The ECHR judgment of November 8, 2016 in the case "Naku v. Lithuania and Sweden" (application No. 26126/07).
In 2007, the applicant was assisted in the preparation of the application. Subsequently, the application was communicated to Lithuania and Sweden.
In the case, the complaint on the provision of state immunity from jurisdiction regarding the requirement of unfair dismissal of an embassy employee dealing with cultural and information issues was successfully considered. The complaint was declared inadmissible for examination on the merits (in respect of Sweden), in the case there was a violation of the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (by the authorities of Lithuania).
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
The applicant worked in the Embassy of Sweden in Vilnius (Lithuania) from 1992 to 2006. At first she worked as an administrator and interpreter, but in 2001, after her letter to the Swedish ambassador on raising her salary, her job responsibilities were expanded to include cultural and information issues. The applicant also served as chairman of the trade union of embassy workers who were brought in on site. In 2005, she was dismissed from the embassy. The applicant challenged her dismissal in the courts of Lithuania, but they waived jurisdiction on grounds of state immunity after the Supreme Court indicated that, in accordance with the legislation of Lithuania, everyone working in the diplomatic mission of a foreign country promotes the exercise of the sovereign rights of that state, performs public functions and is therefore considered to be in the civil service of that State. In the conventional proceedings, the applicant claimed that she had been deprived of the right of access to a court in connection with the jurisdictional immunity referred to by her employer, supported by the position of the courts of Lithuania.
The applicant was a citizen of Lithuania.
ISSUES OF LAW
Concerning compliance with article 6, paragraph 1, of the Convention.
(a) The complaint against Sweden. Although the Swedish authorities were the respondent in the proceedings instituted by the applicant, it was carried out exclusively in Lithuania, and the Lithuanian courts were the only bodies that had sovereign authority over the applicant. The fact that the Swedish Ambassador put forward an argument on sovereign immunity in the courts of Lithuania, where the applicant decided to initiate proceedings, was not sufficient to classify the applicant as "subject" to Sweden for the purposes of Article 1 of the Convention.
The complaint was declared inadmissible for examination on the merits (due to non-compliance with the provisions of the Convention ratione personae).
Ratione personae (lat.) - in view of the circumstances relating to the person in question, the criterion used in assessing the admissibility of the complaint by the European Court).
(b) Complaint against the authorities of Lithuania. On the basis of her job description of 2001 and further, the Court was ready to admit that the applicant was engaged in cultural and information matters and, thus, participated in the activities of the embassy in this field. However, he noted that, according to the applicant's job description, she had to act "in accordance with the recommendations" or "in cooperation and under the guidance" of Swedish diplomatic staff. In addition, although the applicant also headed the local staff union, it was not demonstrated how these duties could be objectively related to the sovereign interests of Sweden. While the Court takes into account the applicant's written statement in which she stressed the importance of her duties in the embassy in the demand for higher wages, or the conflict between her and the new cultural adviser that subsequently arose about her duties, it was the amount of the applicant's actual duties was to be examined on the merits by the courts of Lithuania to determine whether "it fulfilled specific functions in the exercise of governmental authority." Proceeding from the fact that everyone who works in the diplomatic representation of a foreign country, including administrative, technical and service personnel, only by employment in one way or another contributes to the achievement of the sovereign goals of the represented state, and by supporting an objection based on state immunity and the courts of Lithuania The very essence of the applicant's right of access to the court was diminished, dismissing the applicant's claim without specifying relevant and sufficient motives.
The violation of the requirements of Article 6 of the Convention (unanimously) was committed.
In the application of Article 41 of the Convention. The Court awarded the applicant EUR 8,000 in respect of non-pecuniary damage. In addition, a review or re-examination of the case, if there is a claim by the applicant, would in principle represent an expedient way to remedy the violation.
See also the Judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court in the case of "Chudak v. Lithuania" of 23 March 2010, application no. 15869/02.