Landmark Domestic Violence Judgment by European Court of Human Rights

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In a landmark decision, the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously found that a state violated the human rights of the applicant and her mother in failing to protect them against domestic violence. In Opuz v Turkey, the applicant alleged that the state bore responsibility under the European Convention on Human Rights for its failure to take action against her violent husband who repeatedly attacked her and killed her mother.  

The European Court had previously found state responsibility in a domestic violence case in Bevacqua v. Bulgaria (2008), grounding its decision in article 8 (right to respect for family life) of the European Convention. In Opuz v Turkey, however, the Court found state responsibility for violations of the right to life (art. 2), the prohibition of torture (art. 3), and — significantly — the right to non-discrimination on the basis of sex (art. 14).

Regarding the latter, Court found that “the violence suffered by the applicant and her mother may be regarded as gender-based violence which is a form of discrimination against women.”     I have posted more  about the case, as well as   links to the Court’s judgment and to a video of the Court’s hearing,  over on IntLawGrrls,  here.

- Stephanie Farrior

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