Reporters Without Borders lodges ECHR application against Germany

Published: 1 December 2017 Author: Stefan Talmon

On 30 November 2017, Reporters Without Borders Germany (RSF) lodged a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights over the mass surveillance practices of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND. RSF complained that the BND had been spying on its email traffic with foreign partners, journalists and other persons as part of the agency’s signals intelligence surveillance.

The Federal Administrative Court had rejected RSF’s lawsuit against the BND’s mass surveillance in a decision rendered on 14 December 2016. The Federal Constitutional Court refused to admit RSF’s constitutional complaint against this decision on 26 April 2017 on the grounds that RSF had failed to adequately demonstrate that the organisation was directly affected by the BND’s surveillance activities. The Constitutional Court’s decision was transmitted to RSF by letter, dated 30 May 2017, which was received on 31 May 2017. By lodging the application on 30 November 2017, RSF thus stayed within the six month time limit for making such an application (see Article 35, paragraph 1, ECHR).

RSF claimed a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy), Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The text of the application (in German) may be found here.

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  • Stefan Talmon

    Stefan Talmon is Professor of Public Law, Public International Law and European Union Law, and Director at the Institute of Public International Law at the University of Bonn. He is also a Supernumerary Fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford, and practices as a Barrister from Twenty Essex, London. He is the editor of GPIL.

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