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Welcome to the Site of the Strasbourg Consortium 
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PLEASE NOTE: This site has no official affiliation with the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights. It is independently operated by the staff of the International Center for Law and Religion Studies at Brigham Young University Law School in the United States. 

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.  For links to information on the operations of the Court, see About the Court.

Image for Recent Decisions, Judgments, and Hearings

E.S. v. Austria (no. 38450/12) - Fifth Section Chamber Judgment 25 October 2019.  From the Court's Press Release: The case concerned the applicant’s conviction for disparaging religious doctrines; she had made statements suggesting that Muhammad had had paedophilic tendencies. The Court found in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria. It held that by considering the impugned statements as going beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate, and by classifying them as an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam which could stir up prejudice and threaten religious peace, the domestic courts put forward relevant and sufficient reasons.

Annen v. Germany nos. (2-5) - Fifth Section Chamber Judgment 20 September 2018. From the Court's Press Release: 'The cases concerned a series of complaints by an anti-abortion activist, Klaus Günter Annen, over civil court injunctions on various actions he had taken as part of an anti-abortion campaign. The plaintiffs in the domestic proceedings were... more

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Christian Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses in the NKR v. Armenia (no. 41817/10) - Communicated 15 March 2018. The applicants are the Christian Religious Organization of Jehovah's Witnesses NKR, a religious community established in the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh in 1993 ("the applicant community") and an Armenian national, Mr. Sargis Avanesyan, the community elder living in Stepanakert ("the applicant").  In June 2009, the applicant community applied to the NKR Government for state registration. In July 2009, the NKR government staff provided an expert opinion to determine if the applicant community fulfilled the requirements of Article 5 of the NKR law.  The expert opinion concluded that by their ideology, the applicant community is  "far from a Christian organization." In August 2009, the State Registry Department rejected the application relying on the expert opinion.  In spring of 2010, the police raided the religious meetings of the applicant community and arrested five members who were charged with an administrative offense. The applicants complain under Articles 9 and 11 of the Convention of the continued refusal of the NKR authorities to register... more

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Kàroly Nagy v. Hungary (no. 56665/09) - Grand Chamber Judgment 14 September 2017). Kàroly Nagy, a pastor in the Hungarian Calvinist Church, was dismissed following a disciplinary procedure in 2006. He initiated labor-law proceedings for unpaid renumeration against the church, but complained that his case was dismissed by state courts because they are ecclesiastical in nature. Mr Nagy then brought proceedings before both the labour and civil courts. Both sets of proceedings were ultimately discontinued on the ground that the courts had no jurisdiction. The labour courts discontinued the proceedings in December 2006, on the ground that the dispute concerned Mr Nagy’s service as a pastor and therefore the provisions of Labour Law were not applicable in his case. That decision was upheld on appeal in April 2007. Mr Nagy’s civil-law claim was also ultimately... more


The Copenhagen Declaration (full text) (High Level Conference, The Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe)

Draft Copenhagen Declaration (full text) (The Danish Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe)

Commentary on the Final Copenhagen Declaration (Janneke Gerards and Sarah Lambrecht, ECHR Blog)

ECtHR: Opinion on the draft Copenhagen Declaration (European Court of Human Rights, 

... more