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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.

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Boyko v. Russia (no. 42259/07) - Third Section Committee Judgment.  Applicant is a Russian national charged with large-scale fraud and money laundering. When he did not show up for inititial interviews, he was placed on a fugitive list.  Applicant was ultimately arrested in February of 2007.  he applicant's detention was extended on nine occassions during an investigation that lasted over two years. The Supreme Court determined that the proceedings had been unreasonably long and ordered the applicant's release on bail after more than eighteen months in prison. While in custody, the applicant applied to receive pastoral visits from his Orthodox priests.  The investigator refused the visits suggesting that the applicant could see the prison chaplain instead. The Tverskoy District Court pronounced the refusal of pastoral visists to be lawful and justified, holdingi that the investigator had full discretion to determine if the visits ran counter to their investigation.... more

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Avanesyan v. Armenia (no. 12999/15) Communicated 16 February 2018. Applicant is an Armenian national and a Jehovah's Witness.  When applicant became of age for mandatory military conscription he lived in the unrecognized Nagorno Karabakh Republic where he was born.  The applicant applied for alternative civilian service, which is available in Armenia, instead of compulsory military service.  Concerned that the application would be rejected, applicant moved to a town in Armenia and reapplied for alternative civilian service.  The applicant appeared at a police station according to a summons and was arrested and handed over to the officers of the Nagorno Karabakh Police who placed him in prison.  At trial the First Instance Court of General Jurisdiction of Nagorno Karabakh found the applicant guilty and sentenced him to two years and six months.  The applicant's appeal was found inadmissible for lack of merit.  Armenian law provides for alternative civilian service for Armenian citizens whose religious beliefs contradict the performance of military service since July 2004.  Relevant Nagorno Karabakh law provides a penalty of imprisonment for... 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


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

ECtHR: Opinion on the draft Copenhagen Declaration (European Court of Human Rights, Adopted by the Bureau in light of the discussion in the Plenary Court on 19 February 2018)

Joint NGO statement following the Danish Chairmanship’s High-Level Expert Conference (EHRAC with Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists, European Implementation Network, SOS-Torture Network, European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC))

Undue political pressure is not dialogue: The draft Copenhagen Declaration and its potential repercussions on the Court’s independence (Sarah Lambrecht, Strasbourg Observers)

The draft Copenhagen Declaration – What about civil society? (Antoine Buyse, Strasbourg Observers)

The draft Copenhagen Declaration and the Court’s dual role – the need for a different definition of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation

... 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