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.
Bremner v. Turkey (no. 37428/06) - Second Section Judgment 13 October 2015 [French only]. [From the Court's Press Release] The case concerned the broadcasting of a television documentary in which the applicant, an Australian national, Mr Dion Ross Bremner, who was shown promoting his evangelical Christian beliefs, was described as a "foreign pedlar of religion" engaged in covert activities in Turkey. In its unanimous decision, the Court found in particular that the broadcasting of Mr Bremner’s image without blurring it could not be regarded as a contribution to any debate of general interest for society, regardless of the degree of public interest in the question of religious proselytising. The applicant's complaint under Articles 6 and 10 were inadmissible, and his Article 9 complaint was inadmissible for failure to exhaust domestic remedies.
Parrillo v. Italy (no. 46470/11) - Grand Chamber Judgment 27 August 2015. Banning a woman from donating embryos obtained from in vitro fertilisation to scientific research was not contrary to respect for her private life.
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... more
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.
November 2014 - The European Court of Human Rights recently published a new factsheet on cases regarding sexual orientation issues. The Court has also published factsheets in the past about various issues, including freedom of religion, conscientious objection, criminal aspects of homosexuality, and gender identity issues.
All of the Court's factsheets as well as country-specific profiles can be found on the Court's website by clicking here.
Rule 47 of the Rules of Court, which introduces stricter conditions for applying to the Court, came into force on 1 January 2014. It is designed to enhance the Court’s efficiency and to speed up the examination of applications. This amendment to the Rules introduces two major changes which are immediately applicable and will determine whether an application is rejected or allocated to a judicial formation.