Latvia loses human rights case, but won't have to pay much

Latvia was on December 7 ordered to pay 750 euros by the European Court of Human Rights to a man accused of bribery because a court case involving him had dragged on for nearly six years.

The case of Aigars Cuško versus Latvia was heard in Strasbourg and outlined how a corruption trial dragged on and on because of health issues involving defendants and the frequency of vacations taken by members of the legal profession.

The applicant complained that the length of the proceedings against him in Latvia had been unreasonable, having started in April 2003 and not concluded until January 2009, when he was sentenced to three years in prison.

The ECHR agreed, saying: "The Court observes that the criminal case was not complex and that it was brought before a court without excessive delay. The Court also finds that the applicant has not contributed significantly to the length of the proceedings...  The Court reiterates in this connection that Article 6 § 1 of the Convention imposes on the Contracting States the duty to organise their legal systems in such a way that their courts can meet each of the requirements of that provision, including the obligation to decide cases within a reasonable time."

It is therefore fifteen years from the start of legal action to the verdict in Strasbourg.

The full summary of the case can be read HERE.

Despite losing the case, the award made to the complainant was far smaller than the 150,000 euros in damages he had been seeking.

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