention on Human Rights. - The case – the second application brought by the former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko before the ECHR – mainly concerned the criminal proceedings brought against her in April 2011 relating to contracts for the supply of gas. The Court took note of the Ukrainian government’s declaration in which they admitted that the criminal prosecution of Ms Tymoshenko had been politically motivated and in which they acknowledged a violation of her Convention rights, and of various measures taken by the Government as a consequence of those violations. Following Ms Tymoshenko’s agreement to the terms of that declaration, the Court considered that it implied a friendly settlement between the parties and therefore found no reason to continue its examination of the case.

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

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