1 November 2011

ECHR case of shared responsibility in procedural obligations

On 27 October 2011, the European Court of Human Rights, in the case of Stijkovic v France and Belgium, found that France had violated the rights to a fair trial of a Serb national who had been interrogated, at France’s demand, in Belgium, in relation to events that had taken place in France. Belgium did not provide for the presence of a lawyer. While the Court recognises that Belgium was primarily responsible for the violation of the Convention by not allowing for a lawyer in its legislation and even recognizing that France was bound, under international law, to respect the Belgium procedure when asking for an interrogation in that country, it still found that France should have taken measure to “cure” the violation in Belgium by not taking into account the declarations he had made in the absence of his lawyers. The case was declared inadmissible against Belgium because the request before the Court in relation to that country was filed more than 6 months after the violation. The decision (in French) is available here.

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