Monday, January 24, 2022

Correcting NY Times 19: How Jessica Bennett Lied About “Europe’s Top Human Rights Court Ruling” #1

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters



ECHR’s governing body in Strasbourg France

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Context Of This Post

Even in this short paragraph, Jessica Bennett misleads Times readers five times.

Ms. Knox and her boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, were ultimately acquitted of that crime, with Europe’s top human rights court ruling that she had been deprived of adequate legal aid during an interrogation, and that the DNA evidence used to convict her was flawed. It ordered Italy to pay her $21,000 in damages.

In other posts we’re rebutting Bennett’s “ultimately acquitted” (aka “exonerated”) and “interrogation” (there was none) misrepresentations.

Here, we’ll rebut Bennett’s ECHR misrepresentations of (1) an ECHR “ruling” against Italy; (2) an ECHR finding of “flawed DNA evidence”; and (3) the ECHR “ordering” Italy to pay, to result in a much less ecstatic take.

The timid out-popped-a-mouse 2019 ECHR advisory is blown up incessantly, even desperately, by Knox PR shills as a gotcha moment: “You see! Knox WAS abused all along! Even if the Italian Supreme Court won’t admit it, this “higher-level court” does!”

There are various global and regional courts in existence, with the UN’s International Criminal Court sitting at the top. Almost all only issue advisories, not rulings, and can never ever trump national-level courts. The Italian Supreme Court even tartly noted this, back in 2015!

And Italian defense lawyers are notorious for filing such frivolous claims: they clog up the European court during appeals in hopes of a windfall gain. The advisory was actually a major rebuff of their claim, and Knox’s calunnia conviction still stands firm.

Way back in November 2013, Kermit explained in this post below how the Knox team’s submission was already so riddled with illegalities that Italy could well ignore any advisory at all - as it nearly did.

The president of the panel of judges which issued the highly muddled advisory was in fact Italian - probably the only reason Italy accepted any of the advisory at all.

1. Introduction To This Post

Last Monday the main event that followers of the Meredith Kercher murder case were awaiting was the closing argument by Prosecutor Alessandro Crini in Amanda Knox’s and Raffaele Sollecito’s appeal trial.

Dr Crini’s structuring of the prosecution’s case in 16 points demolished the defendants’ efforts to present the volume of evidence against them as an incredible, long series of mistakes, coincidences and misunderstandings.

It seems, however, that Amanda Knox and her people didn’t want the public to be too fascinated by Dr Crini’s devastating argument.  They really wanted them to be distracted by what can only be seen as an ill-judged public relations move, breaking yet more laws along the way.

Knox attempted to blow smoke over the prosecution’s arguments by grandly announcing “today, my lawyers filed an appeal of my slander[sic] conviction with the European Court of Human Rights.”  That explanation of her PR ploy calls for a close review of her eligibility (here) and her so-called proof (next post).

2. Knox’s Eligibility Or Otherwise

The European Court of Human Rights, is a supranational European tribunal dedicated to - as its name suggests - human rights.

It is not dedicated to criminal or civil proceedings on murder, sexual assault, theft, simulation of a crime, or any of the other charges that Knox faces.

In fact, to avoid the many unnecessary or spurious applications which hamper real cases getting attended to, the ECHR provides a number of online resources on who may apply and how and why.

One of the first issues that its advice underlines is that it is not a glorified appeals court:





It is strange then, that Amanda Knox claims that her lawyers have “appealed” her case to the ECHR.

Either Knox’s legal advisors are just ignorant (which ones? The Italian professionals, or the American media hacks?) or this is simply a last-ditch Hail Mary action as an extradition request moves inexorably closer.

If the ECHR makes clear that it isn’t a court of appeal, there shouldn’t be any direct correlation between the Supreme Court confirming her as a convicted criminal and her application to the ECHR.

If that is in fact the basis of their application, it will not go far before rejection. In fact, the vast majority (more than 95%) of applications get rejected:

“For a number of years now, and owing to a variety of factors, the Court has been submerged by individual applications (over 130,000 were pending as at 31 August 2010). The overwhelming majority of these applications (more than 95%) are, however, rejected without being examined on the merits for failure to satisfy one of the admissibility criteria laid down by the Convention.

This situation is frustrating on two counts.

Firstly, as the Court is required to respond to each application, it is prevented from dealing within reasonable time-limits with those cases which warrant examination on the merits, without the public deriving any real benefit.

Secondly, tens of thousands of applicants inevitably have their claims rejected, often after years of waiting.”

It would be a outrageous if other, real human rights cases were delayed due to a Public Relations ruse as part of an extra-judicial strategy to undermine a request for Knox’s extradition.

Other ECHR on-line resources help potential applicants decide if they be eligible to be heard at the Court.

Below, a work-flow chart presents the main steps, including various “Admissibility Criteria”:



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1. A First Admissibility Criterion

The first Admissibility criterion is that an applicant has exhausted “domestic remedies” in pursuing the recognition and correction of the human rights he or she feels have been abused.

Knox in her application to the ECHR directly relates the Italian Supreme Court final confirmation of her “calunnia” sentence (three years for obstruction of justice for framing her kindly boss Patrick Lumumba as the murderer of Meredith Kercher, thereby throwing off the course of the investigation) to her application to the ECHR.

But what were the supposed human rights abuses suffered? What did she do to remedy them?

The first requirement of exhausting “domestic remedies” means that the rights abuses that Knox alleges she has suffered have been pursued in Italy, and that all possible instances of reclamation in Italy have been visited.

However, as far as the public knows, Knox has not even placed a formal complaint concerning supposed civil rights abuse. Certainly her own Italian lawyers have said they havent.

The US and Italian publics would be interested in seeing her specific claims to the ECHR and whether there is any registration of such claims or complaints with the Italian police or other administrative or NGO offices.

Knox’s needling stepfather, Chris Mellas, stated in April 2008 on a precursor to the PMF discussion forum that a complaint had been filed concerning Amanda being hit during questioning.



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However, nothing more has ever been heard of this complaint, which definitely would have been a starting point for pursuing domestic Italian remedies to the claimed rights abuse.

Since it appears zero rights abuses have been pursued in Italy, and the date of Knox’s application to the ECHR is in effect unrelated to her “calunnia” sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court, the six month limit beyond national remedies related to the rights abuse for applying to the ECHR is irrelevant here.

It should be noted that when Prosecutor Crini asked this week for an addition to Knox’s confirmed sentence for “calunnia”, adding another year to the three years already served by the convicted criminal, this is not a reopening of the “calunnia” case or an example of “double jeopardy”, but rather the reassessment on appeal of a separate, pending issue related to the basic calunnia charge: whether it should include an additional year of sentence for being aggravated.

Since this aggravation addition to the charge is awaiting determination, and follows from instructions of the Italian Supreme Court (and could result in an additional year in prison), it is not part of the prior, confirmed sentence.

2. A Second Admissibility Criterion

Now just in case Knox or her lawyers would like to allege any perceived human rights abuse whatsoever in their ECHR application, the Strasbourg court insists on the reclamation in question being directly related to one of the sections of the European Convention on Human Rights

I’ve gone through it and I see chapters related to illegal detention (detention permitted only following arrest) and torture, but nothing related to getting cuffed on the back of your head.

If such an event ever occurred, it shouldn’t have, but quite likely one of the other authorities or rights bodies listed by the ECHR may be better equipped to deal with it.

This is a second Admissibility Criterion that filters out many applications: one can’t simply run to the ECHR saying “my rights have been abused”, the issue at hand must be directly related to the European Convention on Human Rights.

I seriously doubt the “hitting” event ever occurred because Knox’s own Italian lawyer Luciano Ghirga denied it, stating to the Press on 21 October 2008:

Amanda wasn’t hit. There were pressures fom the police, sure, but we never said she was hit.

As our next post here on this same subject will show, even Knox herself admitted she was treated well. 

If Knox hasn’t even tried to remedy being allegedly hit in Italy by suing or making formal complaints, nevertheless the Italian police certainly have acted upon such suggestions.

A number of legal processes are under way against Knox and her family members for slander and calunnia. Knox might face two more charges of aggravated calunnia. Why do I doubt that Knox has even mentioned those other legal processes in her application to the ECHR?

Those charges would of course have to be taken care of (as part of “exhausting domestic remedies”) before the ECHR would be able to consider her application, assuming it surmounted all of its other shortcomings to get to the ECHR judges’ hands.

3. A Third Admissibility Criterion

Another Admissibility Criteria is the “Significant Disadvantage” filter. If an alleged rights abuse is minimal - compared to the very serious issues that the ECHR was created to consider - the application will go no further.

The only violent description of Knox’s alleged beating was given by her stepfather, Chris Mellas: “She was interrogated, and hit, and threatened” he typed. “Tortured.  Physically and mentally”.

However, there was never any medical or forensic notification of such “torture” before or after her incarceration in Capanne Prison.

Rather, Knox spent her time in prison receiving regular visits from a lovelorn Italian politician who befriended her, and participating in prison musical and theatrical activities.



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In underlying the “significant disadvantage” requirement, the ECHR states in its examples of rejected claims, that it can’t be distracted by the French driver who lost a point on his driver’s licence, or the Romanian who claims 90 euros from the State, when the Court has real and serious Human Rights cases to deal with such as:

  • El-Masri v. the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights:  Torture and inhuman and degrading treatment during and following applicant’s extraordinary rendition to CIA)

  • Hirsii Jamaa and others v. Italy (Article 4 of Protocol No. 4: Return of migrants intercepted on the high seas to country of departure)

It’s almost certain that Knox has not pursued on an Italian level any remedies to her alleged human rights abuse (whatever it was), nor is there any evidence that the investigation into Meredith Kercher’s murder and the subsequent trials of Knox, Rudy Guede and Raffaele Sollecito were affected in their outcome by the rights abuse.

3. Misrepresentation By Knox PR

This is especially the case if the limit of Knox’s human rights suffering is that described by a talky ex-FBI helicopter pilot turned ex-college security guy turned Amanda Knox groupie, Steve Moore.

Moore describes in numerous places the “frightful” circumstances of Knox’s witness questioning on the night of 6 November 2007 for the couple of hours (perhaps even somewhat less) that it lasted:

“Fifty-seven hours… tag teams… All night.. no food, no coffee, no bathroom breaks - nothing.”

4. In Interim Conclusion

Between the manifest doubtfulness of the acceptability of Knox’s application to the European Court of Human Rights, on one hand, and the falsehoods and half-truths in her announcement, on the other, why do I get the feeling that the only reason and hope she and her team have in announcing the application (whether really filed or not) is to distract the attention of the followers of her appeal trial from the prosecution’s weighty arguments?

This will have little if any effect on the wheels of Italian Justice, and probably even less on a State Department more concerned with maintaining good relations with European allies while diplomatic challenges occur in the Middle East and Asia, than with a lobby plan to prevent Knox’s extradition.

Posted by The TJMK Main Posters on 01/24/22 at 11:08 AM in

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