The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) "took note" this Thursday of the unreasonable delay, recognized by France, of the examination of a legal case linked to the Church of Scientology, initiated for 23 years but still not judged.

The French government, indicate the European judges in their decision, "recognizes" that the investigation of this case "disregarded the provisions" of the European Convention on Human Rights on the reasonable length of criminal proceedings.

The government thus undertook to pay 39,500 euros to the four applicants who had seized the ECHR, compensation “for moral damage and costs and expenses” deemed “adequate” by the court which thus closed this part of the file.

The investigation conducted by French justice targeted the Aubert Institute, a former private school in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne) accused of having applied the precepts of the Church of Scientology without the knowledge of parents of students.

A file opened since 1998

"It is staggering to note that it was necessary to go as far as the European Court to have the evidence recognized" of this unreasonable delay, was indignant Me Olivier Morice, who had seized the ECHR on behalf of former students of the Institute and their parents.

"The file, opened in 1998, is still not heard," he said.

For the lawyer, the decision of the ECHR signs "the recognition by the French State of the violation of the reasonable time".

Instructed in the Créteil court since the end of the 1990s, the case ended in 2012 with the referral to a court of three people then, seven years later, two others and a Scientology association.

But since then, the date of their trial has still not been set.

Questioned before the ECHR rendered its decision, the Créteil court had estimated that the hearing time was in “the current standard for this type of case”, also invoking the Covid-19 pandemic “which considerably lengthened the deadlines ".

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  • Vincennes

  • Creteil

  • Paris

  • Ile-de-France

  • Court

  • Justice

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