MINELRES: ECHR: Silesian case/Poland

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Wed Jun 25 15:30:01 2003


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Council of Europe Press Release
Spokesperson and Press Division
Tel. +33 3 88 41 25 60
Fax. +33 3 88 41 34 11
E-mail: PressUnit@coe.int
For more informations: www.coe.int


EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
332
19.6.2003

Press release issued by the Registrar

FORTHCOMING HEARINGS


The European Court of Human Rights will be holding the following
hearings in July 2003

Wednesday 2 July 2003

Grand Chamber 2

9 a.m. Gorzelik and Others v. Poland (no. 44158/98) Hearing on
the merits

The applicants, who are all Polish nationals, are Silesians from Upper
Silesia. They are: Jerzy Gorzelik, born in 1971, who is a university
teacher living in Katowice (Poland), Rudolf Kolodziejczyk, born in 1940,
who is an economist living in Rybnik (Poland) and Erwin Sowa, born in
1944, who is a steelworker living in Katowice.

The case concerns an attempt by the applicants and 190 others to form an
association called the "Union of People of Silesian Nationality"
(Zwiazek Ludnosci Narodowosci Slaskiej). The Polish authorities refused
to register the association on the ground that both the intended name
and certain provisions of the union's memorandum of association, which
characterised Silesians as a "national minority", implied that their
real intention was to circumvent the provisions of the electoral law.
Also, had the members of the Union been recognised as a "national
minority", they would automatically have gained unqualified and legally
enforceable privileges. The appeals against that decision failed.

The applicants complain that the decision not to register their
association violated their right to freedom of association, guaranteed
by Article 11 of the Convention.

In its Chamber judgment of 20 December 2001, considering that the Polish
authorities had acted reasonably, in order to protect the country's
electoral system, the Court held unanimously that there had been no
violation of Article 11 (freedom of association). The applicants
requested that the case be referred to the Grand Chamber (Article 43 of
the Convention) and the panel of the Grand Chamber accepted the request
on 10 July 2002

***

Decisions, judgments and further information about the Court can be
found on its Internet site (http://www.echr.coe.int).

Registry of the European Court of Human Rights
F - 67075 Strasbourg Cedex
Contacts: Roderick Liddell (telephone: +00 33 (0)3 88 41 24 92)
Joanna Reynell (telephone: +00 33 (0)3 90 21 42 15)
Stéphanie Klein (telephone: +00 33 (0)3 88 41 21 54)
Fax: +00 33 (0)3 88 41 27 91

The European Court of Human Rights was set up in Strasbourg in 1959 to
deal with alleged violations of the 1950 European Convention on Human
Rights. On 1 November 1998 a full-time Court was established, replacing
the original two-tier system of a part-time Commission and Court.