Thursday, 3 June 2010

Interventions in Crucifix Case

A few days ago, I reported this, but it seems that the information in the Maltese newspaper was not correct:

As various newspapers report this week, at least ten ECHR state parties will intervene as third parties in the extremely debated case of Lautsi v. Italy. After the Court concluded in its judgment in November 2009 that the obligatory crucifixes in Italian public schools violated the ECHR (see my earlier post on the case here), Italy asked for a referral of the case to the Grand Chamber. A panel of the Court indeed decided to grant this and the case will be heard in a public hearing in Strasbourg on 30 June. The countries involved, mostly with Catholic or Orthodox Christian majorities, are Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, Romania and the Russian Federation. All states, and in addition 12 NGOs, intervene in support of Italy. According to the Maltese newspaper The Malta Independent, no country or NGO has asked for leave to intervene arguing in support of Lautsi's position. The very high number of intervening parties is unique in the Court's history, as far as I am aware. Whatever the outcome of the Grand chamber judgment, this will be keenly awaited and strongly scrutinised.
As the comments to this post by the Helsinki Monitor show (thanks for that!), the number of countries might indeed be lower and the interventions by NGOs are not only in support of the Italian position, but several are also in support of the position of the applicant. Let's await the hearing at the end of this month to see which arguments the Court will scrutinise in its questioning of the parties.

15 comments:

Andreea said...

Unbelievable! I was quite sure that Romania was one of the interested countries in this topic, and I really hope that the Grand Chamber will not go back on the decision.

fowey said...
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Anonymous said...

I'm Italian and I also hope that the ECHR will not come back on its decision. Church can govern the Vatican State, it's already enough.

Václav Žalud said...

The decision of the Chamber is not that surprising if we consider the ECtHR's position, e.g., towards wearing of Islamic scarfs in public schools. Public education should be secular and further I believe that having law that obliges schools to have crucifixes in classes is wrong, because it directly affects secular character of public educational institutions. We can however question whether the outright abolition of crucifixes placed in classes on a voluntary basis is a correct interpretation of the Convention by the Chamber. But its unanimous decision indicates that there are no interpretative tensions at least among seven judges...

Ελληνικο Παρατηρητηριο των Συμφωνιων του Ελσινκι said...

We at Greek Helsinki Monitor are puzzled that you censored our comment of yesterday pointing inter alia to false information on our third party intervention in Lautsi.

We would appreciate an explanation before we draw our conclusions.

Antoine Buyse said...

Dear Greek Helsinki Monitor,

This week I deleted a whole range of comments, which I get through my email on a large number of posts, since the overwhelming majority was spam. Apologies if I inadvertedly deleted your serious, non-spam comment. Please feel free to repost your comment.

Ελληνικο Παρατηρητηριο των Συμφωνιων του Ελσινκι said...

I recommend you ask the source of the article to provide evidence for what they claim or else rectify the errors.

For starters, Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) is one of the NGOs intervening as third party in the Lautsi case and our arguments were in support of the position that was adopted by the chamber judgment. We are also aware that some of the other NGOs intervening are doing so in the same direction.

Additionally, the ECtHR has informed us (letter available upon request) that only two governments, those of Malta and Lithuania, were granted leave to intervene, in addition to the NGOs listed in the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) statement (see http://www.eclj.org/Releases/Read.aspx?GUID=a77d9063-0475-408f-84a6-8a608be0077e&s=eur).

Finally, in the 11 May 2010 ECtHR letter to GHM, there is no reference to "33 Members of the European Parliament" having been granted leave for intervention.

In that letter, the ECtHR mentions an overall number of 12 third party interventions, including those of the two states.

It is really sad to see that the ECLJ is advocating their cause providing such -to put it mildly- inaccurate information.

Ελληνικο Παρατηρητηριο των Συμφωνιων του Ελσινκι said...

Further to the previous information, please see the third party intervention by L’ASSOCIAZIONE NAZIONALE DEL LIBERO PENSIERO « GIORDANO BRUNO» which is clearly in favor of the Lautsi judgment:
http://www.periodicoliberopensiero.it/pdf/interventionGiordanoBruno.pdf

Matthew Happold said...

The International Commission of Jurists, INTERIGHTS and Human Rights Watch have also jointly intervened. Their submission, which impliedly supports the Chamber's judgment, can be found here:
http://www.icj.org/dwn/database/Lautsi%20Final%20010610.pdf

Greek Symbols and their related meanings said...

Unbelievable! how could you say that the Grand Chamber will not go back on the decision.

Greek Symbols and their related meanings

Anonymous said...

Dear members of the Greek Helsinki MOnitor where should we write in order to obtain a copy of the letter of the Court?

BEst Wishes

Ελληνικο Παρατηρητηριο των Συμφωνιων του Ελσινκι said...

PRESS RELEASE

13 June 2010

Greek Helsinki Monitor and other NGO third party interventions in Lautsi v. Italy

Greek Helsinki Monitor (GHM) has uploaded on its website its third party intervention in the Case of Lautsi v. Italy submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on 29 October 2008: http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2010_files/third_party_intervention_to_italian_crucifix_case_29-10-08.doc; as well as its observations in response to Italy’s comments on GHM’s intervention submitted to the European Court of Human Rights on 19 March 2009: http://cm.greekhelsinki.gr/uploads/2010_files/third_party_intervention_to_italian_crucifix_case_19-3-09.doc. Both documents are in the file of the Grand Chamber that will hold a hearing on the case on 30 June 2010.

Two other third party interventions by international non-governmental organizations in support of the Chamber judgment are uploaded: one by the International Commission of Jurists, Interights and Human Rights Watch (http://www.icj.org/dwn/database/Lautsi%20Final%20010610.pdf); and another by the L’ Associazione Nazionale del Libero Pensiero «Giordano Bruno» (http://www.periodicoliberopensiero.it/pdf/interventionGiordanoBruno.pdf).

Mario Di Carlo said...

Several Italian NGOs requested for leave for third party intervention but were not admitted.

Mark Fang said...

The European Centre for Law and Justice has great hope and confidence that the Court understood that the right of nonbelievers not to believe cannot eclipse the rights of believers (i.e., that "laicite" is not required by the Convention). The ECLJ also hopes that the Court will understand that it cannot and should not require a state to renounce its own deep identity in the name of tolerance and human rights philosophy. "Real pluralism would start with respect between the countries," according to Gregor Puppinck, Director of the European Centre for Law and Justice. "Contrary to Ms. Lautsi's legal counsel's position, "laïcité" is not a requirement from the Convention." Puppinck noted.
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christian said...

Like you say let's await the hearing at the end of this month and the see.