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.
Osmanoğlu and Kocabaş v Switzerland (no. 29086/12) [judgment in French only] - Third Section Judgment 10 January 2017. A Muslim husband and wife, Swiss nationals with Turkish nationality, refused to permit their young daughters to attend compulsory mixed swimming classes at school, citing violation of their religious beliefs, and were fined for acting in breach of their parental duty. Their appeals in the Swiss courts were denied. In its decision of 10 January 2017 the Court foun no violation of the applicants' Article 9 rights, holding that though the applicants’ right to manifest their religion was in issue, "the authorities’ refusal to grant them an exemption from swimming lessons had been an interference with the freedom of religion, that interference being prescribed by law and pursuing a legitimate aim (protection of foreign pupils from any form of social exclusion)." However, the "school played a special role in the process of social integration... more
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.
Lupeni Greek Catholic Parish and Others v. Romania (no. 76943/11) - Grand Chamber Judgment 29 November 2016. The applicants' requested restitution of a place of worship that had belonged to the Greek Catholic Church and was transferred during the totalitarian regime in Romania to the ownership of the Orthodox Church. The claim was dismissed by the Romanian courts, and the property was not returned. The Court found a violation of Article 6 § 1 in a breach of the principle of legal certainty and the length of the proceedings and ordered restitution in respect of non-pecuniary damage and expenses. (See comment by Frank Cranmer at Law & Religion UK.)
İzzettin Doğan and Others v. Turkey (no. 62649/10) - Grand Chamber Judgment 26 April 2016. The Turkish state discriminates against members of the Alavite branch of Islam by not providing public Alevite religious services, when services are provided for the majority Sunni population.
F.G. v. Sweden (no. 43611/11 - Grand Chamber Judgment 23 March 2016. Swedish authorities must assess the consequences of an Iranian national’s conversion to Christianity before deciding on his removal to Iran.
Taran v. Russia (no. 11327/10) - Communicated 2 May 2016. Old Believer accused of crimes, remanded in custody, and forcibly shaved off by prinson officer, complains that the decision to remand lacked sufficient reason, that his Convention rights were violated when prison officials forcibly shaved the beard required by his faith.
Hamidović v. Bosnia and Herzegovina (no. 57792/15) - Communicated 24 March 2016. Adherent of Wahhabi/Salafi version of Islam called to testify in court alleges violation of Convention rights in punishment for refusing to remove his cap (symbol of his religion) in the courtroom.
Pingen v. Germany (no. 11344/16) and Tlpak v. Germany (no. 11308/16) - Communicated 16 March 2016. Applicant members of the Twelve Tribes church (Zwölf Stämme) complain, mainly under Article 8, about decisions of the domestic courts regarding custody of their children.
Aydan and Others v. Armenia (no. 75604/11) - Communicated 29 February 2016. Four Jehovah's Witnesses complain of detention following their objection to the fact that the presecribed alternative to military service was still under supervision of the military.