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On May 22nd 2008 at 2:15pm, Mr. Joseph Guerdner was arrested when he came to report to the military police station of Brignoles. Later in the afternoon, the suspect was transferred to a military police station of Draguignan. At 10:50pm, he was found dead in a park near the military police station of Draguignan.

Military police officer Monchal claimed that he shot 4 to 6 times in the direction of the the suspect while he was running away from the station and climbing in a tree in a park. According to this officer, the suspect handcuffed and wearing a handcuff to one of his foot, jumped from a window of the station before running to the park. The window was 4.6 meters above the ground.

An investigation was opened by the military police. On December 1st 2009, the investigation chamber of the appeal court of Aix-en-Provence charged Mr. Monchal with “involuntary manslaughter” against the legal opinion of the prosecutor Guémas based on article L2338-3 of the code of military defense.

On September 16th 2010, the prosecutor Guémas told the jury that Mr. Monchal “couldn’t be condemned. On September 17th 2010, the accused was acquitted. Prosecutor Guémas didn’t appeal the judgment.

On n/a, the family of Mr. Joseph Guerdner filed an application to the ECHR arguing that the investigation on the death of Mr. Guerdner was not effective, and that prosecutor Guémas didn’t attempt to secure a conviction of Mr. Monchal in violation with article 2 and 6 of the Convention. They added that the execution of Mr. Guerdner was unlawful in violation of article 2 of the Convention. On December 14th 2011, the application was communicated to the agent of the French Republic with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicants are represented by Me Regine Ciccolini (Aix en Provence).

On May 6th 2008, Greenpeace France challenged the legality of the executive order 2008-209 at the administrative supreme court (Conseil d’etat). The executive order was taken by the French prime minister after receiving secret legal advice from unknown staff of Conseil d’etat, secret report from ministry of ecology and opinion 2008-AV-0054 of French Authority of Nuclear Safety (ASN). On July 9th 2009*, the private company AREVA owned, funded and controlled by the French Republic, submitted a secret brief “amicus curiae“*. On July 10th 2009, an hearing was organized on the case (no 315980) during when the “public adviser” submitted a secret brief*. After the hearing,  the ministry of ecology submitted a secret brief*.

On July 28th 2009, Greenpeace France was informed that a groundless decision was taken not to rule on the case until further notice. On March 22nd 2010*, a secret hearing was organized where witnesses didn’t testify under oath (art.R623-5 of the code of administrative justice). On May 21st 2010*, a hearing was organized and a secret brief* was submitted by the “public adviser“. On June 30th 2010, unnamed administrative judges released a decision dismissing the legal challenge of Greenpeace.

On September 22nd 2010, Greenpeace France filed an application with the ECHR (see below) arguing that the groundless decision not to rule, the testifying of witnesses who didn’t take the oath, the secrecy of the hearing of March 22nd 2010, the lacking of the transcript of the secret hearing, the refusal to communicate to Greenpeace France the 2 secret briefs of the “public adviser” were a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention. On December 13th 2011, Judge Villiger (Liechtenstein), Judge Jungwiert (Czech Republic) and Judge Yudkivska (Ukraine) ruled the application inadmissible as manifestly ill-founded (art.35-3-a) on the ground that Greenpeace France was acting “to protect the rights of citizens to live in an healthy environment” rather than its own rights. Greenpeace France was represented by Me Alexandre Faro (Paris).

*the date of the hearings and the existence of the secret briefs was not revealed in the Conseil d’Etat decision of the June 30th 2010 but only in the ECHR application of Greenpeace France.

On December 17th 2008, the Portuguese-language newspaper Contacto owned by the media conglomerate Saint-Paul Luxembourg, published an article on children custody rights in Luxembourg. In the article, the citizens interviewed, named 2 teenagers in cases handled by Mr. Kapitene of the office of the general prosecutor (SCAS).

On January 5th 2009, Mr. Kapitene filed a criminal complain. On January 30th 2009, an investigative judge opened at the request of the prosecutor of Luxembourg, an investigation for “slander” (art.443 of the penal code) and for revealing the name of the 2 teenagers (art.38 Law August 10th 1992).

On March 30th 2009, the investigative judge Scheer ordered the police to search* the Contacto office (art. 65 of the code of criminal procedure) “to identify the offender” described as the “journalist of Contacto who wrote the article“. On May 7th 2009, 3 police officers searched the office of Contacto and seized documents and computer files on CD and USB flash drive. According to the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the police officers didn’t inform the Council of Press in violation of the directive of March 28th 2006 on article 7-a) of the Code of ethics.

On May 20th 2009, the tribunal rejected secretly the motion of Saint-Paul Luxembourg to suppress the search*. On October 27th 2009, the appeal court confirmed the secret ruling*.

On April 26th 2010, Saint-Paul Luxembourg filed an application with the ECHR on the ground that the police search of Contacto office was a violation of articles 8 and 10 of the Convention. On December 5th 2011, the application was communicated to the agent of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. The applicant is represented by Me Patrick Kinsch (Luxembourg).

* : On January 10th 2012, Ms. Catherine Fabeck of the office of the prosecutor general (CREDOC) informed us that the order of the investigative judge and the rulings of the tribunal and appeal court were all “secret” and couldn’t be communicated to ECHR News.

On January 23rd 2009, Ms. Kanagaratnam and her 3 minor children M. , G., A. claimed asylum at the passport control of the airport of Brussels (art.50ter law December 15th 1980). They were refused entry and ordered to be deported (art. 52/3 §2) because they claimed asylum without possessing a valid passport and visa (art. 2 §2). An order for their detention in the immigration center “127 bis” (Steenokkerzeel) for 2 months was taken (art. 74/5 §1 2o) because they claimed asylum without possessing a valid passport and visa.

The immigration detention center “127 bis” (Steenokkerzeel) was visited by the CPT (1997 visit report, 2005 visit report), by the Commissioner for Human Rights (2008 visit report CommDH(2009)14) and by the LIBE commission of the European Parliament (2007 visit report see below).

On March 17th 2009, the court CCE (Conseil de contentieux des étrangers) rejected their appeal of the denial of their asylum applications by the Commissioner general for refugees and stateless persons (CGRA) on February 23rd 2009. On March 20th 2009, the police attempted to deport them to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On March 20th 2009, Ms. Kanagaratnam and her 3 children filed an application with the ECHR on the ground that their deportation to Sri Lanka via DRC will be a violation of article 3 of the Convention. They added that their detention was a violation of article 3 and 5-1-f) of the Convention. The Court requested the suspension of the deportation order (Rules art.39). On the same day, an order of detention of the family for 2 months was taken on the basis that they refused to board the plane to DRC.

On March 23rd 2009, the family filed a 2nd asylum claim. Immediately, another order of detention was taken for 2 months (art. 74/5 §1 2o). During their whole detention, the family made 2 requests to be released (art. 71§2) which were both denied by the appeal court of Brussels. The 2 appeals to the supreme court were also rejected. On May 4th 2009, the family was released by administrative decision. On September 2nd 2009, the family was granted refugee status by administrative decision of the Commissioner general for refugees and stateless persons (CGRA).

On November 25th 2009, the application was communicated to the agent of the Kingdom of Belgium with questions to be answered within 16 weeks. On December 13th 2011, the 2nd section of the Court found a violation of articles 3 and 5-1 for the 3 children on the ground that the immigration center “127 bis” was not tailored for their detention (Judgment Muskhadzhiyeva v. Belgium (41442/07) §63 and §75). It also found that the detention of Ms. Kanagaratnam from March 23rd 2009 to May 4th 2009 was “arbitrary”  in violation of article 5-1 because of the length of her detention in a facility not tailored for families. The Court awarded the applicants €46,650 in moral damages and €4,000 in legal fees. The applicants were represented by Me Zouhaier Chihaoui (Brussels).

Mr. Tristan Wibault of the NGO Belgium Committee to Help Refugees (Comité Belge d’Aide aux Réfugiés) found the judgment to be a positive development of the case-law regarding the detention of asylum seekers.

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