MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a blanket ban on trade unions within the French armed forces was a violation of the rights of military staff, according to the official website of the Council of Europe.
"The European Court of Human Rights has today issued its Chamber judgment1 in the case of Matelly v. France … The case concerned the absolute prohibition on trade unions within the French armed forces. The court held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention on Human Rights," the website reported.
The court noted that "while the exercise by military personnel of freedom of association could be subject to legitimate restrictions, a blanket ban on forming or joining a trade union encroached on the very essence of this freedom, and was as such prohibited by the [European] convention [on human rights]."
The court had examined the case of a French paramilitary officer, Jean-Hugues Matelly, who had created an association called "Gendarmes and Citizens," as well as an Internet forum of the same name, where members could exchange their views.
Shortly after Matelly informed his superior officers that he had created the association, in 2008, he and its members were ordered to resign.
According to the website of the Council of Europe, the European Court of Human Rights found that the authorities' decision in respect of Matelly "amounted to an absolute prohibition on military personnel joining a trade-union-like occupational group, formed to defend their occupational and non-pecuniary interests, and that the grounds for such a decision had been neither relevant nor sufficient."
The court held that France was to pay Matelly 1,400 euros (about $1,770) in respect of costs and expenses.