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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.

Image for Recent Decisions, Judgments, and Hearings

Hamidović v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (no 57792/15) - Fourth Section Judgment 5 December 2017. The applicant, an adherent of a group advocating the Saudi-inspired Wahhabi/Salafi version of Islam, was summoned to appear as a witness in a trial involving other adherents of the group, who attacked the US Embassy in Sarajevo in October 2011. During the trial the applicant refused to remove his cap in the courtroom as ordered and was exelled from the courtroom. An Appeals Chamber reduced the fine charged but otherwise found the order reasonable, holding that the requirement to remove any and all headgear at the premises of public institutions was one of the basic requirements of the life in society and that in a secular State, such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, any manifestation of religion in the courtroom was forbidden. The fine was converted into a prison term of 30 days. The Constitutional Court found no breach of ECHR Articles 9 (freedom of religion) and 14 (discrimination), and the applicant brought these complaints to the ECtHR.  It its judgment of 5 December 2016, the Court held be six votes to one that there had been a violation of Article 9 and that there was no need... more

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Tagiyev and Others v. Azerbaijan (no. 66477/12) - Communicated 31 October, 2017. Applicants are Jehovah's Witnesses who complain that the domestic authority ban on the import of religious literature constitutes an unlawful interference with their right to freedom of religion and expression. Domestic law requires legal entities and individuals obtain permission from the State Committee for Work with Religious Associations before importing literature. Claims submitted for permission to import more literature were denied because the amount previously granted was felt sufficient to meet the needs of the community. The denial of excessive literature was seen by domestic courts as a defense for the interests and rights of third parties and in line with domestic legislation that prohibits proselyting. The Court questions whether the decision was an interference with the applicant's freedom of religion and expression and whether the applicants suffered a difference in treatment with regard to the importation of religious literature.  

Kulesh and Others v. Russia (no. 45919/13 and 3 more applications) - Communicated 5 October 2017. Applicants complain of inhuman conditions... 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 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