Thursday, February 23, 2017

Slow justice in Strasbourg

One of the most regrettable things than can befall a system of justice is delay. It happens every, to a greater of lesser degree. In this regard, today's decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Benavant Díaz v. Spain, Application No. 46479/10, is noteworthy. The case involves a challenge to disciplinary punishment -- six days' detention for a brief AWOL -- imposed by a commander on a subordinate in Bosnia-Herzegovina on February 22, 2006. That was slightly over 11 years ago. The complainant's attorneys made a clever, rather technical argument about whether Spain had in effect improperly broadened the scope of its military-justice reservations to Articles 5 and 6 of the Convention. The Court seems to have been on solid ground in rejecting that argument. What is disturbing, however, is that it took the Court so long to decide a case that had been filed with it on July 23, 2010, over six years ago.

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