53. The Court observes that at the relevant time there were only four judges, including Judge M.A., in the criminal section of the trial court (see paragraph 7 above). They were all full-time judges (compare and contrast Steck-Risch and Others v. Liechtenstein, no. 63151/00, 19 May 2005, concerning a case in which the same person had performed the dual functions of a judge and a practising lawyer). They all had similar functions, although Judge M.A. had particular responsibilities as president of the criminal section (compare and contrast K. v. Switzerland, no. 14090/88, 14 December 1988, where there was a distinction between ordinary and substitute judges). It cannot therefore be excluded that personal links had come to exist between the judges in the criminal section of the trial court.
54. In the Court’s view, the nature of these personal links is of importance when determining whether the applicant’s fears were objectively justified (see, mutatis mutandis, Steck-Risch and Others, cited above, § 45). In this connection, the Court will firstly assess the nature of the personal link between Judge M.A. and Judge C.K., who presided over the adjudicating panel of the trial court. The Court observes in this respect that Judge M.A. and Judge C.K. had been working together for at least two and a half years (see paragraphs 8 and 9 above). It has not been argued that they were particularly close, or that their relationship went beyond a professional relationship as colleagues (ibid., § 48). However, in this respect the Court considers relevant the fact that Judge C.K. had been working as a clerk with Judge M.A.
Curtea Europeană a Drepturilor Omului
(Hotărârea din data de 2 iunie 2016, Mitrov împotriva Macedoniei, disponibilă aici)