3 Feb, 15 | by Iain Brassington
There’s a part of me that recognises this story as having been in the news before – but I don’t think I’ve written on it, so here we go. It’s from the Telegraph, under the headline “Son Challenges Belgian Law after Mother’s ‘Mercy Killing'” – which is a reasonably pithy summation of what’s at issue. A man, Tom Mortier, is attempting to bring a case before the European Court of Human Rights that would have Belgian laws on euthanasia scrutinised and – he hopes – declared contrary to the ECHR:
A Belgian man is going to the European Court of Human Rights after his depressed mother was killed by lethal injection under the country’s liberal euthanasia laws. […]
Mr Mortier is trying to take his mother’s case to the Strasbourg court under the “right to life” legislation in the European Convention of Human Rights. He hopes, at the very least, to trigger some debate in his country, and secure greater oversight in the way the existing rules are applied.
OK – so it’s not clear whether he’s actually got the Court to agree to hear his case (which is what “going to the ECtHR” suggests in ordinary usage), or whether he’s still attempting to get it to agree to hear it. If it’s the latter, then he might be going to the ECtHR in the sense of being physically present – but that’s not going to achieve much. The Telegraph isn’t clear on this. Oh, well. But is there anything of substance to his case? It might have substance and still fail, of course – it’s perfectly possible for a court to say that they can see a person’s point, but that it’s not sufficiently powerful; but if it has no substance, then it ought to fail.
Based on the Telegraph‘s report, it seems that there really isn’t much substance to it. This is not to say that there’s none – but there’s not much. And, as we’ll see, it’s a bit strange in some ways. more…