Yleinen pitkäkestoinen kokoontumiskielto loukkasi EIS 11 artiklaa

15.3.2022 | Oikeusuutiset

Markku Fredman


General anti-COVID measures prohibiting public events for a lengthy period were in breach of the Convention

In the case of Communaute genevoise d’action syndicale (CGAS) v. Switzerland (application no. 21881/20) the applicant association complained of being deprived of the right to organise and participate in public events following the adoption of government measures to tackle COVID-19.

In today’s Chamber judgment the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority (4 votes to 3), that there had been a violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Court, while by no means disregarding the threat posed by COVID-19 to society and to public health, nevertheless held, in the light of the importance of freedom of peaceful assembly in a democratic society, and in particular of the topics and values promoted by the applicant association under its constitution, the blanket nature and significant length of the ban on public events falling within the association’s sphere of activities, and the nature and severity of the possible penalties, that the interference with the enjoyment of the rights protected by Article 11 had not been proportionate to the aims pursued. The Court further observed that the domestic courts had not conducted an effective review of the measures at issue during the relevant period. The respondent State had thus overstepped the margin of appreciation afforded to it in the present case. Consequently, the interference had not been necessary in a democratic society within the meaning of Article 11 of the Convention.

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