Moldova: Whistle-blower civil servant wins again in rights violation complaint

An ex-government press officer turned whistle-blower, has had his human rights complaint against Moldova backed by Strasbourg judges for a second time.

In today’s Chamber judgment1 in the case of Guja v. the Republic of Moldova (no. 2) (application no. 1085/10) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

a violation of Article 10 (right to freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

As just satisfaction (Article 41), the court held unanimously that Moldova was to pay the applicant 10,000 euros (EUR) in respect of pecuniary and non-pecuniary damage, and 1,500 euros (EUR) for costs and expenses incurred before the court.

The case concerned the applicant Iacob Guja’s allegation of a continuing violation of his right to freedom of expression after an incident of whistle-blowing, despite a previous Grand Chamber judgment in his favour (Guja v. Moldova).

He complained that the authorities had only simulated performance of that judgment by reinstating him in his job, but had then swiftly engineered his dismissal again.

The court found that, despite purporting to abide by its earlier judgment, the Government of Moldova had never intended truly to reinstate the applicant. In reality, his second dismissal had been a continued retributory measure in response to his whistle-blowing of 2003.

Furthermore, the domestic courts had contributed to the violation of the applicant’s rights by refusing to examine his allegations and evidence, and by ignoring the principles set out in the earlier Guja case.
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