24/Apr/2014 - Last News Update: 02:56

Assisted suicide: Germany loses Strasbourg court case

Category: Health

Published: 19th Jul 2012 12:18:33

European Court judges in Strasbourg have ruled against Germany in an assisted suicide case, saying a widower's rights were infringed.

Ulrich Koch challenged the German ban on actively helping someone commit suicide. His paralysed wife died after taking poison in Switzerland in 2005.

The judges did not rule on the ban, but said the German courts should have examined Mr Koch's complaint.

On assisted suicide, the judges said it was up to individual nations to decide.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered Germany to pay Mr Koch 2,500 euros (£1,600; $2,460) in damages and 26,736 euros for legal costs.

There was a violation of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to respect for private and family life) because of the German courts' refusal to examine the merits of Mr Koch's complaint, the ruling said.

After suffering a bad fall in 2002 Mr Koch's wife needed artificial ventilation and constant nursing care. She wanted to end her life, but Germany's Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices refused to let her do so with sodium pentobarbital.

Mr Koch's challenges on her behalf got nowhere in Germany as the courts cited the existing ban on active assisted suicide.

The Dignitas facility in Switzerland later enabled Mrs Koch to die.

The Strasbourg ruling on Thursday was only procedural, as the judges noted that there is no consensus in Europe on the ethics of assisted suicide.

The court's research found that only four of 42 states in the Council of Europe allow medical practitioners to prescribe a lethal drug in order to enable a patient to end his or her life.

BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2012. Assisted suicide: Germany loses Strasbourg court case [Online] (Updated 19th Jul 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1441533/Assisted-suicide-Germany-loses-Strasbourg-court-case [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Actress Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
  • Michael Phelps: Olympic swimmer set for competitive return

    Eighteen-time US Olympic swimming champion Michael Phelps says concerns about weight gain were behind his decision to return to the sport.
  • Scottish independence: Governments clash over pension costs

    An independent Scotland would have to fund pension costs of an additional £450 per working-age adult each year, the UK government has claimed.
  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com
  • Actress Jodie Foster marries girlfriend

    US actress Jodie Foster has married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, the actress' representative confirms.
  • Qualcomm shares dip on weak outlook

    Shares in Qualcomm, one of the world's biggest chipmakers, fell 5% in after hours trading as it issued a weaker than expected growth outlook.