Friday 21 November 2008

Euthanasia Follow-Up in Strasbourg?

The question of interim measures is en vogue this week. A highly publicised case of euthanasia in Italy has led to an application in Strasbourg by concerned Italians. They also asked for interim measures, but those were refused by the Court on Wednesday. This is the Court's press release on the issue:

On 18 November 2008 the European Court of Human Rights received an application (no. 55185/08) lodged by the guardian of Mrs Ada Rossi, a person in a persistent vegetative state receiving artificial nutrition and hydration, and by VI.VE Onlus, Federazione Nazionale Associazioni Trauma Cranico, ARCO 92, Gli Amici di Luca, Genesis and Associazione Rinascita Vita Onlus, associations whose membership consists of relatives and friends of severely disabled persons and of doctors, psychologists, lawyers and experts in bioethics who assist such persons. On 19 November 2008 the Court received an application from Associazione Rinascita Vita Onlus (no. 55483/08).

The applicants complain principally, under Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, of the possible effects of the decision of the Milan Court of Appeal to authorise B.P., the guardian of E.E., who is severely disabled and has been in a persistent vegetative state for several years, to discontinue his daughter’s artificial nutrition and hydration.

The applicants requested the Court to apply Rule 39 of its Rules of Court in order to obtain a stay of execution of the decision in question.

On 19 November 2008 the President of the Chamber to which the case had been allocated decided to refuse the requests for interim measures made by the applicants. The applicants were informed of the decision and asked to indicate whether they wished to maintain their applications. Should they decide to do so, the Court will rule in due course on the admissibility and merits of the applications.
I will keep you updated on any follow-up decisions or a possible judgment.