Eviction is the most extreme interference with the right to respect for one’s home! An interesting decision by the Court to expel retired officers

Lushkin and others v. Russia 15.12.2020 ( 29775/14 and 29967/14)
Right to housing, eviction and proportionality of intervention in a democratic society.
The case concerned the eviction of the applicant officers and their spouses from the homes provided to them by the army while they were in the military. After their demobilization, they were called to leave the specific apartments in exchange for the concession of other newly built apartments. Their relocation was postponed without their fault, by decision of the Mayor because the new apartments were built without a planning permission. They filed a complaint for violation of the right to respect for their home, because they did not have accommodation to settle.

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Adoption cannot be based primarily on the absence of a relationship between the biological mother and the child. Obligation of the state to take measures for the reunification of the biological family!

M.L. v. Norway 22.12.2020 (app. no. 64639/16)
Inadequacy of a mother to raise her child for psychological reasons. Removal of parental responsibility from the mother. Approval of adoption of her daughter by foster parents, to whom she was placed from the age of 9 days. The domestic authorities based the adoption decision, mainly on the absence of ties between the biological mother and daughter and on her attachment to the foster parents.
According to the ECtHR, although the relationship between the biological mother and daughter was very limited, the placement of the latter in a foster family when she was only 9 days old had left no room for them to develop any real relationship. The ECtHR also pointed out that the applicant’s very limited rights of communication with her daughter (four times a year, for 2 hours at a time) had been decided on the grounds that the parental decision was to be long-term. There was no indication that the domestic authorities had taken any real steps to reconsider the right of communication while the child was in a foster family.

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Protection of vulnerable groups from eviction from the Court! An interesting intervention regarding the protection the home

Béla Németh v. Hungary 17.12.2020 (app. no. 73303/14)
The case concerned the applicant’s not being able to take possession of a property he had bought
owing to a legal moratorium on evictions. State bodies had been exempt from the moratorium. He
had had to wait two years before ultimately being able to exercise his ownership rights.
The Court found that the moratorium had had a basis in law, had served a legitimate interest, and, in
particular, had not deprived him of his legitimate expectation regarding ownership of the property,
merely delayed it.
The Court also found that the applicant’s situation had not been comparable to that of State actors
and as such he had suffered no discrimination

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The Court did not acquit a member of the SS who was accused of being involved in 300,000 murders!

Gröning v. Germany 2.11.2020 (app. no. 71591/17)
The case concerned a complaint by a former member of the SS about the length of the criminal
proceedings against him for assisting in murder in the Auschwitz extermination camp.
The applicant was questioned in 1978 while being investigated by the Frankfurt public prosecutor’s
office for crimes committed when serving in the Auschwitz extermination camp. The investigation
was discontinued in 1985. The applicant was questioned again in 2014 after the the Hannover public
prosecutor’s office initiated an investigation and he was convicted in 2015. He argued that the
proceedings had been running since 1978 because the authorities had failed to notify him of the
discontinuation decision in 1985, making the proceedings excessively lengthy.

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Inaction of authorities to protect residents from noise coming from a police station. Violation of the right to respect for privacy and residence

Yevgeniy Dmitriyev v. Russia 01.12.2020 (app. no.  17840/06)
Noise protection. Right to respect for privacy and peaceful enjoyment of home.
The applicant appealed to the national courts for harassment from the emission of various noises due to the installation of a police station and detention center in the basement of his apartment building. Prior to appealing to the Court, he had complained in writing to the competent authorities but his complaint was not considered. Although the national courts ruled that the police station should be relocated, the decision was not enforced. He brought an action for violation of the right to privacy and residence.
The Cound that the day-to-day operations of the police department had directly interfered with the applicant’s rights under Article 8 of the Convention, due to excessive noise and insufficient measures 13 years and either were not effective or were not taken at all.

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The dismissal of a teacher who taught Serbian in a Croatian school violated the right to privacy

Mile Novaković v. Croatia 17.12.2020 (app. no. 73544/14)
The case concerned a teacher’s complaint about being dismissed in 1999 for giving his classes in
Serbian rather than in Croatian. Of Serb ethnicity, he had lived and worked in Croatia for most of his
professional life and at the time of his dismissal was working at a secondary school in Eastern
Slavonia, in an area which had been peacefully reintegrated into Croatian territory after the war. The
authorities held in particular that he could not be expected to learn Croatian, given that he was
55 years old at the time.
The Court ruled that the authorities had dismissed the teacher, without considering any alternatives
such as training. Relying solely on his age and years of service, the authorities had applied the most
severe sanction, thereby significantly interfering with his rights.

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Inter-state application for the protection of the interests of a governmental organization, ie a Bank that does not enjoy independence from the state, does not fall within the jurisdiction of the ECtHR

Slovenia v. Croatia 16.12.2020 (no. 54155/16)
The case concerned unpaid and overdue debts owed to Ljubljana Bank by various Croatian
companies on the basis of loans granted at the time of the former Yugoslavia.

The Court observed that under Article 34 (individual applications) a legal entity could bring a case
before it provided that it was a “non-governmental organisation” within the meaning of that Article.
The idea behind this principle was to ensure that a State Party could not act as both an applicant and
a respondent in the same matter.
Article 33 of the Convention (inter-State applications) did not allow an applicant Government to
defend the rights of a legal entity which did not qualify as a “non-governmental organisation” and
which therefore would not be entitled to lodge an individual application under Article 34.

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Insufficient judicial control regarding a measure of dismissal of an official in a public body imposed after the failure of a military coup in Turkey. Violation of the ECHR

Pişkin v, Turkey 15.12.2020 (app. no. 33399/18)
The case concerned Mr Pişkin’s dismissal on the grounds that he had links with a terrorist
organisation, in the wake of the declaration of a state of emergency in Turkey following the failed
military coup of 15 July 2016, as well as the subsequent judicial review of that measure.
Mr Pişkin complained that neither the procedure leading to his dismissal nor the subsequent judicial
proceedings had complied with the guarantees of a fair trial. He also complained that he had been
branded a “terrorist” and “traitor”.

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The conviction based on contradictory testimonies of witnesses, a lost video and a witness who was not examined in the Court of Appeals violated the fair trial!

Dan v. Democracy of Moldova 10.11.2020 (no. 2) (app. no. 57575/14)
Evidence, contradictory testimonies of witnesses, non-examination of a key witness, compensatory factors in the lack of evidence and a fair trial.
The applicant was acquitted a second time by the the Court in the same case, which concerned his conviction for bribery.
He was sentenced by an irrevocable decision to 5 years in prison for ribery. The ECtHR ruled in its first appeal that his rights to a fair trial had been violated. Following the conviction, the procedure was repeated in the domestic courts.

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Complaints of degrading treatment in prisons must include a detailed and adequate description of the circumstances and events

Melnikov v. Ukraine 22.10.2020 (app. no. 66753/11)
Humiliating treatment and detention conditions. The applicant was convicted of serious offenses (intentional homicide, kidnapping, robbery, theft, etc.) and was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 years in prison.
He complained about the conditions of his detention in the prisons, stating that the personal space in his cell was 2.5 sq.m. and generally that there was an overcrowding of prisoners. He also complained about the way his sentences were calculated.
The ECtHR ruled that his allegations were vague and unproven. According to the Court, the applicants must provide a detailed and sufficient description of the facts and situations which they complain about regarding prison conditions and which do not have sufficient general objections, as in the present case. It also considered that the applicant had not substantiated his action in the part concerning the calculation of the penalties and the breach of Article 7 of the ECHR.

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