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ECtHR, XX v. Germany, No. 65655/01, 2006
  • 2006
  • Germany
Membership in a terrorist organisation Violent extremism Public security
Legal bases
European Convention on Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)
Right to a fair trial Proportionality Right to an effective remedy

The applicant is a stateless person residing in Lebanon. An arrest warrant was issued against him for being suspect in the preparation of the bomb attack of a discotheque in Berlin in 1986 in order to kill members of the American armed forces. In 1996, the applicant were extradited to Germany from Lebanon and held in detention. The German courts found that his further detention had remained proportionate, having regard to the persistence of reasonable suspicions against him, the character and seriousness of the offences, and the particular public interest in the prosecution of these offences. In 2001, the applicant was convicted of aiding and abetting murder, attempted murder and causing an explosion. The applicant complained in particular about the excessive length of his detention on remand, which lasted approximately five and-a-half years.

Legal grounds

Article 5 § 3 of the ECHR


The Court held that there had been no violation of Article 5§3 of the Convention, finding that, in the exceptional circumstances of the present case, the length of the applicant’s detention could be regarded as reasonable. In particular, the Court noted that the case had concerned a particularly complex investigation and trial into large-scale offences that had been committed in the context of international terrorism. It also noted that States combating terrorism might be faced with extraordinary difficulties. The Court accepted the justifications given by the German courts for the applicant’s continued detention and took the view that the competent judicial authorities could not be said to have displayed a lack of special diligence in handling his case.