Caamaño Valle v Spain

ECtHR, Third Section, App. No. 43564/17, [2021] ECHR 43564/17, 11 May 2021

Judge Lemmens (President), Judges Serghides, Dedov, Ravarani, Elósegui, Seibert-Fohr, Roosma

This case, which concerned the disenfranchisement of a mentally incapacitated adult, is perhaps most notable for the eviscerating dissent of the Third Section President, Judge Lemmans, who ruled that there had been a breach of A3P1, read alone and in conjunction Article 14 of the Convention and A1P12. In doing so he favoured the approach of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, who intervened, over the view of his colleagues who acknowledged, but did not follow, the jurisprudence developed under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Judge Lemmems presents a compelling case for an “inclusive equality” implying “the full recognition of humanity through inclusion in society” (citing the CRPD Committee)and encourages a critical reading of the majority judgment in this case. Continue reading

Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group & Ors v Georgia

ECtHR, 5th Section, Apps. Nos. 73204/13 and 74959/13, 16 December 2021

Judge O’Leary (President), Judges Yudkivska, Ilievski, Chanturia, Jelić, Bårdsen, Guyomar

The ECtHR ruled that the respondent State’s failure to protect the applicants’ public rally from homophobic and/or transphobic acts of violence by counter-demonstrators and to conduct an effective investigation into the incident breached Article 14 ECHR read with Articles 3 and 11. The individual applicants were Georgian nationals and the applicant associations were Georgian NGOs set up to promote and protect the rights of LGBT people in Georgia. They complained that the Ministry of the Interior had taken inadequate steps to protect participants in various peaceful demonstrations despite having been notified of various threats from identifiable individuals. 2 000 police officers had been deployed but had failed to protect protestors from intimidation and, in some cases, physical assault. Georgia had also failed in its duty to investigate the events. The Court was satisfied that the failures to protect and to investigate had reached the threshold required for Article 3. It awarded the damages sought by the applicants which ranged from 2 500 to 10 000 Euro although it rejected their applications for costs on the basis that they were not evidenced. Continue reading

Association Accept and Others v Romania

ECtHR, Fourth Section, App. No.19237/16, [2021] ECHR 19237/16, 1 June 2021

Judge Grozev (President), Judges Vehabović, Motoc, Harutyunyan, Kucsko-Stadlmayer, Vilanova, Martins

The ECtHR ruled that Romania had breached the Article 14 rights of the individual applicants and the applicant association by failing to protect them from demonstrators who were permitted to disrupt the showing of a film with “homosexual overtones”, and by failing to take adequate measures against those involved. In reaching this conclusiont he Court inferred from the authorities’ failures “a certain bias against homosexuals”. The applicant association was not recognised as having standing in relation to the claim insofar as it was based on Article 8  but was recognised for the purposes of the claim under Article 14 and 11.  Nor did the Court accept that the threshold for the application of Article 3 was met by verbal abuse alone. It declined to consider the claim under A1P12. Continue reading

Yocheva and Ganeva v Bulgaria

ECtHR, Fourth Section,  App. Nos. 18592/15 and 43863/15, [2021] ECHR 18592/15, 11 May 2021

Judge Eicke (President), Judges Grozev, Vehabović, Motoc, Harutyunyan, Vilanova, Guerra Martins

Here the ECtHR ruled that Bulgaria had breached Articles 8 and 14 by excluding from entitlement to a family allowance payable to families with only one living parent, single mothers of minor children whose fathers were unknown. The Court found, inter alia, that the exclusion amounted to sex discrimination because “as maternity is determined by the act of birth, in the vast majority of cases it is only children’s paternity that can be unknown” (§110-111). Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was unsympathetic to the argument put for the state that the rule was justified because it “was a regular practice of certain ethnic and social communities in Bulgaria to ‘pretend’ that the mother was a single parent so as to more easily obtain State benefit” (§§98, 121). Continue reading