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12 years in court over a stolen cow too much: Europe court

The European rights court criticised Luxembourg Thursday for not wrapping up a case of a stolen cow nearly 12 years after it went to trial, and ordered it pay the aggrieved farmer 17,500 euros.

“Over 11 years of proceedings for a straightforward case is excessive,” said a European Court of Human Rights statement on the judgement.

Farmer Gustave Rausch, 59, lodged a criminal complaint against his neighbour in 1998, accusing him of stealing the cow and fraudulently changing its identification number.

More than 11 years and seven months later, the farmer was still waiting for a verdict.

He complained to the Europe Court of Human Rights based in Strasbourg, France that his right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time had been violated, the statement said.

The court agreed, pointing out the “non-complex nature” of the case, and ordered Luxembourg to pay Rausch 16,000 euros in damages as a result of the length of the proceedings and 1,500 euros for costs.