By HRC Correspondent, 27 September 2011
In terms of the human rights of companies, September has been a big month at the European Court of Human Rights, mainly because of the highly anticipated Yukos Oil Company judgement, but the month also saw at least two other cases involving the human rights of companies.
The Neftyanaya Kompaniya Yukos v Russia case saw the court rule that the Russian state had violated the company's Convention right to a fair trial, Article 6, and the right to protection of property, contained in Article 1 of Protocol 1. A blog post dedicated specifically the the Yukos case can be found below.
Other cases in September saw the Court consider a complaint brought by a Moldovan educational firm alleging violations by the Moldovan authorities of Article 6(1) and Article 1 of Protocol 1, and a Italian medical diagnostics company alleging a violation by Italy of Article 6.
In the Moldovan case, Dragostea Copiilor Petrovschi-Nagornii, which runs a primary school in the Moldovan capital of Chişinău, had been ordered by the Moldovan authorities back in 2001 to pay $78,400 to an individual named in the court transcript as Mr M.
When the money wasn't paid, in 2005 Mr M made a formal request for it, but in a court decision in 2007 his request was dismissed because it fell outside a three-year time bar on enforcement. Following further proceedings, Moldova's Supreme court eventually ruled in favour of Mr M and ordered that the money to be paid.
The company argued it's right to a fair trial had been violated by the quashing of the 2007 judgement, and further that the Supreme Court judgement violated the company’s right to peaceful enjoyment of its property. Since under the Convention “property” is construed as possessions, in this case, it meant the money.
In the case of the Florence-based Menarini Diagnostics, the company had in 2001 come under investigation by the Italian competition watchdog and was fined €6m ($8m) for anti-competitive practices on the diabetes diagnosis test market. The company made several appeals but all were rejected, leading it to make a complaint at the European Court that its right to a fair trial had been violated by being denied access to a court or to a judicial review of the regulators' decision.
On 27 September 2011, the Court ruled that there was no violation of Article 6 (1) of the Convention (right to a fair trial).