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Germany: Court ruling in Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg media intrusion complaint

Press photos of the family homes of former Germany defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, did not breach European human rights law, judges ruled today.

They accepted that the photos did strike fair balance between right to respect for private life and freedom of expression.

In its decision in the case of Zu Guttenberg v. Germany (application no. 14047/16) the European Court of Human Rights has unanimously declared the application inadmissible.

The decision is final.

The case concerned the publication in the German press of photos of residences in Germany and in the USA belonging to Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and his family.

Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg was, among other capacities, Federal Minister for the Economy and Technology and Federal Defence Minister.

In 2011, following a case of plagiarism, he resigned from his office and gave up his seat in parliament. In the summer of 2011 he moved with his family to the USA.

The court found that the Cologne Court of Appeal had struck a fair balance between the applicant’s right to respect for his private life and the freedom of expression of the magazine Bunte, which had published the photos. In view of the margin of appreciation afforded to Contracting States in such matters, the court saw no reason to substitute its own opinion for that of the German courts.

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