Analysis: “Lacatus v. Switzerland: a great judgment at the heart of human dignity” by Sébastien Van Drooghenbroeck
The Lacatus v. Switzerland case (application no. 14065/15) concerned whether it is compatible with Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), to impose an order for the applicant to pay a fine of 500 Swiss francs (approximately 464 euros), for begging in public in Geneva, and to place her in detention for five days for failure to pay the fine. The applicant, who is illiterate and comes from an extremely poor family, belongs to the Roma community.
In its judgement of 19 January 2020, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) affirmed that human dignity, which ‘underlies the spirit of the Convention’ (§ 56, own translation), is ‘seriously compromised if the person concerned does not have sufficient means of subsis