The principle of impartial tribunal also applies to disciplinary proceedings
Sturua v. Georgia 28-03-2017 (no. 45729/05)
The applicant was appointed President of the Abasha District Court for a period of 10 years. However, in 2004 disciplinary proceedings were instituted against him and removed him from office following a decision by the Disciplinary Board of Judges. He used the legal remedies to overturn the decision, but his colleagues issued negative decisions. Mr Sturua complained that the disciplinary proceedings against him were unfair, in breach of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair trial), because half of the judges hearing their applications were also in the Disciplinary Board that had removed him from the position of the magistrate. The ECtHR has ruled that there has been a violation of Article 6 § 1 (impartial tribunal).
The notion of impartial tribunal exists as a principle and disciplinary procedures.
Article 6 par. 1
The applicant, Mitrophane Sturua, is a Georgian national who was born in 1953 and lives in Tbilisi. In 1999 he was appointed President of the Abasha District Court for a ten-year term. However, in 2004 disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him and he was removed from office by a Panel of the Disciplinary Council of Judges. Mr Sturua appealed the decision to the Disciplinary Council of Judges and then to the Supreme Court. Both bodies dismissed the appeal and upheld the original decision. Mr Sturua complained that the disciplinary proceedings against him were unfair, in violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing). In particular, he complained that the Disciplinary Council of Judges that heard his appeal had not been impartial, because four of the eight judges hearing the appeal had already ruled on his case as the Panel of The Disciplinary Council which had originally decided to remove him from office.
THE DECISION OF THE COURT
Violation of Article 6 § 1 (impartial tribunal)
Just satisfaction: EUR 3,500 (non-pecuniary damage) and EUR 3,380 (costs and expenses)