Chamber of European Court of Human Rights

Recognising that litigation is an important tool for advocacy, in particular that strategic litigation is a powerful means to address gaps in the implementation of rights via specific laws, policies or practices, and that litigation serves to raise awareness by bringing issues to the fore in public discourse, IDA has supported litigation efforts of DPOs and to engage with judicial and quasi-judicial mechanisms to ensure the establishment of important legal precedents upholding disability rights.

IDA monitors the views adopted by the CRPD Committee on communications and produces case summaries of those decisions - click here for more information.

In addition, IDA has supported DPOs to lodge communications to the CRPD Committee under the Optional Protocol and has compiled a factsheet on this - click here.

With its members, IDA has activly submitted third party interventions,  also known as amicus curiae briefs, to the European Court of Human Rights, and will also look to other regional human rights mechanisms for similar opportunities. See below for details.

We welcome information on ongoing cases and decisions at the national level concerning disability rights (both positive and negative), and with respect to potential cases before domestic, regional or international judicial human rights mechanisms.

Colombian Constitutional Court

In December 2015, IDA together with RIADIS, submitted a joint amicus curiae brief to the Colombian Constitutional court which was considering the legality of a provision which permits the non-consensual sterilisation of women with disabilities.  IDA & RIADIS provided information on the standards set by the CRPD Committee as well as other treaty bodies, and international and regional human rights and health instruments.

European Court of Human Rights

Amicus in STOIAN v. Romania
The International Disability Alliance, the European Disability Forum, and the Consiliul National al Dizabilitatii din Romania (CNDR) submitted a 3rd party intervention  the case "Stoian v. Romania" (Application   No.   289/14), in October 2017, to be decided by the European Court of Human Rights. The case concerns notably the right to inclusive education of a person with physical disability (first applicant), who has faced and continues to face many barriers throughout his schooling, including lack of provision of support and negative attitudes by different school authorities. IDA, EDF and CNDR`s third party intervention focuses on the right to education, by providing the latest international standards, notably the CRPD`s Committee General Comment No. 4 (2016) on the right to inclusive education. It also provides information to the Court some good practices that have been taking place in Europe, including legislation, policies and court decisions upholding and enforcing the right to inclusive education.

Semikhvostov v Russia
IDA submitted joint written comments to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Semikhvostov v Russia, brought by a wheelchair user prisoner who was subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment due to conditions in prison and the denial of reasonable accommodation, claiming violations of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Together with the European Disability Forum, European Network of (ex-)Users and Survivors of Psychiatry and the World Network of Users and Survivors of Psychiatry, IDA submitted joint written comments to the European Court of Human Rights in two cases in March 2013.

Stankov v Bulgaria
Written comments concerned the case of Stankov v Bulgaria brought by a man with psychosocial disabilities deprived of his legal capacity, forcibly placed in successive social care institutions and subjected to ill-treatment on account of the poor living conditions and physical violence. The rights invoked are freedom from torture & ill treatment, right to liberty, access to justice, right to private life, and right to an effective remedy. 

Koroviny v Russia
Written comments concerned the case of Koroviny v Russia brought by a man who was arrested for a crime and detained for compulsory psychiatric treatment, the order for which was renewed on several occasions by a court following the finding that the applicant could not be held criminally responsible as it was deemed he was “mentally incapacitated”. Issues raised include unlawfulness of his detention, ill-treatment including by being subjected to restraints, unfair trial, and violation of his right to private life covering censorship of his correspondence.  The joint written comments highlight the standards of the CRPD as they relate to right to liberty and security of person, the right to live in the community, freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, equal recognition before the law, and access to justice.

DG v Poland
A case in which IDA and EDF intervened in July 2012, DG v Poland (Application no 45705/07), concerning a wheel chair user prisoner who, in the course of carrying out his sentence, was subjected to ill-treatment due to the lack of provision of reasonable accommodation in prison, the European Court of Human Rights handed down its judgment on 12 February 2013.  Echoing the joint third party intervention by IDA, EDF and the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, the Court found that keeping the applicant detained in conditions which were not suitable for persons with physical disabilities and "not making sufficient efforts to reasonably accommodate his special needs raises a serious issue under the Convention" (emphasis added), and in these particular circumstances reaches the threshold of severity required under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and constitutes degrading and inhuman treatment contrary to that provision. It is the first time that the Court made use of the term "reasonable accommodation" in the substantive part of its judgment (outside of the context of religious practices).  Previously, the term came up when citing the CRPD or in references made by third party intervenors, or once when the Court stated that the authorities did not make any truly "reasonable steps" and likened it to the notion of "reasonable accommodation" of the CRPD (ZH v Hungary, Application no 28973/11, 2012, para 43). 

Guberina v Croatia
On 20 December 2013, together with EDF and the Croatian Union of Associations of Persons with Disabilities, IDA submitted joint written comments to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Guberina v Croatia (Application no 23682/13).  This case concerns a family with a child with multiple disabilities that bought a house due to the inaccessibility of their former fiat (no lift) and the increasing difficulty in transporting their growing child. The Applicant claimed violations of Article 1 of Protocol no 1 (right to property) as well as Article 1 of Protocol no 12 (general non-discrimination clause) of the European Convention on Human Rights. Microsoft Office document iconGuberina v Croatia joint written comments

HP v Denmark
On 20 January 2014, together with EDF, IDA submitted joint written comments to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of HP v Denmark (Application no 55607/09). This case concerns a victim of torture from Iran who was granted refugee status in Denmark where he has been living for over twenty years.  Due to the effects of being tortured, he has memory loss and difficulties in communicating and applied for an exemption regarding language requirements to obtain Danish nationality.  The applicant complains that his continued statelessness breaches his right to private life and constitutes disability-based discrimination in violation of Articles 8 and 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Microsoft Office document iconHP v Denmark joint written comments

Kocherov and Sergeyeva v Russia
On 13 June 2014, together with the European Disability Forum, Inclusion Europe and Inclusion International, IDA submitted written comments to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Kocherov and Sergeyeva v Russia (Application no 16899/13).  The complaint is brought by a man and his daughter, Mr Kocherov and Ms Sergeyeva respectively, and puts forward violations of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for their family life) due to the decision to restrict Mr Kocherov’s parental rights making it impossible for them to live together at home as a family.  Mr Kocherov also complains under Article 14 of the Convention that the restriction of his parental rights was discriminatory on the grounds of his intellectual disability.

Gherghina v Romania
Grand Chamber of the Court in the case of Gherghina v Romania (Application no 42219/07). The complaint concerns the exclusion from university by a student who is a wheelchair user due to inaccessibility of the facilities and failure to provide reasonable accommodation. He raises violations of Article 8 (right to private life), Article 2 of Protocol 1 (right to education) and Article 14 (right to non-discrimination)