At an unspecified date in 1999, the prosecutor of the district of Zürich interrogated several agents of the embassy of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPR Korea) in Zürich. Mr. Meier and his lawyer were present during the questionings.
On February 3rd 2004, the applicant was charged with defrauding the embassy of DPR Korea. On October 7th 2004, he was condemned by the tribunal of Zürich to 27 months in jail. His conviction was based on the statements of the staff of the embassy to the prosecutor. These prosecution witnesses were absent at the hearing of the tribunal of Zürich.
On November 25th 2005, the superior court confirmed the conviction and the sentence. The prosecution witnesses were also absent at the hearing of the superior court. On January 30th 2007, the supreme court of the district of Zürich dismissed his appeal. On September 3rd 2007, his appeal (6B 51/2007) was rejected by the Swiss supreme court (Federal Tribunal) .
On February 28th 2008, he filed an application to the European Court of Human Rights arguing that to admit testimonies of Korean embassy staff is a violation of article 6-1 of the Convention. He argued that the testimonies of the agents, who enjoy diplomatic immunity (art.31-1 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations) were inadmissible because these agents couldn’t be prosecuted for false testimony (art.307 of the penal code).
On June 18th 2013, the majority of the 2nd section of the Court ruled that his application was inadmissible on the ground that “the Court considers it is not necessary to answer the question of the admissibility of the testimonies of diplomatic agents” (54) absent at both hearings. Surprisingly, the section added that the government of DPR Korea may waive the immunity of its diplomatic agents to be prosecuted for false testimony in Switzerland, “if needed for a fair trial” (61).
The applicant was represented by Me Hugo Camenzind (Switzerland) who didn’t answer our request for comments.