The European Court of Human Rights ruled that longstanding Irish laws against homosexuality violate human rights. The 8-6 ruling marked a victory for David Norris, an Irish homosexual and advocate of homosexual rights who filed the case. Although rarely used, 19th-Century Irish laws ban certain homosexual acts, even if carried out in private between consenting adults. An 1861 Irish law punishes sodomy with a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. Norris based his argument on the international Human Rights Convention, which establishes respect for private life. The European Court, in Strasbourg, France, has no power to enforce its ruling.