EGMR: Jehovas Zeugen in Österreich v. Austria (no. 27540/05)

The applicant, Jehovas Zeugen, was a religious community established in Austria under the Religious Communities Act until May 2009 when it was granted the status of a religious society. The case concerned its complaint that it had been discriminated against before May 2009 when it was a religious community, as it had been subject to laws concerning employees and tax from which it would have been exempt had it been a recognised religious society. In particular, it would have been able to employ two ministers from the Philippines in 2002 for the benefit of its Tagalog speaking members in Austria and it could have been exempt from inheritance and gift tax for a donation made to it in 1999. It relied on Article 9 (freedom of religion), Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) and Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property).

  • Violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 9 (as regards the proceedings under the Employment of Aliens Act)
  • Violation of Article 14 taken in conjunction with Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (as regards the proceedings under the Inheritance And Gift Tax Act)

Just satisfaction: € 12,834.45 (costs and expenses). The Court held that the finding of a violation constituted sufficient just satisfaction for any non pecuniary damage suffered by the applicant.

Press release ECHR 348 (2012) 25/09/2012

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