Strona główna Prawo Europejski Trybunał Praw Człowieka Balsyte-Lideikiene przeciwko Litwie – głoszenie nienawiści wobec narodów nie należy do wolności opinii

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Helsińskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, dostępną na: www.hfhr.pl

Balsyte-Lideikiene przeciwko Litwie – głoszenie nienawiści wobec narodów nie należy do wolności opinii PDF Drukuj Email
The applicant, Danutė Balsytė-Lideikienė, is a Lithuanian national who was born in 1947 and lives in Vilnius (Lithuania). She formerly owned a publishing company.

In March 2001 the domestic courts found that the applicant had breached Article 21412 of the Code on Administrative Law Offences on account of her publishing and distributing the “Lithuanian calendar 2000” which, according to the conclusions of the experts, promoted ethnic hatred. She was issued with an administrative warning and the unsold copies of the calendar were confiscated. She complained that the confiscation of the calendar and the ban on its further distribution was in breach of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the Convention.

The European Court of Human Rights observed that the first-instance court had appointed experts to produce political science, bibliographical, psychological and historical reports with the aim of establishing whether “Lithuanian calendar 2000” promoted ethnic hatred, whether it contained anti-Semitic, anti-Polish, anti-Russian expressions, or assertions of the superiority of Lithuanians vis-à-vis other ethnic groups. The Court noted that when finding Mrs Balsytė-Lideikienė guilty, both national courts extensively quoted the experts’ conclusions, which had a key place in the proceedings against her. However, she was not given the opportunity to question the experts in order to subject their credibility to scrutiny or cast any doubt on their conclusions.

The Court considered that the administrative penalty and the confiscation of the publication had interfered with Mrs Balsytė-Lideikienė’s right to freedom of expression. The punishment was aimed at protecting the reputation and rights of the ethnic groups living in Lithuania and referred to in “Lithuanian calendar 2000”. The Court took into account the Lithuanian Government’s explanation as to the context of the case, namely that after the re-establishment of the independence of the Republic of Lithuania on 11 March 1990 the questions of territorial integrity and national minorities had been sensitive. The Court also noted that the publication had received negative reactions from some diplomatic representations and that under international law Lithuania had an obligation to prohibit any advocacy of national hatred and to take measures to protect persons who might be subject to such threats as a result of their ethnic identity.

The Court considered that the applicant had expressed aggressive nationalism and ethnocentrism and statements inciting hatred against the Poles and the Jews which, in the Court’s view, were capable of giving the Lithuanian authorities cause for serious concern.

Finally, the Court noted that even though the confiscation measure imposed on the applicant could be deemed relatively serious, Mrs Balsytė-Lideikienė had not had a fine imposed on her, but only a warning, which was the mildest administrative punishment available. Having regard to the foregoing, the Court concluded that the interference with the applicant’s right to freedom of expression could reasonably have been considered necessary in a democratic society for the protection of the reputation or rights of others. It therefore unanimously held that there had been no violation of Article 10.  


Wyrok ETPCz w sprawie Balsyte-Lideikiene przeciwko Litwie

 

 
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