European Court of Human Rights rejects complaint by lesbian human rights group in Croatia
One of the applicants was a feminist non-governmental organization that promotes the human rights of lesbians.
The facts relating to Lezbijska grupa Kontra
Lezbijska grupa Kontra lodged a class action against a religion teacher of an elementary school because she had allegedly told the children during class that homosexuality was “an illness”.
On 6 April 2016, the Supreme Court declared Lezbijska grupa Kontra's appeal on points of law inadmissible for the failure to meet the relevant statutory requirements for lodging an “extraordinary” appeal on points of law.
Section 23 of the Prevention of Discrimination Act provides that an appeal on points of law with the Supreme Court shall be allowed in all cases concerning allegations of discrimination.
Complaints to the CourtLezbijska grupa Kontra complained, under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention, about the unjustified restriction of their right of access to the Supreme Court, maintaining that their appeals on points of law should have been treated as “ordinary” and therefore not declared inadmissible.
The Court's decision
The Court analysed existing Croatian law and the practice of the Supreme Court, as well as noting that the applicants were represented by qualified attorneys, and concluded that any restriction of the applicants’ access to the Supreme Court had been foreseeable.
The Court also noted that the situation complained of no longer obtains, because of subsequent developments in legislation and Supreme Court practice.
On this basis, the Court declared the complaint under Article 6 § 1 of the Convention manifestly ill-founded and rejected it in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3(a) and 4 of the Convention.
In respect of the complaint under Article 6 § 1 taken alone and in conjunction with Article 14 of the Convention the Court stated that it did not meet the admissibility criteria set out in Articles 34 and 35 of the Convention or disclose any appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Convention or the Protocols. As such, the Court rejected this part of the application in accordance with Article 35 § 4 of the Convention.