Tag Archives: ECHR

Amanda Knox revisits Italy

Amanda #Knox (31)  will return to Italy next month first time since being definitively cleared four years ago of brutal killing of her flat mate Meredith KercherThe American citizen has agreed to take floor at criminal justice conference in Modena taking place June 13-15.

The Italy Innocence Project didn’t yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia,” #Knox wrote in her Twitter micro blog, @amandaknox, referring to an NGO that is designed to assist the victims of miscarriages of justice. “I’m honored to accept their invitation to speak to the Italian people at this historic event and return to Italy for the first time”

During her stay in Perugia  Knox was accused of murdering her flat-mate British exchange student Meredith Kercher, the crime (November 1, 2007) committed in a violent assault presumably together with her Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and a local acquaintance Cote d’Ivoire immigrant Rudi Guede 

All of them were arrested five days later and convicted by a court of first instance, but this conviction was subsequently overturned. The appeal sentence was then examined by the Italy‘s Supreme Court, which ordered a new trial on appeal leading to their second conviction in 2014. Knox and Sollecito were eventually acquitted definitively by the Supreme Court the following year. However Ivorian, Rudy Guede, convicted of the brutal murder  in a separate fast-track trial is serving a 16-year sentence.

 

After her liberation and return to the U.S. Knox became an author, an activist, and a journalist. With her memoir of the Meredith Kercher murder case Waiting to Be Heard as best seller, participation in TV shows, and the related activities, she gained a considerable fortune, estimated $15 million, and continuing to grow, while the murder mysteries still haunt public imagination.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Italy to pay compensation to Knox for violating her rights in the hours after her arrest in Perugia  (January 24, 2019), and subsequently Italy was ordered to pay #Knox €18,400  for not providing her with either a lawyer or a professional legal interpreter when she was first held in custody.

AMENDED: Patrick Lumumba falsely accused by Amanda Knox in the murder of Meredith Kercher explains how this calumny had wrecked his life.

Italy keeps ‘jus soli’ for migrants children

Italian citizenship for immigrant children, known as ‘jus soli‘ (‘law of the soil’), “isn’t in the government’s contract” Premier Giuseppe Conte said, but added that he hoped for a “calm reflection” of the issue in “the appropriate fora“.

Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio rejected the idea that the government would discuss jus soli. “It won’t be a measure that this government discusses, also because there’s already a law in Italy that regulates citizenship,” Di Maio said commenting on the suggestion of Conte.
The reflection hoped for by the premier is a personal feeling of his,Di Maio underlined.

At present a child born of an Italian parents receives Italian citizens by jus sanguinis, so does a child born in Italy of unknown or stateless parents under ‘jus soli‘, meaning Italy practices mixed system as many other EU states.

The jus sanguinis principle has positive influence on the prevention of statelessness: children born to European nationals anywhere in the world don’t run risks of being stateless.

The right to a nationality is not directly addressed in the European Convention on Human Rights, however the European Court (ECHR) uses the other tools to deal with the issue, as the right to respect for private and family life.

Citizenship is a serious thing and comes at the end of an integration path, it is not a ticket to the Luna Park”, Matteo Salvini said, facing a weighty problem of 600,000 foreigners who illegally remain in Italy. Pointing at this challenge, he rejected the attempts of center-left to reform the laws that regulate the Italian citizenship of the children of immigrants .

The European Convention on Nationality (ECN) indicates minimum standards for the protection of individual rights in the context of acquisition and loss of nationality.

While the ECN allows states to require that the children of immigrants in this case are residing lawfully on the territory of a state, but this condition is not regarded under the 1961 Convention, postulating the states need to grant nationality also to undocumented children born on their territory.

Iceland and Republic of Macedonia (Northern Macedonia) are European countries that have ratified the ECN without having ratified the 1961 Convention, and therefore on legal grounds require a residence permit of stateless children born on their territory before granting them access to nationality.

 

MEP: Catalan trials reminiscent of comrade Stalin ‘justice’

The Calalan trials in Madrid are reminiscent of ‘Vishinky justice’  of comrade Stalin style dealing with his political opponents“, said Indrek Tarand, Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from Estonia, while commenting on the accusations of the Catalan politicians. MEP is definite about the status of all the Catalans accused at High Court in Madrid as ‘prisoners of conscious“, and he also sees the sinister parallels between Spain’s political system oppressive methods and the extinct USSR.

“In democracy, debating and talking about everything is normal and logical. In democracy, voting is not a crime. We have made it very clear” said the former speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell to the judges in Spain’s Supreme Court in Madrid.

Spain’s public prosecutor has requested prison 17 years of sentence for her. Forcadell, is the first of among  accused of rebellion Catalan politicians  to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg.

Her lawyers have already presented her appeal to ECHR arguing  the gross disproportion of her pre-trial detention. Forcadell has been under this restriction since 23rd March 2018.

Before the arrest Forcadell used to be the president of the Catalan parliament when lawmakers passed referendum laws and voted on the declaration of independence, perceived as a “rebellion” by Madrid.

In her testimonyForcadell underlined that it was not within her competences to assess the “constitutionality” of parliamentary proposals, and said that “censorship can’t be allowed in parliament.” Former speaker Forcadell denied that the declaration of independence actually passed, as it was included in the preamble of a resolution and was therefore just a “political statement.

The first phase of the Catalan independence trial is completed, after 12 politicians and activists charged for calling a referendum and declaring independence in 2017 gave their testimony.

The accused, including former members of the Catalan government, defended themselves against accusations such as violent rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds, and disobedience.

 

 

Migrants attack Salvini in ECHR

Illegal migrants who were refused by Italy for several days after being rescued in the Mediterranean (August 2018) have filed two legal petitions against their treatment a pro Deo lawyer representing their interest said.

Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, who has encouraged the government’s tough stance on migrants, refused to let the asylum seekers off the ship during a standoff with the European Union, demanding the other member-states to demonstrate solidarity, and host some of the migrants.
Catania prosecutors wanted to press ahead with criminal charges against Salvini in relation to this but this week the  immunity panel of the Senate voted down the permission for the case to proceed.

The aim of the petition is not to obtain damages, but to ascertain whether conduct that did not comply with the law took place,” lawyer Alessandro Ferrara said.
The damages could be a symbolic amount of one euro. The important thing is that clarification is obtained on that conduct“. Petitions to a Rome court and to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have been presented by 42 migrants who were on the Diciotti vessel.

 

Strasbourg judges order Italy to pay Knox

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)  has ruled that Italy the right to defence of Amanda Knox was violated when she was questioned in November 2007 in relation to the brutal murder of Meredith Kercher (21), the British flat-mate in Perugia (Italy). It ordered the Italian State to pay a total of over €18,000 in damages and legal costs.

However the Court made it clear that it did not find any evidence corresponding to Ms.Knox complaint she had been subjected to mistreatment during the procedures.
The Court took the view that the Italian Government had not succeeded in showing that the restriction of Ms Knox’s access to a lawyer, at the police interview of 6 November 2007 at 5.45 a.m. – when there was a criminal charge against her – had not irreparably undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole,” a statement read.

The EHRC verdict has highly symbolical value for the complainant, claiming the innocence, although the sum is considered insignificant for Ms.Knox, who has collected over the years from interviews, magazine photo spreads, book deal, fundraisers and donations approximately $15 million, not including private donations which are unreported. One million donation was received from Donald Trump to “cover her legal costs”.

Ms Knox and her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who were imprisoned shortly after the gruesome crime, were found guilty of the murder and sexual assault of Ms Kercher in 2009, but were acquitted at a second trial in 2011, and Ms Knox left Italy for home in Seattle, to continue the procedures against Italian state, with different claims on breaches of procedures.

Mishandling evidence or dropping something, or not wearing gloves may cause difficulties, but it does not mean that Amanda Knox didn’t take part in the murder.  Her own words show that she did”, writes Peter Hyatt, criminologist, Deception Detection Instructor, referring to her initial four pages statement made for Perugia police.

Russia will stay in Council of Europe

Russia will not quit the Council of Europe, because this platform is essential for upholding its national interests, Russia’s CoE envoy Ivan Soltanovsky told Izvestia newspaper.

“Right now, Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of Europe is off the table. Our work there has not been interrupted. On the contrary, we are actively promoting the position of building a united Europe without dividing lines. We are actively involved in the work of such bodies as the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers and the European Court of Human Rights. Efforts are underway along various lines, specifically, fighting drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, and (supporting) legal cooperation, sports and cultural issues,” Russian diplomat said.

“All crises end sooner or later. We all know perfectly well that it is easy to slam the door (and leave), but it’s far more difficult to return,Soltanovsky added.

According to the envoy, those forces, which seek to demonize Russia and use all available means for that objective, are currently working overtime in the West. “Unfortunately, the Council of Europe is not immune to this development. We believe that the Russian delegation to PACE was stripped of some of its rights precisely in this context. All that can have far-reaching consequences for the organization, and we have drawn our partners’ attention to that,” the diplomat concluded.

 

 

Russia considers removal from ECHR

Reportedly the authorities of the Russian Federation are examining the possibility of denunciation of the European Convention on Human Rights and termination of cooperation with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Russian Federation is ready to resort to such measures, if what they call ‘anti-Russian line’ of court decisions is not corrected, RIA Novosti agency informed with reference to sources in relevant Russian departments. The chairman of the Moscow Helsinki Group Lyudmila Alekseeva has already called this step “careless and awful”.

“When considering complaints against Russia, the politicization of the position of the European Court of Human Rights increases,” the interlocutors of the RIA agency said, no arguments of the Russian side are not taken into account.”The court refuses to take into account the peculiarities of the Russian legal system and the norms of international law and often resorts to the practice of double standards,” unnamed governmental source said.

There is no solution in view for deep crisis between Russia and CoR, caused by two major reasons – the PACE sanctions and ECHR policy, tweeted Russian senator Alexey Pushkov.

 

Russia to reduce fee to ECHR

Russia can freeze its membership in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and reduce its contributions said deputy head of the State Duma committee for International affairs Alexei Chepa.
Izvestia newspaper, citing several high-ranking sources in the State Duma, said that Russia is considering suspending its participation in the ECHR and reducing contributions to the Council of Europe (CoE).
“Yes, this option is possible,” – said Chepa to RIA Novosti news agency, responding to a question about such prospects. The deputy said that it is premature to talk about the timing of a decision on this matter. “It is based on the actions of European parliamentarians who have been excluding us from all possible platforms for discussion, and why should we participate in this when we are members of an incomplete nature?” – asked the parliamentarian. “Therefore, these are all links of one chain, and such an option is possible,” he summed up.
Izvestia sources in the State Duma told that the fee might be diminished to an amount between USD7 to US10 millions. According to the interlocutors of the newspaper, the final decision on this matter will be taken on October 27, when the first reading of Russia’s budget for 2018 will take place in the lower house of parliament.
As noted by sources, there is a paradoxical situation: the ECHR can make decisions with respect to Russia, and Moscow does not have the opportunity to influence the work of the body. As a high-ranking source in the Duma said, if Russia is not given the right to express its position during the election of ECHR judges, it will stop paying and freeze its membership in the organization.
Deputy chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council Vladimir Jabarov in an interview with Izvestia called the ECHR’s attitude towards Russia ‘discriminatory’, violating the rights of a sovereign state. According to the senator, many decisions of the ECHR are politicized and unfair. “If the tendentious attitude towards Russia continues, we will freeze the payments and leave the ECHR, and there is nothing to worry about,” Jabarov is convinced.
At the same time, the head of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs, Konstantin Kosachev, said that he does not see legal possibilities for freezing Russia’s membership in the ECHR.
“Russia’s participation in the ECHR is conditioned by Russia’s accession to the European Convention on Human Rights, which is a basic document related to membership in the Council of Europe, which is why it is purely legally incomprehensible to me what this initiative means, in which case Russia should suspend its participation in the European Convention on human rights and, accordingly, in the Council of Europe as an intergovernmental organization, I personally oppose such a plot, “the senator said. He called on the deputies “not to get excited” by this issue.
Earlier, chairmen of both chambers of the Russian parliament, Valentina Matvienko and Vyacheslav Volodin, criticized the activities of the ECHR, noting that Russia does not fulfill some of the judiciary’s decisions because of their discriminatory nature. The Speaker of the Federation Council threatened that from next year Moscow will ignore the ECHR, whose jurisdiction extends to Russia since May 5, 1998.
A week ago, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said that Russia will wait for changes in the regulations of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) before returning to full-fledged work in this organization. The Russian delegation was deprived of the right to vote after the accession of the Crimea. In response, Moscow suspended its participation, and in June it froze the payment of about a third of the contributions to the Council of Europe (about 11 million euros).
Activities of the Council of Europe are financed by members of this international organization. Russia is one of the five main contributors to the coffers of the Council of Europe. The total amount is about 40 million euros and is distributed among five council bodies. The funds are allocated to the work of the PACE, the Committee of Ministers, the ECtHR, the advisory bodies (the Venice Commission, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe) and the secretariat.

ECHR orders Russia to pay 38.000 euro

The European Court of Human Rights has found violations of people’s right to fair and free elections during 2011 Duma campaign in Russia. It ruled that Russia has to pay 38.000 euros to nine claimants who had sued the Russian authorities.

The Court explicitly stated that it did not consider in detail the essence of the claims the plaintiffs had to the election process or the possible violations found. At the same time, the ECHR acknowledged that the plaintiffs brought reasonable arguments about the wrong process of vote counting that had not been properly considered in the Russian courts.

 

Voters, candidates and election observers at December 2011 elections to the Legislative Assembly of St. Petersburg and the State Duma acted as claimants in the case. They argued that the outcome of the election commissions differed from that in the protocols the observers received.

According to the plaintiffs, the election commissions added votes to United Russia. The party got more than 49% of the votes in 2011 elections, according to official figures.

 

Russia bans Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Supreme Court of Russian Federation ruled on April 20, 2017 that the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization should be closed down and no longer allowed to operate legally in Russia, Human Rights Watch said today. The ruling, which affects more than 100,000 Jehovah’s Witness worshippers across Russia.

“The Justice Ministry, which had petitioned the Supreme Court to close the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization, should withdraw the case and refrain from taking further measures that violate its obligations to respect the Jehovah’s Witnesses organization’s right to freedom of religion and to association.” – says the statement of the Human Rights Watch.  The Jehovah’s Witnesses organization said it will appeal the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights.

 

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