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Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights

The Court, based in Strasbourg, was set up as a result of the European Convention on Human Rights, created in 1950. This set out a catalogue of civil and political rights and freedoms. It allows people to lodge complaints against States which have signed up to the Convention for alleged violations of those rights. Although founded in 1950, the Court did not actually come into existence until 1959. It gained its present form as a single European Court of Human Rights when Protocol No. 11 to the ECHR took effect in 1998.

The Court is currently made up of 47 judges, one in principle for every State signed up to the Convention. They are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and serve for six years. Judges sit on the Court as individuals and do not represent their country.  Website:
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Jakupovic v. Austria

This judgment will become final in the circumstances set out in Article 44 subject to editorial revision. The applicant is a national of Bosnia Herzegovina who went to Austria in 1991 to join his mother who was already living and working there. Following several criminal offences (burglary, possession of arms) he was issued with a 10 year residence prohibition in 1995. This decision was confirmed in successive appeals and the applicant was deported to Bosnia Herzegovina in 1997. Before the Court, the applicant complained that the residence prohibition constituted an interference with his right to family life and consequently a violation of Art. 8 § 1 of the ECHR. The Court indicated that its task in such cases was to determine whether a fair balance was struck between the States' interests (prevention of crime) and the applicant's rights. In this case, the Court noted that the applicant was 16 when he was expelled. Moreover, Bosnia had just been through a conflict and the applicant's father has been reported missing since the end of the conflict. There was no evidence that he still had relatives living there. Turning to the criminal offences, the Court considered that while the applicant was convicted twice for burglary, he was only given conditional sentences of imprisonment. Moreover, there were no indications that he made use of the arms for which he received a prohibition of possession. Based on all these elements, the Court decided the Austrian authorities did not strike a fair balance between the interests at stake. Consequently there was a violation of Art. 8 of the ECHR.

6 May 2003 | Judicial Body: Council of Europe: European Court of Human Rights | Document type: Case Law | Topic(s): Residence permits / Residency | Countries: Austria - Bosnia and Herzegovina

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