Milanović v. Serbia (no. 44614/07) – Chamber Judgment, 14 December 2010. The applicant, Života Milanović, is a Serbian national who lives in Belica (Jagodina Municipality, Serbia). Since 1984, he has been a leading member of the Hare Krishna Hindu community in Serbia and has received numerous threats and has been assaulted physically many times by non-State agents beginning in 2001. Relying on Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment), and 13 (right to an effective remedy), he complained about the failure of the authorities to prevent the repeated attacks on him as well as to investigate properly those incidents. Under Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 3, he further alleged that this failure was due to his religious affiliation. In its judgment of 14 December 2010, the Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Article 3 and by 6 votes to 1 that there had also been a violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 3. By unanimously holding it is not necessary to examine separately the complaints under Articles 2 and 13. Serbia is to pay EUR 10,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 1,200 in respect of costs and expenses.
HADEP and Demir v. Turkey (no. 28003/03) – Chamber Judgment, 14 December 2010. The applicants are Halkın Demokrasi Partisi (People’s Democracy Party, “HADEP”), a political party established on 11 May 1994, and Turan Demir, its general secretary, elected to that post in February 2003. Relying mainly on Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association), the applicants complained about the dissolution, in March 2003, of the HADEP party. They further complained about the party’s dissolution under Articles 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), 10 (freedom of expression) and 14 (prohibition of discrimination), Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property) and Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 (right to free elections). In its judgment of 14 December 2010, the Court held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 11 and that in view of these findings, there was no need to examine the other complaints. Under Article 41, the Court further held that Turkey is to pay Mr. Demir EUR 24,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, to be held by him for members and leaders of HADEP, and also that EUR 2,200 is to be paid to the applicants jointly, in respect of costs and expenses.
O’Donoghue and Others v. the United Kingdom (no. 34848/07) – Chamber Judgment 14 December 2010). The applicants are a Nigerian national, Osita Chris Iwu, and three dual British and Irish nationals, Sinead O’Donoghue, Ashton Osita Iwu and Tiernan Robert O’Donoghue. Relying, in particular, on Article 12 (right to marry) and Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) in conjunction with Article 12, the applicants complained about the existence of a Certificate of Approval Scheme, which required people subject to immigration control to pay a fee in order to obtain permission to marry, and about how that scheme has been applied to them. Relying further on Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) alone and in conjunction with Article 14, and Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) alone and in conjunction with Article 14, the applicants complained about not being able to marry, unless they did so in an Anglican church, and about undue interference with their private and family life. In its decision of 14 December 2010, the Court found, unanimously, violations of Article 12, Article 14 (in conjunction with Article 9), and Article 12. There was no need, said the Court, to examine separately the complaints under Article 8, either read alone or in conjunction with Article 14. By way of just satisfaction (under Article 41), the Court held that the United Kingdom is to pay the applicant EUR 8,500 in respect of non-pecuniary damage, 295 British pounds in respect of pecuniary damage, and EUR 16,000 for costs and expenses.
Savez crkava “Riječ života” and Others v. Croatia (no. 7798/08) – Chamber Judgment, 9 December 2010. The applicants are Savez crkava “Riječ života” (Union of Churches “The Word of Life”), Crkva cjelovitog evanđelja (Church of the Full Gospel) and Protestantska reformirana kršćanska crkva u Republici Hrvatskoj (Protestant Reformed Christian Church in the Republic of Croatia). Based in Zagreb and Tenja, they are churches of a Reformist denomination which have been registered as religious communities under Croatian law since 2003. The case concerns the applicant churches’ complaint that, unlike other religious communities in Croatia, they could not provide religious education in public schools and nurseries or obtain official recognition of their religious marriages as the domestic authorities refused to conclude an agreement with them regulating their legal status. They relied on Article 6 § 1 (access to a court), Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and Article 1 of Protocol No. 12 (general prohibition of discrimination). In a chamber judgment issued 9 December 2010, the Court found no reason that Croatia’s argument that other religious communities satisfied the criterion of being “historical religious communities of the European cultural circle” could not equally be applied to the applicant churches. The Court concluded that the criteria were not applied on an equal basis to all religious communities, and that this difference in treatment did not have an objective and reasonable justification, in violation of Article 14 in conjunction with Article 9. The Court considered that it was not necessary to examine the Article 1 issue, and found the complaints under Article 6 and Article 13, and under Article 9 alone to be inadmissible. Under Article 41 (just satisfaction) of the Convention, the Court held that Croatia was to pay to each applicant church EUR 9,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 4,570 in respect of costs and expenses.
Jakóbski v. Poland (no. 18429/06) – Chamber Judgment, 7 December 2010. The applicant, Janusz Jakóbski, is a Polish national serving an eight-year prison sentence in for rape, for which he was convicted in 2003. Applicant observed that other religious groups in the prison were allowed special diets, while he, a Buddhist, was consistently refused the meat-free diet required by the Mahayana Buddhist dietary rules he observes. He noted further that refusal of the food offered would have been regarded as beginning a hunger strike, resulting in disciplinary punishment. The 7 December judgment of the Court held unanimously that there had been a violation of Mr. Jakóbski’s Article 9 rights (freedom of thought, conscience and religion), but no need for a separate examination under 14 (prohibition of discrimination). The Court reasoned that removing meat from applicant’s diet, which could be seen as motivated or inspired by a religion, would not entail disruption to the management of the prison or decline in the standard of meals served to other prisoners. Under Article 41 (just satisfaction), the Court held that Poland should pay EU 3,000 in non-pecuniary damage.