Sabou & Pircalab v Romania

Reference: Appl no: 00046572/99

Court: ECtHR

Judge: J-P Costa P

Date of judgment: 28 Sep 2004

Summary: Human Rights - Criminal Defamation - prosecution of journalists - whether prosecution and conviction were breaches of Articles 8,10 and 13 ECHR


The applicants were journalists who wrote articles alleging unlawful land acquisition and judicial corruption. A complaint was made by the judge accused and a prosecution for criminal defamation was brought. Sabou was convicted and sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, banned from journalism and had his parental and electoral rights suspended. Pircalab was fined and suspended.


Whether there had been breaches of articles 8,10 and 13 of the Convention.


Allowing the appeal. There had been a breach of all three articles and the applicants would be awarded damages.


Once again criminal convictions against journalists for writing articles others disagree with are declared unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights.