The ECHR (the European Court of Human Rights) has just made its decision concerning Vincent Lambert’s life public.
It has concluded that the Léonetti Law (2005), on which Dr Kariger based his decision to stop feeding Vincent, is compatible with the article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Thus, it decided that the principle of subsidiarity, i.e. the freedom of the member states, is the rule regarding the legislation on euthanasia.
The court ruled as inadmissible the attempt at calling upon the compatibility with article 3 of the convention (inhumane and degrading treatments) to overrule the decision.
For now, the Foundation deplores that Europe does not recognise Vincent Lambert and the thousands of seriously disabled people as patients who require specific care in order to give their daily life a bit of humanity (for example physiotherapy, which has been denied to Vincent for months).
For tomorrow, the Foundation is worried: the ECHR has proved through its decision that it does not consider the absence of care to the weakest to be an inhumane and degrading treatment. Furthermore, it considers that stopping vital care such as feeding, which leads to the death of the patient, is not contrary to the right to live. Such a negation of the right to live and to the right to not endure inhumane and degrading treatment will not help the European people to feel reassured concerning the consideration given to human rights in Europe. This ruling is so outrageous it simply cannot be considered as legitimate.
Jean-Marie Le Méné, president of the Jérôme Lejeune Foundation and member of the support committee for Vincent Lambert, reacts: « Today, we are very worried that people like Vincent Lambert, quadriplegic and in an altered state of consciousness, are no longer protected by the Convention. It has become legal to take the life of a disabled person. It is a major turning point in the history of fundamental rights.
The fight for Vincent Lambert does not end here. This decision taken by the ECHR does not however condemn Vincent to die. Another decision may still be taken. Everything now relies on the hospital. As Dr Kariger has left the hospital, the procedure which consists of stopping Vincent Lambert’s feeding and hydration is no longer effective as it is not binding for the new doctor who has taken his place. We intend to carry on accompanying and helping Vincent’s parents so that something may be done very soon to save his life. For tomorrow, the mobilization against euthanasia is still awaiting. First in France, in the weeks to come, and then also in Europe. The Jérôme Lejeune Foundation remains committed towards medicine such as Hippocrates saw it, medicine that relieves people from pain and treats them, medicine that serves any person living with a disability, medicine that does not kill.”