STRASBURG - The European Court of Human Rights on Thursday, April 12, upheld a German ban on incest, rejecting an appeal against the conviction of a German man over an incestuous relationship with his sister.
All the legal systems reviewed, including those which did not impose criminal liability, prohibited siblings from getting married, the Strasburg-based court said in a ruling cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).
"There was therefore a broad consensus that sexual relationships between siblings were neither accepted by the legal order nor by society as a whole.
Patrick Stuebing has had four children from an incestuous relationship with his sister.
He was sentenced to 14 months in prison by a German court in 2005 over the affair with his sister.
The German court ruled that his conviction was aimed at the protection of morals and the rights of others."
His sister was never convicted, having been found by a German court to have a personality disorder and only partially liable for her actions.
Germany's high court upheld the conviction in 2008 noting that the law against incest was aimed at "protecting the family from the damaging effects of incest."
He, however, challenged the verdict with the ECHR, arguing that the verdict violated his privacy.
But the European court rejected the argument, ruling that Germany was entitled to ban incest.
"Furthermore, the German courts had carefully weighed the arguments when convicting the applicant," the court said.
The court said the main basis of punishment for incestuous relationships was the protection of marriage and the family, and because it blurs family roles.
It also noted that incest carries the risk of significant damage to children born of such a relationship.Two of Stuebing's children are already disabled.