Italy condemned by ECHR

From the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

On January 29, 2012, the European Court of Human Rights ruled against the Italian Republic for not respecting Sergio Lombardo’s rights as a father.

This man’s story is classic for any man living in this misandric culture with its feminized family courts. When he divorced his ex-wife, the court ruled in her favor regarding custody of their daughter. She then then denied him access to the child for 12 years.

Furthermore, when Mr. Lombardo sought help from the justice system, the system that took his daughter away laughed in his face and refused to enforce the order that clearly gave him constant access to his child.

However, Mr. Lombardo refused to surrender, and after the court of Rome (the highest instance where he could have appealed in Italy) issued its final verdict, he sued the Italian State demanding that his rights as a father be respected in accordance with the European Convention of Human Rights.

After 12 years of legal battles in the heavy and slow judiciary system of ECHR, he eventually won[1].

The text of the court’s ruling reads in article 80, as follows[2]:

As the Court has repeatedly stated, Article 8 is essential to protect the individual against arbitrary interference by the public authorities and it does not merely compel the State to abstain from such interference. This primarily negative undertaking, there may be positive obligations inherent in an effective respect for private or family life. They may involve the adoption of measures to respect for family life into the relationships between individuals, including the establishment of an adequate and effective arsenal to ensure the legitimate rights of the persons concerned and compliance decisions judicial or appropriate specific measures[…]. This arsenal should allow the State to adopt measures to meet the parent and child, including in cases of conflict between the two parents (see, mutatis mutandis, Ignaccolo-Zenide c. Romania[…]). It also recalls that the positive obligations are not limited to ensuring that the child can reach his parent or have contact with him, but they also include all the preparatory measures to achieve this (see[…]Amanalachioai c. Romania[…]).

Although this seemed to have been a simple judgement, considering that there are legal precedents, it still took the Court 12 years to make up its mind. However, the more interesting part about this sentence are the consequences.

The court’s document reads:

FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT UNANIMOUSLY
1. Declares the application admissible;
2. Holds that there has been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention;
3. Rules:
a) that the State is to pay the applicant, within three months from the date on which the judgment becomes final in accordance with Article 44 § 2 of the Convention, the following amounts:
i. EUR 15 000 ([…] roughly 20,500$), plus any tax that may be chargeable to tax for non-pecuniary damage
ii. 10 000 (roughly 13,700$), plus any tax that may be chargeable to tax by the applicant for costs and expenses;
b) that from the expiry of the said period until payment, these amounts shall be payable on a simple interest at a rate equal to the marginal lending rate of the European Central Bank during the default period, plus three percentage points;
4. Rejects the claim for just satisfaction for the remainder.

One must also know that the mother has also been recently criminally convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for a series of abuses that she committed on the child. But she will not actually spend a day in a prison cell because Italian law, inspired by the Swedish law, doesn’t send criminal offenders to jail for first-timers sentenced to prison terms smaller than 3 years of imprisonment. To be fair, this applies to everyone, not only women. But this still doesn’t make it better, either for the child that has been abused or the father who has spent a fortune to seek justice.

Does this sentence really matter?

The short version of the answer is a resounding NO.

There used to be a time when the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights mattered. The case of Amanalachioai versus Romania[3] lead to the change of the Romanian Family Law. The old law used to say that the “State protects the interests of the mother and the child”[4] and the state was compelled to drop that term.

That was in 2009. In 2013, this sentence no longer has any value, at least with regard to other Italian fathers who might be facing the same problem.

An aspect that is easy to forget is the fact that the European Court of Human Rights is not a body of the European Union, but it’s a body of the Council of Europe(CoE). The same Council of Europe who drafted the infamous Istanbul Convention. Moreover, Italy, alongside with Turkey, is a country where the Istanbul Convention shall become the law this year.

Under these conditions, this might be the last Italian father who gets to see justice being served during his lifetime. When the new provisions of the Istanbul Convention are enforced, it will be perfectly legal to commit blatant acts of discrimination against men. And it would be a great act of naïveté to believe that the ECHR (a body of the CoE) would rule against a practice based on the Istanbul Convention (a legislation of the CoE).

One might hope though that this may be a step forward, since now the judges have decided unanimously. For instance, in the case Amanalachioai v. Romania, the judges decided with a majority of 6 to 1. Judge Elisabet Kristina Fura-Sandström disagreed that the mother and her parents did anything wrong by stealing the child from the full-custodian father. With the risk of sounding prejudiced, is it any surprise that a female Swedish judge disagreed with a father wanting his child back from his ex?

So, even though this is a moral victory for Mr. Lombardi, at the end of the day nothing will change for the fathers in Italy. Not even for Mr. Lombardi. Fifteen thousand euros won’t bring him back the 12 years with his daughter that he missed and, the worst part is that the ultimate victim from this entire ordeal is the child.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nBHKLigrPU – News report about the sentence (in Italian)

[2] http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/webservices/content/docx/001-116125?TID=mesutlvqfa – Full text of the sentence (in French)

[3] http://www.avocatnet.ro/content/articles/id_17149/Hotararea-CEDO-in-Cauza-Amanalachioai-impotriva-Romaniei.html#axzz2JgttnmDT – Full text of the sentence in the case Anamalachioai v. Romania (in Romanian)

[4] http://www.avocati.bihor.ro/upload/articol/139/codul%20familiei.pdf – The old Romanian Family Law (in Romanian)

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