Judgment (Merits and Just Satisfaction) of Court (Grand Chamber), September 12, 2012 (case CASE OF NADA v. SWITZERLAND)

Issuing Organization:Court (Grand Chamber)
Appeal Nbr:10593/08
Resolution Date:September 12, 2012

Preliminary objections dismissed (Article 35-3 - Ratione personae) Preliminary objections dismissed (Article 34 - Victim) Preliminary objection joined to merits and dismissed (Article 35-3 - Ratione materiae) Preliminary objection dismissed (Article 35-1 - Exhaustion of domestic remedies) Preliminary objection joined to merits and dismissed (Article 35-1 - Exhaustion of domestic remedies) Remainde... (see full summary)


GRAND CHAMBER CASE OF NADA v. SWITZERLAND (Application no. 10593/08) JUDGMENT STRASBOURG 12 September 2012

This judgment is final but may be subject to editorial revision.


In the case of Nada v. Switzerland,

The European Court of Human Rights, sitting as a Grand Chamber composed of:

Nicolas Bratza, President,

Jean-Paul Costa,

Françoise Tulkens,

Josep Casadevall,

Nina VajiDean Spielmann,

Christos Rozakis,

Corneliu Bîrsan,

Karel Jungwiert,

Khanlar Hajiyev,

Ján Šikuta,

Isabelle Berro-Lefèvre,

Giorgio Malinverni,

George Nicolaou,

Mihai Poalelungi,

Kristina Pardalos,

Ganna Yudkivska, judges, and Michael O’Boyle, Deputy Registrar,

Having deliberated in private on 23 March 2011, 7 September 2011 and on 23 May 2012,

Delivers the following judgment, which was adopted on the lastmentioned date:

PROCEDURE 1. The case originated in an application (no. 10593/08) against the Swiss Confederation lodged with the Court under Article 34 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (“the Convention”) by an Italian and Egyptian national, Mr Youssef Moustafa Nada (“the applicant”), on 19 February 2008.

2. The applicant was represented by Mr J. McBride, a barrister in London. The Swiss Government (“the Government”) were represented by their Agent, Mr F. Schürmann, of the Federal Office of Justice.

3. In his application, Mr Nada alleged that the ban on entering or transiting through Switzerland, which had been imposed on him as a result of the addition of his name to the list annexed to the Federal Taliban Ordinance, had breached his right to liberty (Article 5 of the Convention) and his right to respect for private and family life, honour and reputation (Article 8). He submitted that this ban was thus also tantamount to ill2 NADA v. SWITZERLAND JUDGMENT treatment within the meaning of Article 3. He further complained of a breach of his freedom to manifest his religion or beliefs (Article 9), arguing that his inability to leave the enclave of Campione d’Italia had prevented him from worshipping at a mosque. Lastly, he complained that there had been no effective remedy in respect of those complaints (Article 13).

4. The application was assigned to the Court’s First Section (Rule 52 § 1 of the Rules of Court), which decided to deal with it on a priority basis under Article 41 of the Rules of Court. On 12 March 2009 a Chamber of that Section decided to give notice to the Government of the complaints under Articles 5, 8 and 13.

5. The parties each submitted written comments on the other’s observations. Observations were also received from the French and United Kingdom Governments, which had been given leave by the President to intervene in the written procedure (Article 36 § 2 of the Convention and Rule 44 § 2 as then in force). The Italian Government did not make use of their right to intervene in the proceedings (Article 36 § 1 of the Convention).

6. On 20 January 2010 the parties were informed that the Chamber intended to examine the admissibility and merits of the application at the same time (former Article 29 § 3 of the Convention together with former Rule 54A).

7. On 30 September 2010 the Chamber, composed of Christos Rozakis,

Nina VajiMalinverni, and George Nicolaou, judges, and Søren Nielsen, Section Registrar, relinquished jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber, neither of the parties having objected to relinquishment after being consulted for that purpose (Article 30 of the Convention and Rule 72).

8. The composition of the Grand Chamber was determined according to the provisions of Article 27 §§ 2 and 3 of the Convention and Rule 24. JeanPaul Costa, Christos Rozakis, Giorgio Malinverni and Mihai Poalelungi continued to deal with the case after their term of office expired, until the final deliberations, in accordance with Article 23 § 3 of the Convention and Rule 24 § 4.

9. The applicant and the Government each filed written observations on the merits of the case. The French and United Kingdom Governments submitted the same observations as before the Chamber. In addition, the President of the Grand Chamber authorised JUSTICE, a non-governmental organisation based in London, to submit written comments (Article 36 § 2 of the Convention taken in conjunction with Rule 44 § 2). Lastly, the President of the Grand Chamber authorised the United Kingdom Government to take part in the hearing.

10. A hearing took place in public in the Human Rights Building,

Strasbourg, on 23 March 2011 (Rule 59 § 3).


There appeared before the Court:

– for the Government Mr F. SCHÜRMANN, Head of European law and international human rights section, Federal Office of Justice,

Federal Police and Justice Department, Agent,

Mr J. LINDENMANN, Ambassador, Deputy Director of Public International Law Directorate, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs,

Mr R. E. VOCK, Head of Sanctions Division, State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Federal Department of Economic Affairs,

Ms R. BOURGUIN, Specialised legal adviser with policy responsibility, Legal Affairs Section, Migration policy division, Federal Office of Migration,

Federal Police and Justice Department,

Ms C. EHRICH, Technical adviser, European law and international human rights section, Federal Office of Justice, Federal Police and Justice Department, Advisers;

– for the applicant Mr J. MCBRIDE, barrister, Counsel,


Mr D. THOMPSON, Advisers;

– for the United Kingdom Government (third party) Mr D. WALTON, Agent,

Mr S. WORDSWORTH, Counsel,

Ms C. HOLMES, Adviser.

The applicant and his wife were also present.

The Court heard addresses by Mr Schürmann, Mr McBride and Mr Wordsworth. It also heard the replies of the parties’ representatives to questions from judges.

4 NADA v. SWITZERLAND JUDGMENT THE FACTS I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE A. Background to the case 11. The applicant was born in 1931 and has been living since 1970 in Campione d’Italia, which is an Italian enclave of about 1.6 sq. km in the Province of Como (Lombardy), surrounded by the Swiss Canton of Ticino and separated from the rest of Italy by Lake Lugano.

12. He describes himself as a practising Muslim and a prominent businessman in the financial and political world, in which he purports to be highly regarded. An engineer by training, he has worked in very diverse sectors, in particular banking, foreign trade, industry and real estate. In the course of his business activities he founded numerous companies of which he was the sole or principal shareholder.

13. In his submission, he is opposed to all uses of terrorism and has never had any involvement with al-Qaeda. On the contrary, he has consistently denounced not only the means used by that organisation, but also its ideology.

14. The applicant has further indicated that he has only one kidney (the other having deteriorated in recent years). He also suffers from bleeding in his left eye, as shown by a medical certificate of 20 December 2001, and arthritis in the neck. In addition, according to a medical certificate issued by a doctor in Zurich on 5 May 2006, he sustained a fracture in his right hand which was due to be operated on in 2004. The applicant has alleged that, because of the restrictions imposed on him which gave rise to the present application, he was unable to undergo this operation and has continued to suffer from the consequences of the fracture.

15. On 15 October 1999, in response to the 7 August 1998 bombings by Osama bin Laden and members of his network against the United States embassies in Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) the Security Council of the United Nations (the “UN”) adopted, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, Resolution 1267 (1999), providing for sanctions against the Taliban (see paragraph 70 below) and created a committee consisting of all the members of the Security Council to monitor the enforcement of that resolution (the “Sanctions Committee”).

16. On 2 October 2000, to implement that resolution, the Swiss Federal Council (the federal executive) adopted an Ordinance “instituting measures against the Taliban” (the “Taliban Ordinance” – see paragraph 66 below), which subsequently underwent a number of amendments, including to its title.


17. By Resolution 1333 (2000) of 19 December 2000 (see paragraph 71 below) the Security Council extended the sanctions regime. It was now also directed against Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda organisation, as well as the Taliban’s senior officials and advisers. In both Resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1333 (2000), the Security Council requested the Sanctions Committee to maintain a list, based on information provided by States and regional organisations, of individuals and entities associated with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

18. On 11 April 2001 the Swiss Government amended the Taliban Ordinance in order to implement Resolution 1333 (2000). It added a new Article 4a, paragraph 1 of which prohibited entry into and transit through Switzerland for the individuals and entities concerned by the resolution (but without naming them).

19. On 24 October 2001 the Federal Prosecutor opened an investigation in respect of the applicant.

20. On 7 November 2001 the President of the United States of America blocked the assets of Bank Al Taqwa, of which the applicant was the chairman and principal shareholder.

21. On 9 November 2001 the applicant and a number of organisations associated with him were added to the Sanctions Committee’s list. On 30 November 2001 (or 9 November according to the applicant’s observations), their names were added to the list in an annex to the Taliban Ordinance.

22. On 16 January 2002 the Security Council adopted Resolution 1390 (2002) introducing an entry and transit ban in respect of individuals, groups, undertakings and entities associated with them, as referred to in the list created pursuant to Resolutions 1267 (1999) and 1333 (2000) (see...

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