Judges say the response of Greek authorities to a criminal complaint by a Nigerian sex-trafficking victim breached human rights law.
In today’s Chamber judgment in the case of L.E. v. Greece (application no. 71545/12) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:
a violation of Article 4 (prohibition of slavery and forced labour) of the European Convention on Human Rights;
a violation of Article 6 § 1 (right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time) of the Convention; and
a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy).
Officially recognised as a victim of human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, the applicant had nonetheless been required to wait more than nine months after informing the authorities of her situation before the justice system granted her that status.
The court found that the effectiveness of the preliminary inquiry and subsequent investigation of the case had been compromised by a number of shortcomings. With regard to the administrative and judicial proceedings, the Court also noted multiple delays and failings with regard to the Greek state’s procedural obligations.
Lastly, the court considered that the length of the proceedings in question had been excessive for one level of jurisdiction and did not meet the “reasonable time” requirement.
Just satisfaction (Article 41)
The court held that Greece was to pay L.E. 12 000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 3,000 in respect of costs and expenses.