This case before the European Court of Human Rights concerns an association, Communaute genevoise d’action syndicale (CGAS), which complains of being deprived of the right to organise and participate in public events following the adoption of government measures to tackle COVID-19 under Ordinance O.2 COVID-19, enacted by the Federal Council on 13 March 2020. On the basis of that ordinance, public and private events were prohibited with effect from 16 March 2020. Failure to comply with the prohibition was punishable by a custodial sentence or a fine.
As of 30 May 2020, the ban on gatherings was relaxed (maximum of 30 participants). Events involving more than 1,000 participants continued to be prohibited until the end of August 2020. On 20 June 2020 the ban on public events was lifted, although participants were required to wear masks.
The application was lodged with the European Court of Human Rights on 26 May 2020.
The application association relies on Article 11 (freedom of assembly and association) of the European Convention on Human Rights.
In its judgment of 15 March 2022, the Court held, by four votes to three, that there had been a violation of Article 11 of the European Convention.
On 5 September 2022 the case was referred to the Grand Chamber at the Swiss Government’s request and the referral was accepted.