Application Number 10883/05

European Court of Human Rights

[Judgment delivered in French]

The applicant, a Mayor at the material time, called for the boycotting of Israeli Products. He was fined 1,000 Euro on the grounds that he incited discrimination. The ECtHR found that there was no violation of Article 10 since preventing such incitement is necessary in a democratic society.


Theme(s): Anti-Semitism

Date: 10 December 2009

Description of applicant(s): Mayor

Brief description of facts: Wiillem, the Mayor of Seclin at the material time, announced that he intended to call on his services to boycott Israeli products in the municipality. He was sentenced and fined 1,000 Euro on the grounds that he incited discrimination.

(Alleged) target(s) of speech: Jews, Israelis

The Court’s assessment of the impugned speech: The Court found that the restriction had been proportionate to the legitimate aim of preventing the incitement to discrimination.

Important paragraph(s) from the judgment:  

Para.37: The Court noted that as mayor, the applicant had duties and responsibilities. He must, in particular, maintain a certain neutrality and have a duty of reservation in his actions when these engage the local authority that he represents as a whole. In this regard, a mayor manages the public funds of the municipality and must not encourage members to spend them according to a discriminatory logic.

ECHR Article: Article 10

Decision: No violation

Use of ‘hate speech’ by the Court in its assessment? No

Note! Translation from French to English is our own.