The European Court on Domestic Violence

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Today the European Court of Human Rights delivered an important judgment dealing with domestic violence in Turkey. The case is Opuz v. Turkey, Application no. 33401/02, 9 June 2009. The Court found violations of Articles 2 and 3 ECHR, because Turkey failed to fulfill its due diligence obligations to do all that it could have reasonably done to prevent the abuse of the applicant by her ex-husband, who also eventually murdered the applicant’s mother, despite being aware of his violent behavior. Bolder still, the Court found a violation of the prohibition of discrimination in Article 14 ECHR, as it established that domestic violence in Turkey was gender-based, and the Turkish authorities failed to suppress an atmosphere conducive of such violence, even if they had no intent to discriminate themselves. The Court awarded the applicant 30.000 euros in damages, a very significant sum in Strasbourg terms, which will hopefully serve as an incentive to Turkey and other states in Europe with similar systemic problems with domestic violence to work on improving their record.

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Amaury A. Reyes says

June 13, 2009

I agree with you that this is a very important decision. Indeed i found very interesting how the court dealt with the application taking into account the international pratice among other Human Rights Tribunals, specially the Inter-american Court of Human Rights pratice and the Belem do Pará Convention which is one of the most fundamental norms of the inter-american human rights system. But, i found very strange that the Court didnt take into account the Penal Castro Castro Judgment from the Interamerican Court, that maybe the factual basis are not precisly the same but the judgment has a great approach on women physical integrity must be protected by the States and could help the European Court to develop a strongest doctrine on the matter for future cases dealing with this issue. But this is just a though.

However, i believe this a very important decision and as you well wrote, i hope this would serve as an incentive no only to Europe, also to other countries as well that have the same problem regarding domestic violence.