Cavani vs. Ungaria

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Cavani v. Hungary (application no. 5493/13) ARPCC REF: [ngo2115]

The case concerned the Hungarian authorities’ failure to enforce a father’s access rights to his two daughters, despite him having been granted exclusive custody in Italy.

The applicants in this case are Francesco Cavani, an Italian national born in 1971, and his two daughters, Ester Cavani and Anna Maria Cavani, who were born in 2003 and 2004 respectively and who both hold dual Hungarian and Italian nationality. Francesco Cavani lives in Formigine (Italy). Ester and Anna Maria Cavani are currently apparently living with their mother, a Hungarian national and Mr Cavani’s ex-wife, in or near Budakeszi (Hungary). In 2004 Ester and Anna Maria were taken by their mother from Italy, where the family were living at the time, to Hungary. The mother having refused to return with the daughters to Italy, Mr Cavani brought proceedings before both the Hungarian and Italian courts. In November 2005 the Hungarian courts ordered the return of Mr Cavani’s daughters to Italy. The enforcement of that order remains unenforced to date: the mother was arrested in July 2010 on the basis of a European arrest warrant but was released shortly after without Mr Cavani being reunited with his daughters or their whereabouts being established; she was also sentenced to a 200-day fine in her absence in October 2011. In the meantime, the Italian courts granted Mr Cavani exclusive custody of his daughters and annulled the marriage between Mr Cavani and his ex-wife. Mr Cavani also subsequently withdrew a criminal suit for child abduction before the Italian courts in the hope of appeasing the situation and allowing his ex-wife to travel freely to Italy with is daughters.

Relying on Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, Mr Cavani and his daughters complained that the Hungarian authorities had repeatedly failed to enforce the legally binding decision of November 2005, with the result that they had not been able to see one another since 2005, even occasionally.

Violation of Article 8 Just satisfaction: 3,000 euros (EUR) to Mr Cavani and EUR 3,000 jointly to Ester Cavani and Anna Maria Cavani (non-pecuniary damage), and EUR 6,500 to Mr Cavani (costs and expenses)