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.
Z.H. v. R.H. v. Switzerland (no. 60117/12) - Third Section Judgment of 18 December 2015. [From the Court's Press Release]: The case concerned the asylum applications of two Afghan nationals, Ms. Z.H. and Mr. R.H., who married in a religious ceremony in Iran when Ms Z.H. had been a child, and which were considered separately – the couple not being considered legally married by the Swiss authorities – resulting in the expulsion of Mr R.H. to Italy. The couple alleged that the expulsion of Mr R.H. had breached their right to respect for their family life (as guaranteed by ECHR Article 8). The Court found that at the time of the removal of Mr R.H. to Italy, the Swiss authorities had been justified in considering that the applicants were not married. It held, in particular, that Switzerland was under no obligation to recognise the marriage of a child, emphasising the importance... more
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.
Lambert and Others v. France (no. 46043/14) - Grand Chamber Judgment 5 June 2015 (rectified 26 June 2015). The case concerned the judgment delivered by the French Conseil d’État authorizing the withdrawal of the artificial nutrition and hydration of Vincent Lambert. Finding no consensus among the Council of Europe member states permitting the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment, the Court concluded that States must be afforded a margin of appreciation. The legislative framework laid down by domestic law, as interpreted by the Conseil d’État, and the decision-making process, which had been conducted in meticulous fashion, was compatible with the requirements of Article 2. The Court therefore held, by a majority, that there would be no violation of ECHR Article 2 (right to life) in the event of implementation of the Conseil d’État judgment.
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... 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.