Last week, on May 12, 2015, in Gogitidze and Others v. Georgia, the European Court of Human Rights held that the confiscation of property from a former public official did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The applicants claimed that Georgia had violated their right to property under the First Protocol to the European Convention, and their right to a fair trial under the European Convention. In finding no violation of the right to property, the Court reasoned that the State had struck a fair balance between the means taken to confiscate the applicants’ assets and the public interest in combating State corruption. Regarding the right to a fair trial, the Court found that the applicants had waived their right to participate in proceedings by failing to appear at the trial. See ECtHR, Gogitidze and Others v. Georgia, no. 36862/05, Judgment of 12 May 2015. Read more
Category Archives: regional human rights protection
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will have the opportunity to determine for the first time whether State regulations designed to uphold discipline within a military institution may punish sexual acts between persons of the same sex without violating the principle of equality and non-discrimination. In December 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights filed an application to submit the case of Homero Flor Freire v. Ecuador to the Court. The case involves the discharge of Mr. Flor from the Ecuadorian army as punishment for allegedly committing sexual acts with a person of the same sex. In 2013, the Commission held that Ecuador had violated Mr. Flor’s rights to a fair trial, judicial protection, equal protection before the law, and non-discrimination. The Commission referred the case to the Court after Ecuador failed to comply with the Commission’s recommendations. [IACHR Press Release]
On March 31, 2015 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) released its judgment in Helsinki Committee of Armenia v. Armenia, concerning the State’s denial of a non-governmental human rights organization’s (NGO) application to hold an event dedicated to mourning the death of a murder investigation witness at the police station. See ECtHR, Helsinki Committee of Armenia v. Armenia, no. 59109/08, Judgment of 31 March 2015.
Last month, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued its Annual Report 2014, summarizing the Court’s structure, jurisprudence, and activities throughout 2014. The Report discusses the Court’s functions, summarizes the status of cases before the Court, breaks down the Court’s budget, and describes additional activities the Court undertook in 2014. See Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Annual Report 2014. The majority of the Report focuses on the hearings that the Court held, cases that were submitted to the Court, and judgments that the Court delivered in 2014. See id. at 12–33, 39–66.
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR) is currently holding its 108th Ordinary Session, which began on April 13 and will conclude on April 17, 2015 in San Jose, Costa Rica, and will be holding its 52nd Special Session from April 20 to April 24, 2015 in Cartagena, Colombia.
On March 10, 2015, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights published a decision condemning Sudan’s mistreatment of human rights defenders, which remains a pressing concern in the country. In the case of Monim Elgak, Osman Hummeida and Amir Suliman v. Sudan, the African Commission held that the government of Sudan violated several articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights when authorities arrested, detained, and tortured three human rights defenders who were accused of espionage based on their cooperation with the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court. ACommHPR, Monim Elgak, Osman Hummeida and Amir Suliman v. Sudan, Communication 379/09, 15th Extra-Ordinary Session, 7-14 March 2014. Since 2005, the Office of the Prosecutor has been investigating several Sudanese political leaders and other individuals charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide in connection with the situation in Darfur.
The European Committee of Social Rights held its 277th Session from March 16 to March 20, 2015 in Strasbourg, France. The Committee, which is made up of 15 independent experts, is charged with overseeing State compliance with the European Social Charter, which protects economic and social rights. The agenda for this session included reviewing 16 collective complaints, examining national reports, discussing Charter provisions that have not been accepted by all States, reviewing its working methods, following up on the Turin process, preparing its annual activity report, and engaging with the General Coordinator of the Academic Network on the European Social Charter. Specifically, the Committee made progress in its decisions on four complaints, and reviewed national reports from the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, the Czech Republic, Malta, and Estonia concerning their compliance with the Charter provisions relating to children, families, and migrants.
The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) will open its 56th Ordinary Session on April 21, 2015 in Banjul, the Gambia. During this session, which continues through May 7, the Commission’s agenda includes discussion of the human rights situation in Africa, consideration of State reports, and hearing activity reports from members of the Commission and its special mechanisms. This 56th Ordinary Session was originally scheduled for October 2014 but was postponed twice due to the Ebola pandemic. [ACDHRS: September; ACDHRS: November]
On March 10, 2015, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) released its judgment in Y.Y. v. Turkey, where it unanimously held that the State’s refusal to authorize gender reassignment surgery for the transsexual applicant violated the right to respect for private life under the European Convention of Human Rights. See ECtHR, Y.Y. v. Turkey, no. 14793/08, Judgment of 10 March 2015 (decision is currently being processed). The Court reasoned that the State’s grounds for denying the surgery – including that the applicant was not unable to procreate – were not sufficient, and that the State’s interference with Y.Y.’s right to respect for his private life was not “necessary” in a democratic society, thus violating Article 8 of the European Convention. The Court stated that transsexuals’ rights to personal development and physical and moral security “could not be regarded as a matter of controversy.” [ECtHR Press Release]