n. 14
April
2011


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Palomar is not a newspaper, it is updated without a fixed periodicity, exclusively on the basis of the available materials and news; it is not, therefore, an editorial project subject to the discipline of Art. 1, c. 3, Law n. 62 of March 7, 2001.
The Italian Constitutional Court declares admissible the referendum petitions on water supply, nuclear Energy and “legitimate impediment” (Constitutional Court decisions nos. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29/2011)
The Constitutional Court declares unconstitutional a provision of a Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Law as discriminatory against non-EC immigrants and those living on the Italian territory for less than thirty-six months (Constitutional Court decision no. 40/2011)
The Constitutional Court describes the status of the ECHR and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the hierarchy of sources (Constitutional Court Decision no. 80/2011)
The Italian Constitutional Court upholds a Ligurian Regional Law establishing measures against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity (Constitutional Court decision no. 94/2011)
The Joint Civil Divisions of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation confirmed the removal of a judge who refused to work under the “influence of the crucifix.” (Court of Cassation, Joint Civil Division, decision no. 5924/2011)
The Legislative Decrees on Municipal and Regional Fiscal Federalism become Law (Legislative Decree nos. 23/2011 and 68/2011)
The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR finds no violation of the Convention in the case Lautsi and others v. Italy about the display of the crucifix in State-run school classrooms (Case of Lautsi and Others v. Italy, Appl. no. 30814/06, Judgement of 8 March 2011)







The Italian Constitutional Court declares admissible the referendum petitions on water supply, nuclear Energy and “legitimate impediment” (Constitutional Court decisions nos. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29/2011)

On January 12, 2011 the Italian Constitutional Court issued six decisions on the admissibility of six different abrogative referendum petitions addressing provisions concerning the supply of water, the production of nuclear energy and the “legitimate impediment,” introduced with
Law no. 51/2010 (see Palomar Italy n. 13).
The judgement of the Constitutional Court followed the one issued by the Central Office for Referendum – based within the Court of Cassation – which declared the legitimacy of the petitions. According to the Italian Constitution and the Constitutional Court’s case law (with the landmark
decision no. 16/1978), the Constitutional Court is vested with the power to check the admissibility of the petitions with regard to two different aspects. On the one hand, the referendum must respect the limits established by art. 75 of the Constitution: this means that it must not be related to laws authorizing the ratification of international treaties, tax laws, budget laws, amnesty or pardon laws, constitutional laws, laws with a constitutionally-bound content and laws deemed constitutionally necessary. On the other hand, the Constitutional Court must verify that the petitions – and more specifically the abrogative questions that the citizens are asked to answer to – are homogeneous, clear and plain, complete, coherent, appropriate to reach their scope, and compatible with the abrogative nature of the referendum itself.
It is interesting to notice that the Court accepted to receive and analyze not only the briefs submitted by the parties in the proceeding, but also the amici curiae submitted by third parties. Even though this is not a novelty, as the Constitutional Court underlined by mentioning its decisions nos. 15/2008, 45/2005, 46/2005, 47/2005, 48/2005, 49/2005, it is unusual to see the intervention of third parties during a constitutional hearing. Their will is to give argumentations to the Court, helping it in taking its decision; at the same time, third parties do not have the same powers of the referendum promoters or the Government, so they are not allowed to discuss their amici curiae in the Camera hearing or to participate to the public discussion, unless the Constitutional Court itself asks them to participate to clarify their position through an oral intervention.
As previously mentioned, the petitions were related to three different topics: supply of water, the production of nuclear energy and the Law on “legitimate impediment”. Decisions nos. 24, 25, 26, 27/2011 deal with the petitions of abrogative referendum related to the administration of water: the promoters wanted to exclude any kind of private resource management, or at least to prohibit that the water is supplied at private rates in a free market. Two petitions out of four were judged not admissible: one of them was not homogeneous and coherent with the Italian Law, as the abrogation of the identified provisions would not have been appropriate to reach the result pursued with the petition itself; the other one was declared inadmissible because of its lack of clearness and congruence. Decision no. 28/2011 refers to nuclear energy: the question asked to the citizens is quite complex, but the Constitutional Court stated that it is admissible as it respects the limits established by article 75 of the Italian Constitution and it is homogeneous, plain, coherent, and appropriate. The petition aims to abrogate all the provisions that could lead to the production of nuclear energy in Italy and to the construction of nuclear power plants.
Finally, decision no. 29/2011 is related to the Law on ‘legitimate impediment’ (Law no. 51/2010) (see
Palomar Italy n. 13), and the referendum petition asks to abrogate the Law itself. The Constitutional Court stated that also this petition is admissible, as it respects all the limits and the requirements established by the Constitution and the jurisprudence of the Court.
On April 20, the Parliament approved an amendment to the Decree Law known as Omnibus Decree Law, by which all provisions providing for the production of nuclear energy and the building of nuclear power plants in Italy were repealed. This fact brings about, as a consequence, the possible withdrawal of the referendum question related to nuclear energy, as established by Law no. 352/1970, clause 39. The final decision on the withdrawal of the question is left to the Court of Cassation. The Government is also planning to propose to the Parliament another amendment in order to repeal the provisions on water supply, targeted by the other referendum. If this proposal will be approved by the Parliament, the petition on water supply will possibly lapse as well. This means that only one out of the three original referendum will eventually stand, that is, the one related to “legitimate impediment”. (Elena Sorda)


The Constitutional Court declares unconstitutional a provision of a Friuli Venezia Giulia Regional Law as discriminatory against non-EC immigrants and those living on the Italian territory for less than thirty-six months (Constitutional Court decision no. 40/2011)

With
decision no. 40, issued on February 9, 2011, the Constitutional Court declared article 4 of the Regional Law of Friuli Venezia Giulia no. 6/2006 unconstitutional. This article, entitled “Integrated system of interventions and services for the promotion and protection of social welfare citizenship rights,” was amended by article 9, paragraphs 51, 52 and 53 of the Regional Law n. 24/2009, concerning “Provisions for the creation of the multi-year and annual budget of the Region – 2010 Financial Law”.
Before the legislative change was made, the censored article allowed the following categories of people to access the regional system of social assistance, interventions and services: all the residents in the Region and some other categories of people who were in the regional territory with a different qualification, such as foreigners properly sojourning in Italy under Legislative Decree no. 286 of July 25, 1998 (also known as “Consolidated Law on the Regulation of Immigration”), asylum seekers, refugees, stateless people, foreign minors, foreign pregnant women or foreign women up to six months after their child’s birth.
Then, with Law no. 24/2009, the right to access the Friuli’s integrated system of assistance was limited to EC-citizens who have been living in the Region for at least thirty-six months.
The government raised a question of constitutionality based on an alleged violation of art. 2 (“Fundamental rights”), 3 (“Principle of equality”), 38 (“Social welfare rights”) and 97 (“Principles governing the Public Administration”) of the
Italian Constitution. The Constitutional Court  pointed out the unconstitutionality of art. 4 of Friuli Venezia Giulia’s Regional Law no. 24/2009 in relation to art. 3 Const, since the provision at issue was deemed by the Court preposterously discriminatory for two reasons: the nationality requirement, bringing to the exclusion of non-EC citizens, and the residence length requirement applied to EC-citizens and Italians, both created a discrimination, since the existence of situations of need and poverty (a prerequisite for any intervention by the social welfare services) cannot be made dependant on predictable objective conditions,, but, conversely, must be evaluated with regard to the specific conditions of a person. Therefore, the Court stated that any intervention in aid of people in need, because of its own nature, “cannot tolerate discriminations based on citizenship or on particular types of residence, in the sense of the exclusion of those who are particularly exposed to situations of need and poverty.”
The Court then declared absorbed the constitutional challenges raised with regard to arts. 2 and 38 Const. and declared inadmissible the issue concerning art. 97. (Elisa Ciardelli)


The Constitutional Court describes the status of the ECHR and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights in the hierarchy of sources (Constitutional Court Decision no. 80/2011)

The Constitutional Court’s
decision no. 80 was decided on March 7, 2011 and issued on March 11, 2011. With this decision, the Court confirmed that the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), in the hierarchy of sources, is considered as “intermediate law” (“norma interposta”) and therefore its provisions can be used as parameters in reviewing the constitutionality of a national Law.
Until October 2007, the Court and part of the legal doctrine recognized to the ECHR only a very limited efficacy within the Italian legal system and its provisions were considered enjoying the same status of primary legislation in the Italian hierarchy of legal sources. For this reason, the contrast of a domestic statutory law with the ECHR could not determine the unconstitutionality of national law. In the meantime, the Court affirmed an obligation of “consistent interpretation,” in order to harmonize the meaning of national laws with the ECHR.
With landmark decisions nos. 348 and 349/2007, the Constitutional Court overruled its previous jurisprudence and, for the first time, declared the unconstitutionality of a national law for a violation of the ECHR making reference to the new text of art. 117, cl.1 as amended by Constitutional Law no. 3/2001. Thus, the Court recognized a new, special status to the ECHR (see
Palomar Italy no. 1).
According to
art. 117, cl. 1, “legislative powers shall be vested in the State and the Regions in compliance with the Constitution and with the constraints deriving from EU legislation and international obligations.” This provision was amended in 2001 to include the express reference to the need to respect international obligations, especially the obligations deriving from EU law.
Secondly, with decision n. 80/2011, the Court also clarified the value/rank of the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union in the Italian legal system. According to art. 51, cl. 1  of the Charter “the provisions of this Charter are addressed to the institutions and bodies of the Union with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity and to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law. They shall therefore respect the rights, observe the principles and promote the application thereof in accordance with their respective powers». In the opinion of the Court, the article under examination excludes that the Charter could constitute a way to protect fundamental rights beyond EU competence, as already affirmed in the consolidated European Court of Justice (ECJ) case law, before and after the Treaty of Lisbon entered into force. Condition to application of the Charter is, therefore, that the case under examination falls within the area of competence of the European Union.
The decision at issue is important especially because it represents the first time that the Court determines the status of the ECHR after the entry into force of the
Lisbon Treaty, the international agreement that amended the two Treaties comprising the constitutional basis of the European Union. (Renato Ibrido)


The Italian Constitutional Court upholds a Ligurian Regional Law establishing measures against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity (Constitutional Court decision no. 94/2011)

On March 9, 2011 the Italian Constitutional Court, with
decision no. 94/2011, decided on the issues of constitutionality raised by the Italian Government (in accordance with art. 127 Const. concerning principaliter proceedings) against three provisions of the Ligurian Regional Law no. 52/2009 (“Provisions against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity”).
The Government alleged three different violations of art. 117 (distribution of powers between the State and the Regions), with specific regard to clause 2(l), which reserves to the exclusive legislative power of the State “jurisdiction and procedural law, civil and criminal law system and administrative judicial system.” The first challenge concerned art. 7, clause 1 of the Regional Law, providing that the Region, within the borders of its own powers, shall implement the principle of equality of access to public and private services, which cannot be derogated on the grounds of discriminations. According to the President of the Council of Ministers, this provision, by introducing a “legal duty to contract” for those operating in the private sector, violated art. 117, as pointed out by the Court itself in
decision no. 253/2006. As a matter of fact, such a duty falls within the area of “civil law system” mentioned in art. 117, clause 2(l) Const. and, therefore, within the State exclusive legislative powers.
The Constitutional Court, however, found that the explicit reference to the Region’s powers makes the provision constitutional, because it does not introduce any duty to contract, but it only binds the Region itself to provide for measures against discriminations on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, without impinging on the State powers.
The Court did not overrule the principle of law established in decision no. 253/2006, but distinguished that precedent, by noticing that the provision at issue does not provide for an obligation to contract. The provision struck down with decision no. 253/2006, conversely, did impose an explicit prohibition to private companies to refuse an agreement on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, thus violating art. 117, clause 2(l).
The President of the Council of Ministers also challenged art. 13, clause 3 of the Regional Law, which enables the Region to provide for “the prevention of discriminations, the implementation of rights and the introduction of sanctions against discriminatory behaviors”. In the Government’s view, this provision violated art. 117 by empowering the Region to punish the conduct drawn by art. 7. The unconstitutionality of this provision would thus be a consequence of the alleged violation of art. 117 by the abovementioned art. 7 of the Regional Law. Therefore the Court stated that, art. 7 being consistent with the distribution of powers set forth in art. 117, art. 13 was not unconstitutional. Moreover the Court, referring to its prior case law, underlined that the challenged provision does not provide for sanctions (as the provision struck down in decision no. 253/2006 did), but it just enables the Region to do so, according to the legal system and the distribution of powers.
Finally, the Government alleged that art. 8 of the Regional Law violated the Constitution because, in its opinion, it regulated a conduct concerning legal representation, which falls within the area of civil law system and therefore within the competences of the State.
The Court did not share this opinion though, founding that “the provision does not regulate legal representation, but admits the possibility of using it in order to provide information about a patient’s health.” The Court also pointed out that this very possibility had already been granted by art. 9 of Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 (“Provisions concerning Personal Data Protection”).
Actually, the provision at issue was drafted just in accordance with the statement made by the Court in decision no. 253/2006, when a similar provision of the Tuscany Regional Law had been struck down because it introduced a new power of legal representation, in providing that a person could delegate someone else not only to receive information but also to give the consent for medical treatment. By way of difference, article 8, clause 2, of the Ligurian Regional Law does not grant the possibility to empower someone else to give legal consent for medical treatment, but it only provides that a person “can empower somebody to enter the medical or health care institutions in order to suit his/her needs and to be informed by the operators of the medical institution about any information concerning his/her health”.
Even if the Ligurian Regional Law provides for measures much less intrusive than those provided by the Tuscany Law, partly struck down by the Court in the abovementioned decision no. 253/2006, with this important decision the Constitutional Court recognizes that Regions, within the competences set forth by art. 117, can adopt measures against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
In the absence of State regulation addressing this matter, the decision at issue represents an important achievement in the struggle against discrimination, even if its implementation is dependent on local political choices, in contradiction to the much felt need of national uniformity in the protection of rights. (Anna Maria Lecis)


The Joint Civil Divisions of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation confirmed the removal of a judge who refused to work under the “influence of the crucifix.” (Court of Cassation, Joint Civil Division, decision no. 5924/2011)

With decision no. 5924, issued on March 14, 2011, the Joint Civil Divisions of the Italian Supreme Court of Cassation decided on a judge’s disciplinary proceeding confirming the decision of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (“Consiglio superiore della magistratura”, hereinafter, “CSM”), issued on May 25, 2010. The disciplinary proceeding originated from the case of Doctor T., a judge of the Tribunal of Camerino, who refused to perform its judicial functions due to the display of a crucifix in the courtrooms of the Tribunal where he worked. In 2005, Doctor T. complained about the presence of the religious symbol in the courtroom where he worked. The President Judge of the Tribunal of Camerino, in order to accommodate his freedom of conscience and religion, proposed to the judge to work in another office or courtroom where no crucifix was displayed, but Doctor T. refused, insisting on his request to remove the crucifix from all the courtrooms of the Tribunal. Indeed, he considered that the accommodation proposed by the President Judge would have created a “ghetto” where he would have been confined and prohibited from displaying his religious symbol, the menorah. In the meantime, he kept refusing to work, thus incurring in disciplinary proceeding. With decision no. 88/2010 the CSM dismissed Doctor T. from the Judiciary on the ground of its refusal to work in a tribunal where a crucifix was displayed on the wall. Against the decision of the CSM, Doctor T. filed an appeal to the Supreme Court of Cassation (no. 22385/2010) that upheld the decision issued on May 25, 2010, by the Italian CSM. In decision no. 5924, the Supreme Court confirmed that “correctly the appealed sentence found that the presence of the crucifix could affect the right of religious freedom only if it is in the courtroom where he carries out his judicial activity” (reasons, no. 9). For this reason, Doctor T., in refusing to work also in a courtroom without any crucifix, infringed his institutional and professional duties of diligence and commitment to the exercise of his judicial functions. (Luca Marfoli)


The Legislative Decrees on Municipal and Regional Fiscal Federalism become Law (Legislative Decree nos. 23/2011 and 68/2011)

In the month of March 2011 two significant Legislative Decrees on fiscal federalism have been approved by the Italian Council of Ministers.
On March 14, the Italian Council of Ministers finally approved Legislative Decree no. 23/2011 called “Provisions on Municipal Fiscal Federalism” (hereinafter, “the first Decree”). The first Decree implements Law n. 42/2009 on “Fiscal federalism” and particularly arts. 2, 11, 12, 13, 21 and 26 concerning Municipalities’ financial autonomy as established by art. 119 Cost.
Later, on March 31, the Council of Ministers approved Legislative Decree no. 68/2011, the most important implementing decree concerning Provinces, Metropolitan Cities and Regions revenue and expenditure autonomy (hereinafter, “the second Decree”).
The first Decree is composed by fourteen articles and establishes that some specific taxes are immediately allocated to municipalities and provinces (arts. 2-11). It provides that some of these rules come into force as early as 2011 (arts. 2 ff.) while some others will become effective only from 2014 (art. 7 ff.).
More specifically, for example, art. 2, which provides that receipts or shares of certain taxes related to real estate taxation, and art. 3, which regulates the so called “coupon on dry leases” (cedolare secca sugli affitti), will be immediately allocated to municipalities. Moreover, art. 4 states that municipalities and union of municipalities may impose a residence tax (imposta di soggiorno) to those staying in accommodation facilities located on their territory. On the other hand, art. 6 provides that the additional municipal income tax on individuals will be abolished.
Art. 7 states that, from 2014, some of the old taxes will be replaced by two new ones: the main local tax (imposta municipale propria) and the secondary local tax (imposta municipale secondaria). The first will be imposed on real estates, but only on properties other than the main one. The other will replace different types of taxes such as bill-posting duties. One of the most relevant provisions is art. 13 which establishes an equalization found.
The second Decree establishes which taxes will be allocated to the Regions and how the additional income tax on individuals will operate in the future. Most of the current taxes are confirmed, with the only exception of the excise on petrol which will be abolished from 2013.
The second Decree, in its first part, deals with Regional autonomy and provides that State transfers will be abolished from 2013 and that some current State taxes become Regional. This Decree provides, moreover, that a subsequent Law will determine the essential level of benefits which must be provided all over the country, in conformity with art.
117, co. 2, lett. m) Cost.
Then different types of expenditures are classified. This classification is very important because it will operate on a different regime of financing through two equalization founds and the difference will depend on the type of function which has to be financed, whether it will be considered essential (i.e., health, assistance, education, etc.) or not.
In its second part, it deals with provincial autonomy, providing a new regime of imposition which will come into force from 2012 and introducing new provincial taxes and a new equalization founds for the transitional period.
The last part deals with the determination of standard costs and needs in the health sector. (Francesco Saitto)



The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR finds no violation of the Convention in the case Lautsi and others v. Italy about the display of the crucifix in State-run school classrooms (Case of Lautsi and Others v. Italy, Appl. no. 30814/06, Judgement of 8 March 2011)

On March 18, 2011, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued its judgement in the case Lautsi and others v. Italy concerning the display of crucifix in State-run school classrooms in Italy.
The applicants, Mrs. Soile Lautsi and her two sons, complained about the presence of crucifixes in classrooms, alleging its incompatibility with the “obligation on the State, in the exercise of the functions which it assumed in relation to education and to teaching, to respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching in accordance with their own religious and philosophical convictions” (See the Press Release issued by the Registrar of the Court).
The case originated by the fact that in the school where Mrs. Lautsi’s sons studied, there was a crucifix displayed in every classroom, including those in which they took classes. Mrs. Lautsi considered that this circumstance violated the principle of secularism, according to which she wished to raise her children. She informed the school about her position, asking the crucifix to be removed, but the school’s governing body decided to leave the crucifixes in the classrooms.
The case began on July 23, 2002, before the Italian administrative courts and involved various levels of jurisdiction. The applicant complained to the Veneto Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) about the decision taken by the school’s governing body, on the ground, among others, that it infringed the constitutional principles of secularism and impartiality in the exercise of public authority.
The Minister of Education, Universities and Research, who joined the proceeding, argued that the application was ill-founded because the presence of crucifixes in State-run school classrooms was based on two Royal Decrees of 1924 and 1928 which required the display of crucifixes in classrooms.
On January 14, 2004, the Administrative Tribunal, at the request of the applicant, raised an issue of constitutionality of the provisions requiring the display of crucifixes in classrooms. On December 15, 2004 the Constitutional Court declared the case inadmissible, on the ground that the challenged provisions did not have legislative status in the hierarchy of sources of law and therefore could not be subject to its judicial review, according to the Italian Constitution. As a matter of fact, art. 134 Const. provides that, in performing its functions of judicial review, the Constitutional Court shall judge only “on controversies on the constitutional legitimacy of laws and enactments having the force of law issued by the State and the Regions,” while the control on the legitimacy of acts not enjoying the status of laws in the hierarchy of legal sources, such as the Royal Decrees at issue, falls within the competences of ordinary or administrative judges.
On 17 March, 2005, the TAR dismissed the applicant’s complaint, holding that the crucifix was the symbol of Italian history and culture, and consequently of Italian identity and not merely a religious symbol. Its display in the classroom could not therefore be considered in violation of the principle of secularism.
The applicant filed an appeal to the Italian Council of State (Consiglio di Stato), the Supreme Administrative Court in the Italian legal system. On February 13, 2006, the Council of State dismissed the applicant’s appeal, on the ground that the display of crucifixes in State-run school classrooms, legally based on the two Royal Decrees of 1924 and 1928, was compatible with the principle of secularism and, in a “secular” perspective, it could enjoy a highly educational function.
Mrs. Lautsi, having exhausted all internal remedies, appealed then to the European Court of Human Rights, in her own name and on behalf of her children, alleging that the display of the crucifix in State-run schools violated her right to ensure to her sons an education and teaching in conformity with her religious and philosophical convictions, within the meaning of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (“Right to education”) to the European Convention on Human Rights. The display of the crucifix also allegedly breached her freedom of conviction and religion, as protected by Article 9 (“Freedom of thought, conscience and religion”) of the Convention.
By a judgment of November 3, 2009, the ECtHR concluded, unanimously, that the display of crucifixes in classrooms was in breach of the parents’ right to educate their children in line with their convictions and of the children’s right to freedom from religion; for this reasons the Court held that Italy violated Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 (“Right to education”), examined jointly with Article 9 (“Freedom of thought, conscience and religion”) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
On January 28, 2010, the Italian government lodged an appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights which, on March 18, 2011, by a majority of 15 votes to 2, held that the display of the crucifix did not violate the Convention.
In their hearing before the Grand Chamber Mrs. Lautsi and her sons, both having reached the major age in the meantime, alleged the violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1, Article 9 and Article 14 because the presence of crucifixes in the classrooms affected her right to educate her children according to her religious convictions and because she and her sons had suffered a discriminatory treatment in relation to Catholic parents and their children.
With regard to the alleged violation of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1, the Grand Chamber held that, while the crucifix was above all a religious symbol, no evidence was brought before the Court that the display of such a symbol on classroom walls could exert an influence on pupils.
The Court recognized the applicant's right to educate her children according to her religious convictions and acknowledged that she could feel hurt by the presence of a religious symbol like the crucifix; on the other hand, this perception was not enough to constitute a breach of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1.
The presence of crucifixes in State-school classrooms was not enough to denote a process of indoctrination on Italy’s part and establish a breach of the requirements of Article 2 of Protocol No. 1 and it was not associated with a compulsory teaching of the fundamental tenets of the Christian religion; according to the Government, Italy has been opening up school environments to other religions so that the applicant is entitled, as a mother, to educate her children according to her convictions.
The most important point of the sentence concerned the so-called “margin of appreciation;” the Grand Chamber of the Court held that States enjoy a margin of appreciation in the balancing between the obligations they assumed in relation to education and teaching by signing the Convention and the respect for the rights of parents to ensure such education and teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions.
The decision whether to display crucifixes in State-run schools is a matter falling within the margin of appreciation of the State, especially in light of the lack of consensus among the 47 States signatories to the Convention on the regulation of display of religious symbols, as long as the State’s choice does not amount to a form of indoctrination.
With regard to art. 14, the Court declared unnecessary to pronounce on the challenge, in view of its finding on art. 2 of Protocol No. 1.
Several separate opinions have been drafted: Judges Bonello, Power and Rozakis each expressed a concurring opinion; Judge Malinverni expressed a dissenting opinion, joined by Judge Kalaydjieva.
It is interesting to point out the large number of intervening parties, such as thirty Members of Parliament acting together, several non-governmental organizations as well as the Governments of Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Russian Federation, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Monaco, Romania and the Republic of San Marino. (Marta Cerroni)