Bianchi v. Switzerland, Application No. 7548/04

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The application related to a boy born in November 1999. He lived in Italy with his parents until they separated in June 2002 and he was removed to Switzerland by his mother. In September 2002 the father petitioned the Swiss authorities for the return of his son. Following a series of hearings which culminated in a judgment of the Federal Supreme Court in April 2003 the boy and mother returned to Italy.
In December 2003 during a contact visit the mother took the child back to Switzerland. On 6 January 2004 the father filed a return petition with the court of first instance in Willisau. On 28 January the father filed a criminal complaint which resulted in the mother receiving a 300 SFr (€191) fine.
On 21 February the father filed a petition with the European Court of Human Rights. On 3 May the Willisau court refused to order the return of the child finding that the child did not want to go back to Italy and that he had stronger links with the mother than the father On 12 July a court of appeal in Lucerne overturned the order of the Willisau court and ordered that the child be returned to Italy before 31 July.
On 30 July the mother’s lawyer announced that the mother would not hand over the child or permit any further contact with the father until a challenge to the Federal Supreme Court had been heard. On 2 August the father contacted the prefecture in Willisau to have the decision of 12 July enforced.
On 10 August the prefecture ordered the local police to question the mother and to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the abduction. On 15 August the mother visited the local police station alone. She refused to divulge the child’s location and stated that she could be contacted through her lawyer. The police did not detain her.
In September an arrest warrant was issued against the mother. Form 6 September surveillance measures commenced against the mother, members of the matrimonial family and connected people. On 15 October the Federal Supreme Court rejected the mother’s challenge finding that the child did not face a grave risk of harm if returned [INCADAT Reference: HC/E/CH 793].
On 24 January 2006 the mother requested the revision of the Federal Supreme Court decision of October 2004 and petitioned for legal aid. On 15 February the court of appeal in Lucerne struck out this request. On 12 April a challenge to the Federal Supreme Court was similarly rejected [INCADAT Reference: HC/E/CH 840]. The location of the child remains unknown.