On 2 November last, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has decided to communicate to the Dutch Government a complaint filed against the Netherlands.
The application alleges that the Netherlands has violated art. 8 ECHR (right to respect for private and family life) in conjunction with art. 14 ECHR (prohibition of discimination). The applicants in this case had been remanded into custody in connection with a criminal case. After several months they requested to be granted a conjugal visit (Bezoek Zonder Toezicht). This request was denied because the applicable legal framework does not provide for conjugal visits for prisoners in pre-trial detention. However, prisoners already convicted did have a right to conjugal visits. The applicants considered this to be an unjustified form of discrimination. They filed an appeal against the decision rejecting their request for a conjugal visit. This appeal was rejected in last instance on 8 August 2014 by the Appeals Board of the Council for the Administration of Criminal Justice and Juvenile Protection (cases 14/1062/GA and 14/1038/GA). The applicants therefore submitted their complaints to the ECtHR.
By communicating the case, the Dutch Government is given an opportunity to respond to the complaint. After an exchange of written submissions, the ECtHR will decide if the complaint is well-founded.