Friday, 20 September 2013

European Court of Human Rights

European Court of Human Rights
Press Release issued by the Registrar of the Court

ECHR 266 (2013)

An application from the Church of Scientology complaining about
public comments by the Belgian authorities on an investigation
concerning it has been rejected

In its decision in the case of Asbl Eglise de Scientologie v. Belgium (application no. 43075/08) the
European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible. The
decision is final.

The case concerns a complaint by the Church of Scientology, a non-profit association, that
statements to the media by the Belgian authorities about an investigation concerning it constituted
a violation of its right to have a fair hearing and to be presumed innocent.

The Court reiterated that it had to ascertain whether proceedings were fair in their entirety. As there
had not yet been any final judgment by the Belgian courts on the relevant “charge”, the part of the
application concerning an alleged violation of the right to a fair hearing was premature and
therefore had to be dismissed. In addition, given that the sole evidence submitted by the applicant
association consisted of press articles, the Court took the view that the content of the remarks
allegedly made by the authorities could not be attributed to them with certainty. It had not been
shown that by informing the public about the inquiries in progress the authorities had breached the
duty of discretion required of them by the principle of the presumption of innocence.

Link to a pdf file containing the full ECHR press release:

The complaint was lodged with the ECHR on August 5, 2008 and the decision is dated August 27, 2013. The decision is only available in French. 

Thank you mnql1

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