Showing posts from May, 2023

Life imprisonment and the ECHR - New factsheet by Council of Europe

Life imprisonment is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, as long as prisoners have some chance of being released and it is possible for their sentences to be reviewed. According to the European Court of Human Rights, national laws concerning life imprisonment must be sufficiently clear and certain. Prisoners should also know from the outset what they must do to be considered for release, and under what conditions. The Council of Europe’s  Department for the Execution of ECHR Judgments  has published a new factsheet on cases concerning life imprisonment. The factsheet summarises steps taken by nine member states on this issue in response to 20 different judgments from the European Court of Human Rights. It covers a number of specific issues relating to life sentences, including review mechanisms, conditions of detention and the risk of irreducible life sentences in extradition cases. This is the latest in a series of  thematic factsheets  on changes to nationa

Legislative Proposal on Mutual Admissibility of Evidence and Electronic Evidence in Criminal Proceedings in the EU by European Law Institute

The  European Law Institute (ELI) Legislative Proposal provides guidance on future EU legislative action in the field. It aims at harmonising approaches in EU Member States and, through it, enhancing the principle of mutual recognition in criminal matters and the protection of human rights of suspects and accused. At present, each EU Member State follows its own rules on criminal investigative measures for evidence gathering, resulting in different standards for its admissibility. When such evidence, including electronic evidence, is to be shared with other EU Member States, a clear mechanism governing its admissibility is needed. While there have already been a number of helpful studies on the admissibility of evidence in criminal proceedings and the need for more harmonisation at EU level as well as important advances in European judicial cooperation, these initiatives have so far not comprehensively addressed the rules that should be adopted regarding the mutual admissibility of

Conviction for not promptly deleting unlawful comments on Facebook did not breach user's right to freedom of expression (ECtHR)

In Grand Chamber judgment (15.5.2023) in the case of Sanchez v. France (application no. 45581/15) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority, that there had been no violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The application concerned the criminal conviction of the applicant, at the time a local councillor who was standing for election to Parliament, for the offence of incitement to hatred or violence against a group or an individual on grounds of religion, following his failure to take prompt action to delete comments posted by third parties on the “wall” of his Facebook account.  The applicant alleged that his conviction had breached his right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention. The criminal case had turned solely on the applicant’s lack of vigilance and failure to react in respect of comments posted by others. It had thus raised the question of the shared liability of the various actors involved in

Rule of law: the body in charge of disciplinary proceedings against judges must be independent and impartial

According to Judgment of the Court of Justice of the E.U. in Case C-817/21 (11.5.2023), the body in charge of disciplinary proceedings against judges must be independent and impartial. The rules governing the review of the actions of its director must be designed in such a way as to dispel any reasonable doubt in that respect. In Romania, a party in several criminal proceedings filed a number of disciplinary complaints with the competent Judicial Inspectorate against certain judges and prosecutors involved. Since all of those complaints were the subject of decisions to take no further action, that party lodged a complaint against the Chief Inspector, in respect of which it was also decided to take no further action.  She then turned to the Court of Appeal, Bucharest, Romania, to challenge those decisions to take no further action, claiming, inter alia, that it is impossible to bring disciplinary proceedings on account of the concentration of powers in the hands of the Chief Inspector.