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Italy's High Court: Loud Toilet Flush Is Violation Of Human Rights

A not-so-neighborly Italian saga that extends from the porcelain depths of our most basic needs to the altar of European justice.

Photo of a toilet bowl

Unconstitutionally loud

An Italian couple has won a two-decade-long court battle that invoked an international treaty signed after World War II in order to prove the acceptable volume of a toilet flush.

The ordeal started as a typical neighborhood quarrel, yet spanned nearly two decades and eventually made its way up to Italy's Highest Court this week, Rome daily La Repubblica reports.


It all began in 2003, when four brothers built a new toilet in their apartment located in the La Spezia province of northwest Italy. The husband and wife living next door soon complained that the toilet was used frequently during the night, and the flush was so loud it woke them up each time.

A matter of three decibels


The couple took their case to court, demanding a resolution of the noise problem and the payment of damages; but the trial judge rejected their case.

The couple decided to take their case to the appeals court of Genoa, triggering an inspection of the two flats that ultimately found in their favor. Investigators reported that they'd discovered "a significant excess of three decibels over the standards required by legislation." Translation: that flush was too damn loud.

The four brothers were required to change the WC flush location in the flat, and to pay 500 euros per year, beginning from the toilet's installation in 2003.

European Convention on Human Rights 

The four brothers ultimately decided to bring “the flush case” to the Court of Cassation, the highest court of appeal in Italy.

But finally the high court ruled in favor of the couple, considering the impact the flush had on their quality of life as an infringement of a right "to respect one's own private and family life," constitutionally guaranteed protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Wash your hands. Turn out the lights. After 19 years of battle, the fate of the four brothers was sealed and the war of the flush silenced forever.

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Geopolitics

NATO Entry For Sweden And Finland? Erdogan May Not Be Bluffing

When the two Nordic countries confirmed their intention to join NATO this week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his plans to block the application. Accusing Sweden and Finland of' "harboring" some of his worst enemies may not allow room for him to climb down.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO

Meike Eijsberg

-Analysis-

LONDON — When Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared his opposition to Finland and Sweden entering NATO, it took most of the West's top diplomatic experts by surprise — with the focus squarely on how Russia would react to having two new NATO members in the neighborhood. (So far, that's been a surprise too)

But now Western oversight on Turkey's stance has morphed into a belief in some quarters that Erdogan is just bluffing, trying to get concessions from the negotiations over such a key geopolitical issue.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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To be clear, any prospective NATO member requires the consent of all 30 member states and their parliaments. So Erdogan does indeed have a card to play, which is amplified by the sense of urgency: NATO, Sweden and Finland are keen to complete the accession process with the war in Ukraine raging and the prospect of strengthening the military alliance's position around the Baltic Sea.

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