Belgium’s euthanasia law in the dock at European Court of Human Rights

The euthanizing of a woman in Belgium in accord with the country’s euthanasia laws is being investigated by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The court said it would consider whether Belgium had violated two parts of the European Convention on Human Rights in euthanizing Godelieva De Troyer, 64, who had struggled with depression for years. The woman’s own doctor refused to approve her euthanasia request, so she sought out other physicians who did.

Her son, Tom Mortier, who took the case said that Belgium failed to protect his mother’s life and that there was no thorough or effective investigation into her death.

Robert Clarke, one of Mortier’s lawyers, said there were some “deeply worrying” details about the case. “This was a woman who was under the care of a psychiatrist and according to medical definition was a vulnerable person,” Clarke said. “The state had a duty of care to protect her and it failed.”