European Court of Human Rights - case of Galstyan v. Armenia (2007) (excerpts)

European Court of Human Rights - case of Galstyan v. Armenia (2007) (excerpts)

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120. The Court recalls that, where an offence is found to be of a criminal character attracting the full guarantees of Article 6 of the Convention, it consequently attracts also those of Article 2 of Protocol No. 7 (see Gurepka, cited above, § 55). In the present case, Article 6 of the Convention was found to be applicable to the proceedings in question (see paragraph 60 above). Consequently, Article 2 of Protocol No. 7 is similarly applicable in this case.

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124. The Court first notes that the applicant was convicted under the CAO, which prescribes penalties for offences that do not fall within the criminal sphere in the domestic law. This may raise a question as to whether or not the offence of which the applicant was convicted was of a minor character within the meaning of Article 2 § 2 of Protocol No. 7 and the exception contained in that provision should apply. The Court recalls that the Commission has previously found an offence, such as an “offence against the order in court”, for which a maximum penalty of 10,000 Austrian shillings or, if indispensable for maintaining the order, imprisonment for a period not exceeding eight days was prescribed by the Austrian Code of Criminal Procedure, to be of a “minor character” (see Putz v. Austria, no. 18892/91, Commission decision of 3 December 1993, DR 76-A, p. 51). In the present case, the applicant was sentenced to three days of detention. However, Article 172 of the CAO, under which this sentence was imposed, prescribed up to 15 days of detention as a maximum penalty. The Court considers that a penalty of 15 days of imprisonment is sufficiently severe not to be regarded as being of a “minor character” within the meaning of Article 2 § 2 of Protocol No. 7.