Leto is a specialist human rights and criminal law practitioner. She has substantial experience in representing applicants before the European Court of Human Rights, at all stages of the proceedings, including in Grand Chamber hearings.
In addition, Leto has more than 13 years’ experience providing advice in cases before the International Criminal Court, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
She has acted as expert in human rights for various international organisations, including the Council of Europe and the OSCE. She is currently serving as Legal Officer at the Chambers of the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague.
Leto has substantial experience in representing applicants before the European Court of Human Rights at all stages of the proceedings, including Grand Chamber hearings. She has worked on a vast variety of issues arising under the Convention and has an encyclopedic knowledge of Strasbourg case law.
Leto represented Kafkaris, along with Achilleas Demetriades, in proceedings before the Cypriot Supreme Court and subsequently in Strasbourg challenging the lawfulness of the imposition under Cypriot law of mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The proceedings were concluded when the Grand Chamber of the Court found that there had been a violation of Article 7 of the Convention.
Leto, along with Achilleas Demetriades, represented Azinas who complained of a violation of Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 in relation to his dismissal from the Cypriot public service and the consequent forfeiture of his pension rights. The Chamber judgment found that the applicant had acquired a right to a pension when entering the public service in Cyprus, which right constituted a “possession” for the purposes of the Convention. The Grand Chamber subsequently found that it had no jurisdiction over the case.
She acted in a number of applications representing Greek Cypriots challenging the continuing violation of their rights to property and peaceful enjoyment of their homes situated in the northern part of Cyprus as a result of the Turkish invasion of 1974. She also represented the families of persons who went “missing” after being captured by Turkish forces in Cyprus in 1974.
She advised a Turkish Cypriot conscientious objector who was convicted by the Turkish authorities for failing to serve in the reservist service of their armed forces in proceedings in Strasbourg complaining of a violation of his rights under Articles 9, 13, and 14 of the Convention. The case has been communicated and is currently pending before the Court.
She advised applicants living in informal Roma settlements in Slovenia who issued proceedings in Strasbourg against the Slovenian government complaining of a violation of Articles 3 and 8 of the Convention on account of the poor sanitation and lack of safe drinking water at their settlement as well as a violation of Article 14 due to the lack of initiative aimed at eliminating inequality against the Roma community by the competent authorities. The case is currently pending before the Court.
She also advised the Cypriot government with regard to the High-Level Conferences on the future of the Court in 2011 and 2012.
Whilst serving as Case Lawyer with the European Court of Human Rights, Leto worked on a number of high-profile cases raising issues in all areas of human rights law.
Notable cases include:
Rantsev v. Cyprus and Russia (lead judgment on prohibition of forced labour and human trafficking. The case concerned the complaints under Articles 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8 of the Convention brought by the father of a Russian girl who had been trafficked in Cyprus and was ultimately killed);
Panovits v. Cyprus (lead judgment on the right to legal representation of minors during police interrogation. The Court found multiple violations of Article 6 and for the first time endorsed the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree in respect of the reliance by the Cypriot Assize Court for the purposes of the applicant’s conviction on a tainted confession);
Sufi and Elmi v. the UK (concerning the applicants’ proposed expulsion to Mogadishu, Somalia, which was ultimately suspended due to the intense indiscriminate violence posing a real risk to civilians in Mogadishu at the time);
NA v. the UK (concerning the applicant’s proposed expulsion to Sri Lanka and his fear of persecution as a result of the climate of general violence in Sri Lanka at the time).
Leto can give pre-publication advice to journalists on a number of areas of media law, including defamation, privacy, and whistleblowing protection.
She advised a journalist complaining in Strasbourg of a violation of his right to freedom of expression as a result of being found responsible for libel when criticising the former deputy Attorney-General of Cyprus. The case has been communicated and is currently pending before the Court.
Whilst serving as Case Lawyer with the European Court of Human Rights, she worked on a number of high-profile cases raising various issues under Article 10 of the Convention. Notable cases include:
MGN Ltd v. the UK (concerning the proceedings related to an article in the Daily Mirror portraying Naomi Campbell as a drug addict);
Wall Street Journal Europe SPRL and others v. the UK (concerning complaints of a violation of Articles 6 and 10 of the Convention with regard to the publication of an article associating Saudi businessmen with funneling funds to terrorist organisations);
Alithia Publishing Company Ltd and Constantinides v. Cyprus (concerning the publication of a series of articles accusing a former minister of defence of Cyprus of misappropriation of public funds).
Sigma Radio Television Ltd v. Cyprus (concerning fines imposed on the applicant by the Cypriot Broadcasting Authority).
Leto has worked on a number of high-profile cases at various international criminal tribunals.
Most recently, she advised the Appeals Chamber of the United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in a number of cases including the appeal proceedings in the cases of Radovan Karadžić, Augustin Ngirabatware, Uwinkindi as well as various contempt proceedings.
She assisted the Trial Chamber of the ICTY in the trials of Ratko Mladić and Stanišić & Simatović.
She advised the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court on the Kenyan situation and particularly with regard to the decision authorising the ICC Prosecutor to investigate ex proprio motu the Kenyan situation, which was the first ICC decision authorising such investigations.
Furthermore, she advised an international NGO, which seeks the restitution of art and cultural goods looted during armed conflicts.
Leto advised the investigating judge appointed by the President of the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals to conduct the investigation into the circumstances of death of a detainee at the UN Detention Unit in The Hague and report on the findings of his investigation to the UN Security Council.
- ‘Circumnavigating the Conflict Between the Right to Reputation and the Right to Freedom of Expression’ in E. Brems and S. Smet (eds), When Human Rights Clash at the European Court of Human Rights (OUP, 2017);
- ‘The Applicability of the European Convention of Human Rights in Situations of Effective Control over Another State’s Internationally Recognised Territory’, in Protection of Human Rights in Administrative Proceedings: Developments in the Ukraine (Kiev, 2015) (in Ukrainian);
- ‘Two Variations on a Theme: Privacy and Reputation’, in J. Casadevall et al. (eds), Mélanges en l’honneur de Dean Spielmann (Wolf Legal Publishers, October 2015);
- ‘Protection of Reputation under the European Convention of Human Rights’ (with D. Spielmann), in D. Spielmann, M. Tsirli and P. Voyatzis (eds.), The European Convention on Human Rights, A Living Instrument (Brussels, Bruylant, 2011);
- ‘The search for an equilibrium undertaken by the European Court of Human Rights’, in E. Brems (ed.), Conflicts Between Fundamental Rights (Intersentia, 2008);
- ‘The right to reputation’ (with D. Spielmann), in Law in the Changing Europe: Liber Amicorum Pranas Kuris (Mykolo Romerio Universitetas, 2008);
- ‘Article 47 - Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial', in Commentary of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU by EU Network of Independent Experts on Fundamental Rights (June 2006).
Journal articles and informational notes:
- Editor-In-Chief, Cyprus Human Rights Law Review (2011-2017);
- ‘The Developing Law of Privacy and the Limits to the Public Interest Defence: The Grand Chamber Judgment in Couderc and Hachette Filipacchi Associés v France’, Media Law Journal (2016).
- ‘Advancing the Court’s Remedial Competence and Complementary Role in the Field of Execution: The Cyprus v Turkey (Just Satisfaction) Judgment’, Cyprus Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 3 (2014);
- ‘Salduz and the Right to Legal Assistance - Report on NJCM Conference’, Nederlands Tijdscrhift voor de Mensenrechten, Vol. 38, No. 1 (2013);
- ‘Recent case-law of the European Court of Human Rights concerning minorities’, European Yearbook of Minority Issues ,Vol. 6 (2006/2007) and Vol. 7 (2007/2008);
- ‘The right not to be offended by members of the British National Party: An analysis of Serco Ltd v Redfearn in the light of the European Convention of Human Rights’, Industrial Law Journal, Vol. 35, No. 4 (December 2006).
Co-author, Annual report on the situation of fundamental rights in the Republic of Cyprus, Cellule de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Droits de l’Homme (2003 and 2004), www.cpdr.ucl.ac.be/cridho.
LLB (King’s College London);
LLM in Public International Law (University College London);
MA in Legal and Political Theory (University College London).
Greek (native fluency)
Dutch (working knowledge)
French (working knowledge)