Why The European Court Of Human Rights Refuses To Hear The German Home School Cases

            Courts are hard to figure out.  That is true in America; it is even truer in Europe.  One of the problems with the European Court system—especially the international courts—is that they are very politically oriented.  There are a number of reasons for this sensitivity to the politics of the European Union and the Council of Europe.  These reasons lay the foundation for why the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) refuses to hear a variety of cases; the most conspicuous of these cases is the German Home School cases.

 

            There have been literally dozens of home school cases brought to the attention of the ECHR.  The closest the court has come to looking at the cases is the Konrad case where the court issued a couple of pages praising the German courts and their thorough look at the case before the ECHR refused to hear the case.  Typically the court issues a couple of sentences declaring that they do not find an issue worthy of their time.

 

            Upon this pallet we look at the reasons for this consistent refusal to enter into an area of the law that is extremely straightforward.  Parents have the right to control the education of their children guaranteed by the German Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.  Furthermore, both instruments guarantee the right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

 

            I have talked with people throughout Europe and Germany seeking answers to the questions of why the Germans fear home schooling so much and why the courts will not provide a fair hearing on the issue.

 

            Here is what I have learned as to the ECHR. 

 

            In the fall of 2000 I was at a reception in Strasbourg, France, the home of the ECHR.  At this reception were members of the European Parliament and justices from the ECHR.  The Clerk of the Court was also present.  During the course of the evening I was able to speak with the lady who was the clerk, she shared with me the greatest fear the court had at the time.

 

            The court, she explained, was fighting to keep its budget in tact from the Council of Europe.  At the time there were budget cuts going throughout the governments of Europe.  Many were declaring that the ECHR had outlived its usefulness and could easily be cut out of the budget.

 

            This fear alone is enough to create tension on the court when decisions are being made involving countries with great political and financial influence in the European Union and the Council of Europe.  Those countries are Germany, France, and England.

 

            These three countries provide the majority of the money to the Union and the Council.  These countries thus wield the most influence.  This is highlighted by the nature of the creation of the court.  The ECHR was established in a post World War II world where the greatest fears were human rights violations.  At the same time, the Soviet Union was creating political tension in Europe and the West wanted to show that they were champions of human rights.  Thus, the court was created. 

 

With the power to dry up the budget of the court and the threat, however subtle, to use the power, the countries of greatest influence further politicize the nature of the court.

 

            European courts are much more politically sensitive than our courts.  This sensitivity comes into play when the court is determining which cases to hear and what decision to give once a case has been accepted.

 

            In the case of the German Home School cases the decision is to not even accept the cases.  This keeps the court from coming into direct conflict with the German government on an issue that is extremely critical to them—the issue of home schooling which is primarily Christian based.

 

            Their refusal to accept any of these cases further emboldens German authorities and they have, as a result, declared a war of sorts on home school families in Germany.

 

            I firmly believe that if these cases were coming from former Soviet Bloc countries the court would have already accepted a case and ruled in favor of the parents.  If the court continues to refuse to protect the rights of parents, they will embolden other countries and we will eventually have a case from one of the Soviet Bloc countries on which to test my theory.

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5 Responses to “Why The European Court Of Human Rights Refuses To Hear The German Home School Cases”


  1. 1 Kinderlehrer 17 April 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Interesting insight Joel. I’ve linked to your post.

    Even within Germany many High Courts refuse to hear homeschooling cases, as they don’t want to overrule another court or set a precedent.

    Someone, somewhere must have the courage to make a stand and change the law.

    • 2 joelthornton 17 April 2009 at 9:14 pm

      We will continue to stand with those who are fighting for their rights in Germany! Thank you for the link.

  2. 3 Kinderlehrer 17 April 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I am sure you will keep supporting those families that need your help, but forgive me for suggesting that this is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, presently, and something that both you and I would rather not even see or need to do.

    What I was meaning was that there must be someone ‘on the inside’ courageous enough to stand up and say ”enough is enough’ we have to change the law’.

    Of course I hope that by starting our campaign contacting the Abgeordnete, that we will find those people and give them the information that they need 🙂

  3. 4 musa khan jalalzai 3 June 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Dear sir,

    Sir,
    Regretfully, Yesterday on Jun-1-2009, my landlord (Mr.Ihtesham-ur-Rehman) tried to kill my children (son and daughter) but failed. He, actually, locked my son and daughter in the house for three hours. By chance, on 10am I called my children to ask them whether they had taken breakfast or not, they cried, wept again and again and told me, Dad we are locked by the landlord and wants to kill us. I contacted the landlord and requested to please release my children. After three hours, I contacted 999 and reported the crime to them and the police reported the crime as (Ref-CAD 3153/1JUN09) and give me the no-02084781123.
    The police didn’t come to my house I don’t know why. After three hours my friend solicitor called the landlord and requested him to release my children and then he released. On 4pm, the children were again terrorized not allowed to TV room. My son and daughter, later on contacted their cousins and they took them to their house in East Ham. My children are living in fear there because he brought here his brother so as to terrorize me as well.. Mr. Ihtesham-ur-Rehman is working in Queen Marry University; a Pakistani extremist belongs to Jamaat Islami Pakistan. He is known for extremism and has become angry over my articles against extremists. Notwithstanding my complains since two years nobody provide me suitable protection. I am the author of one hundred books on terrorism and national security issues.

    Thank you.
    Musa Khan Jalalzai.
    48 Perth road Ilford Essex.
    Ph—07805226818.

  4. 5 shaheen 6 July 2009 at 10:48 am

    yes he needs more protection from extremists.
    Dear sir,

    Sir,
    Regretfully, Yesterday on Jun-1-2009, my landlord (Mr.Ihtesham-ur-Rehman) tried to kill my children (son and daughter) but failed. He, actually, locked my son and daughter in the house for three hours. By chance, on 10am I called my children to ask them whether they had taken breakfast or not, they cried, wept again and again and told me, Dad we are locked by the landlord and wants to kill us. I contacted the landlord and requested to please release my children. After three hours, I contacted 999 and reported the crime to them and the police reported the crime as (Ref-CAD 3153/1JUN09) and give me the no-02084781123.
    The police didn’t come to my house I don’t know why. After three hours my friend solicitor called the landlord and requested him to release my children and then he released. On 4pm, the children were again terrorized not allowed to TV room. My son and daughter, later on contacted their cousins and they took them to their house in East Ham. My children are living in fear there because he brought here his brother so as to terrorize me as well.. Mr. Ihtesham-ur-Rehman is working in Queen Marry University; a Pakistani extremist belongs to Jamaat Islami Pakistan. He is known for extremism and has become angry over my articles against extremists. Notwithstanding my complains since two years nobody provide me suitable protection. I am the author of one hundred books on terrorism and national security issues.

    Thank you.
    Musa Khan Jalalzai.
    48 Perth road Ilford Essex.
    Ph—07805226818.


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