Gentilhomme, Schaff-Benhadji et Zerouki v France: ECHR 14 May 2002

(French Text) In 1962 France and Algeria had signed a statement of principle on cultural co-operation which provided inter alia for French children residing in Algeria, including those having dual French and Algerian nationality under French law, to receive formal education in French state schools, a number of which were thus established in Algerian territory. Subsequently the Algerian government informed the French authorities that children of Algerian nationality (including those with dual French and Algerian nationality, since Algerian law did not recognise their dual nationality) would no longer be able to enrol in such schools. The applicants complained as against France that this constituted a breach of their children’s rights under the Convention.
Held: The children did not fall under the jurisdiction of France within the meaning of article 1 of the Convention. After retferring to Bankovic: ‘The facts complained of in this case, which the applicants contend constitute a violation of Article 2 of Protocol No.1 to the Convention and of Articles 8 and 14 of the Convention, are thus the result of a decision taken unilaterally by Algeria. [Notwithstanding / whatever] the legality of that decision in the light of international law, it in effect constitutes a refusal on the part of Algeria to comply with the agreement of 19 March 1962. The French authorities, who exercised ‘jurisdiction’ in Algerian territory in this case solely on the basis of that agreement, could only draw conclusions from that refusal as regards the provision of formal education to children in the same situation as the applicants’ children.
In short, the facts complained of were caused by a decision attributable to Algeria, adopted by it with no possibility of appeal on its own territory and not open to any review by France. In other words, in the particular circumstances at issue here, France cannot be held responsible for those facts . .’
48205/99, [2002] ECHR 437, 48209/99, [2002] ECHR 441, 48205/99, 48207/99
Worldlii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights
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Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 23 October 2021; Ref: scu.263093