Qama v. Albania and Italy (Application No 4604/09)

INCADAT legal file Hague parental abduction

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The proceedings related to a child born to married parents in 1994. The child and his mother moved from Albania, where they had been living, to Italy in 1999. The mother was suffering from a serious disease. The father joined the family in Italy sometime thereafter.
In the summer of 2002, the father was expelled from Italy for immigration reasons. The mother and child remained. The mother died on 7 October 2002. On 17 October, the child’s maternal aunt issued proceedings in Italy for custody of the child. This was granted on 4 June 2003. The order also suspended the parents’ parental rights.
The father raised various criminal and civil proceedings in Albania, seeking the return of his child to Albania and contact. On 30 June 2006, the District Court at Durr?s (Albania) made a contact order in favour of the father. On 27 November 2006, an execution writ was issued in respect of the District Court’s decision.
On 24 July 2008, the District Court rejected the father’s action to have the decisions of 29 December 2004 and 30 June 2006 recognised pursuant to the Hague Child Abduction Convention and the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention on the ground that those decisions were directly enforceable in Albania.
On 15 November 2007, the father, relying on the Hague Child Abduction Convention and the 1996 Hague Child Protection Convention requested the Italian Ministry of Justice to institute proceedings for the validation of the order of 30 June 2006 and the enforcement of his right of contact.
On 16 February 2009, the father was advised by the Albanian Ministry of that there was no legal basis to request the Italian authorities to recognise and enforce an Albanian decision, since Albania was not a party to any international agreements which governed the recognition and enforcement of Albanian civil court decisions.
The father filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights (ECrtHR) against the Republic of Albania and against Italy lodged on 23 December 2008.