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Welcome to the Site of the Strasbourg Consortium 
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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. It has no official affiliation with the Council of Europe or the European Court of Human Rights.

The Court has published new factsheets on cases dealing with Religious Symbols and Clothing and Freedom of Religion. All of the Court's factsheets as well as country-specific profiles can be found on the Court's website by clicking here

Image for Recent Decisions, Judgments, and Hearings

Belkacem v. Belgium (no. 3467/14) [judgment in French only] - Second Section Admissibility Decision 20 July 2017. [From the Court's Press Release:] [From the Court's Press Release:] The case concerned the conviction of the leader and spokesperson of the organisation "Sharia4Belgium", which was dissolved in 2012, for incitement to discrimination, hatred and violence on account of remarks he made in YouTube videos concerning non-Muslim groups and Sharia. The Court noted that in his remarks Mr Belkacem had called on viewers to overpower non-Muslims, teach them a lesson and fight them. The Court considered that the remarks in question had a markedly hateful content and that Mr Belkacem, through his recordings, had sought to stir up hatred, discrimination and violence towards all non-Muslims.... more

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Ossewaarde v. Russia (no. 27227/17) Communicated 6 July 2017.  Applicant is a United States citizen who iives in Russia.  He was arrested following a Baptist prayer meeting that he held in his home.  Applicant was convicted of conducting "missionary activities" without having notified authorities of establishing a religious group.  The Court questions whether there was as violation of Articles 9 and 11 of the Convention in connection with the applicant's prosecution for the organization of Bible reading meetings?  Also, did the Russian courts draw a distinction between "missionary activities" carried out by a religious group and individual evangelism and did they indicate any facts buttressing their conclusion?  

Evangelical Christian Church New Generation in Blagoveshchensk v. Russia (no. 73458/11) Communicated 6 July 2017. The applicant church is an organization registered as a religious organization under Russian law.  Applicant complains under... more

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Medžlis Islamske Zajednice Brčko and Others v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (no. 17224/11) – Grand Chamber Judgment 27 June 2017. Applicants (four organizations) complained of violation of freedom of expression in the order to pay damages for defamation following publication of a letter written to the highest authorities of their district complaining about a person’s application for the post of director of Brčko District’s multi-ethnic radio and television station. The Court found that four statements in the letter contained allegations portraying the candidate in question (Ms M.S.) as a person who was disrespectful and contemptuous in her opinions and sentiments about Muslims and ethnic Bosniacs. The nature of the accusations had been such as to seriously call into question Ms M.S.’s suitability for the post of director of the radio and her role as editor of the entertainment programme of a multi-ethnic public radio station. However, the applicants had not established before the domestic courts the "truthfulness of these statements which they knew or ought to have known were false" despite being bound by the requirement to verify the veracity of their allegations even if these had been disclosed to the authorities by means of private correspondence. The Court therefore held that the applicants had not had a sufficient factual basis to support their allegations... more

COURTalks-disCOURs

The COURTalks-disCOURs videos are geared to providing legal professionals, as well as civil society representatives, with an overview of the Court’s jurisprudence in different matters. Made in cooperation with the European HELP programme, these educational videos are subtitled in different languages and are available with a transcript setting out the relevant case-law precedents in each sphere.

Press release HELP website