In a victory for South Africa’s middle distance Olympic champion, Caster Semenya has won a judicial challenge to compete without using medicines to suppress her testosterone levels.
The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday that Semenya was discriminated against while challenging World Athletics regulations, as she was not afforded “sufficient institutional and procedural safeguards in Switzerland to allow her to have her complaints examined effectively.”
Semenya challenged the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), now known as World Athletics, over rules requiring her to take hormone treatment to lower her natural testosterone level in order to complete internationally in the female category.
Having refused to take testosterone treatment, Semenya approached the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and the Federal Court, but both turned her down.
According to IOL, Semenya’s complaints, which involved substantiated and credible charges of discrimination because of her high testosterone level brought on by differences in sex development, were not given a fair chance to be examined, the European Court of Human Rights declared on Tuesday
“The high stakes of the case for the applicant and the narrow margin of appreciation afforded to the respondent State should have led to a thorough institutional and procedural review, but the applicant had not been able to obtain such a review. The Court also found that the domestic remedies available to the applicant could not be considered effective in the circumstances of the present case,” the court ruled.
The European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority (4 votes to 3), that there had been:
- a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) taken together with Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights, and
- a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) in relation to Article 14 taken together with Article 8 of the Convention.
Main Image: IOL