Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.
This site is dedicated to reporting and commenting upon issues involving freedom of conscience, religion, or belief throughout the member states of the Council of Europe, with particular focus on the work of the European Court of Human Rights and its predecessor tribunal, the European Commission of Human Rights. We are working to make this site the definitive source of information for scholars and others interested in understanding and having some influence upon the work of the Court in this vital area. Since the decisions on the important issues pending before the Court will shape the basic contours of freedom of religion or belief for years to come, not only throughout Europe, but throughout the world as the Court and its opinions become increasingly influential, the kind of work envisioned by, and carried out by, the Strasbourg Consortium is particularly critical.
We welcome you to our site, and encourage you to investigate its possibilities to determine how it may serve you, and how you might contribute to its success.
PLEASE NOTE: This site is independently operated by the staff of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies on behalf of the academic group called the Strasbourg Consortium. It has no official affiliation with the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights.
Belkacemi et Oussar v. Belgique (no. 37798/13) - Communicated 9 June 2015. Muslim women complain about the ban in Belgian law on wearing the full-face veil, as violation their rights to respect for private and; freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and prohibition of discrimination.
Baydar v. Turkey (no. 25632/13) - Communicated 17 November 2014. The applicant is a conscientious objector to required military service.
Oliari and Others v. Italy (nos. 18766/11 and 36030/11) - Chamber Judgment 21 July 2015. From the Court's press release: "The case concerned the complaint by three homosexual couples that under Italian legislation they do not have the possibility to get married or enter into any other type of civil union. The Court considered that the legal protection currently available to same-sex couples in Italy – as was shown by the applicants’ situation – did not only fail to provide for the core needs relevant to a couple in a stable committed relationship, but it was also not sufficiently reliable. A civil union or registered partnership would be the most appropriate way for same-sex couples like the applicants to have their relationship legally recognised. The Court pointed out, in particular, that there was a trend among Council of Europe member States towards legal recognition of same-sex couples – 24 out of the 47 member States having legislated in favour of such recognition – and that the Italian Constitutional Court had repeatedly called for such protection and recognition. Furthermore, according to recent surveys, a majority of the Italian population supported legal recognition of homosexual couples."
Greek-Catholic Parish of Lupeni and Others v. Romania (no. 76943/11) - Chamber Judgment 19 May 2015. The case concerned the restitution of places of worship belonging to the Greek-Catholic Church which were transferred to the Orthodox Church under the totalitarian regime, and more specifically the question of the application of a special law to... more
On 16 June the Court delivered its Grand Chamber judgments in the first cases concerning the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. There are currently more than one thousand individual applications pending before the Court which were lodged by persons displaced during the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The first two cases are these:
Chiragov and Others v. Armenia (no. 13216/05) - Grand Chamber Judgment 16 June 2015.
Sargsyan v. Azerbaijan (no. 40167/06) - Grand Chamber Judgment 16 June 2015.
Hämäläinen v. Finland (no. 37359/09) - Grand Chamber Judgment 16 July 2014. The Court upheld a 2012 Fourth Section judgment regarding civil unions. The applicant is a Finnish national who underwent male-to-female gender reassignment surgery in 2009. Having previously changed her first names, she wished to obtain a new identity number that would indicate her female gender in her official documents. However, in order to do so her marriage to a woman would have had to be turned into a civil partnership, which she refused to accept. She complained under Articles 8, 12, and 14. However, the Grand Chamber agreed that there had been no violation of the applicant's rights.