Friday, 19 May 2017

New ECHR Readings

Please find a number of new ECHR readings from journals and blogs below: 

* Vassilis P. Tzevelekos, 'The Al-Dulimi Case before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights: Business as usual? Test of Equivalent Protection, (Constitutional) Hierarchy and Systemic Integration', Questions of International Law, no. 38 (2017).

* Onder Bakircioglu and Brice Dickson, 'The European Convention in Conflicted Societies: The Experience of Northern Ireland and Turkey', International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 66, issue 2 (2017).

The newest volume of the Hungarian Yearbook of International Law and European Law (2016) includes:

* Veronika Szeghalmi, 'Private Messages at Work – Strasbourg Court of Human Right’s Judgement in Bărbulescu v. Romania Case'. 
* Zoltán Tallódi, The Question of Prison Overcrowding as Reflected in the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights''.
* János Tamás Papp, 'Liability for Third-Party Comments before the European Court of Human Rights – Comparing the Estonian Delfi and the Hungarian Index-MTE Decisions'.

And over on EJILTalk! the following recent postsa relate to the ECHR and the Court's Judgments:

* Alice Donald, ‘Tackling Non-Implementation in the Strasbourg System: The Art of the Possible?’.
* Vladislava Stoyanova, ‘Irregular Migrants and the Prohibition of Slavery, Servitude, Forced Labour & Human Trafficking under Article 4 of the ECHR’.
* Marko Milanovic, ‘Strasbourg Judgment on the Beslan Hostage Crisis’. (on the same judgment, see laso Ed Bates' piece here).

Friday, 12 May 2017

Book on ECHR History

Marco Duranti, a historian based at the University of Sydney, has written an important new study about the origins of the European Convention of Human Rights. The book, published by Oxford University Press, is entitled 'The Conservative Human Rights Revolution -European Identity, Transnational Politics, and the Origins of the European Convention'. Based on extensive archival research, it proposes that - contrary to the image, in the eyes of many, of the Court in the past decades as a progressive developer of human rights - the original Convention negotiations were dominated by political conservatives, who saw the Strasbourg system as a safeguard for stability and containment rather than as a tool for change. This is the abstract:

'The Conservative Human Rights Revolution radically reinterprets the origins of the European human rights system, arguing that its conservative inventors envisioned the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) not only as an instrument to contain communism and fascism in continental Europe, but also to allow them to pursue a controversial political agenda at home and abroad. Just as the Supreme Court of the United States had sought to overturn Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, a European Court of Human Rights was meant to constrain the ability of democratically elected governments to implement left-wing policies that conservatives believed violated their basic liberties, above all in Britain and France.

Human rights were also evoked in the service of reviving a romantic Christian vision of European identity, one that contrasted sharply with the modernizing projects of technocrats such as Jean Monnet. Rather than follow the model of the United Nations, conservatives such as Winston Churchill grounded their appeals for new human rights safeguards in an older understanding of European civilization. All told, these efforts served as a basis for reconciliation between Germany and the rest of Europe, while justifying the exclusion of communists and colonized peoples from the ambit of European human rights law.

Marco Duranti illuminates the history of internationalism and international law — from the peace conferences and world's fairs of the early twentieth century to the grand pan-European congresses of the postwar period — and elucidates Churchill's Europeanism, as well as his critical contribution to the genesis of the ECHR. Drawing on previously unpublished material from twenty archives in six countries, The Conservative Human Rights Revolution revisits the ethical foundations of European integration after WWII and offers a new perspective on the crisis in which the European Union finds itself today.'

Friday, 5 May 2017

Event on Implementation of ECtHR Judgments in the UK

On 15 May, the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law and Leicester Law School are organizing an event in London, entitled 'Implementation of the European Court of Human Rights: Opportunities and Challenges for he Rule of Law'. The event will focus on the United Kingdom's implementation record and more broadly on the impact of Strasbourg judgments in the UK. According to the organizers, the speakers will "consider the UK government's recent report 'Responding to Human Rights Judgments' which outlines its position on the implementation of the Court's judgments and responds to recommendations made by the Joint Committee on Human Rights in its 2015 scrutiny report 'Human Rights Judgments'. We will also hear a UK government perspective "from the inside" on the Committee of Ministers and its work supervising the execution of judgments. Speakers will then consider the wider picture of implementation across the member states and will reflect on the process for the execution of judgments and the role of the Committee of Ministers in this regard."

The event will be held at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law in the early evening (at 17h30). Speakers will include Ed Bates, Nuala Mole and Philip Leach. For more information, see here.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Book on Procedural Review in European Fundamental Rights Cases

My colleague, SIM fellow and Utrecht University, Professor Janneke Gerards and Eva Brems of Ghent University have published a co-edited volume entitled 'Procedural Review in European Fundamental Rights Cases' with Cambridge University Press. With a wide range of chapters, it unites and compares the approaches of the European Court of Human Rights with those of other bodies. This is the abstract: 

'Traditionally, courts adjudicate fundamental rights cases by applying substantive tests of reasonableness or proportionality. Increasingly, however, European courts are also expressly taking account of the quality of the procedure that has led up to a fundamental rights interference. Yet this procedural review is far from uncontroversial. There still is a lack of clarity as to what 'procedural review' really means, what its potential for judicial decision-making is, how it relates and should relate to substantive review, and what its limitations are. Featuring contributions from experts in the field, this book is the first in-depth study into procedural review, considering the theoretical and conceptual issues at play, as well as the applicability of procedural review in different legal systems. It will therefore be of great importance to scholars and practitioners interested in fundamental rights adjudication in Europe, judicial reasoning and procedural justice'

Congratulations, Janneke and Eva!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Conference on Derogations from the ECHR and Situations of Emergency

On 4 May, the Institute of International Law and International Relations of the University of Graz is organising a confernece entitled "Derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights under Contemporary Situations of Emergency". The conference will be held at the Faculty of Law. Beyond a general European perspective, cases studies of four countries are included: the United Kingdom, Ukraine, France and Turkey.

The full conference programme can be found here. To register, please send a message to: bettina.friedl (at) uni-graz.at 

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

My Article on Influence of ECHR Anti-Torture Jurisprudence on the UN Human Rights Committee

I have just posted on SSRN my new paper on jurisprudential influences of Strasbourg case-law on the work of the United Nations Human Rights Committee. It is entitled 'Echoes of Strasbourg in Geneva. The Influence of ECHR Anti-Torture Jurisprudence on the United Nations Human Rights Committee'. This is the abstract: 

"In this article the influence of the European Court of Human Rights’ case-law on the United Nations Human Rights Committee will be analysed. This particular choice of supervisory bodies enables us to trace such potential influence adequately since both the Court and the Committee supervise treaties which mainly concern civil and political rights: the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Both are legally binding elaborations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many of the rights in the two treaties are, as a consequence, formulated in a similar way. This facilitates a systematic comparison between the case-law of the two supervisory institutions. To map the possible influence of the Court’s jurisprudence on the Committee’s work as precisely and concretely as possible, I will focus on the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment."

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Book on Equality of Arms under Article 6 ECHR

Omkar Sidhu has published the book 'The Concept of Equality of Arms in Criminal Proceedings under Article 6 of The European Convention on Human Rights' with Intersentia Publishers. This is the abstract:

"Inherent to and at the very core of the right to a fair criminal trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights is the concept of equality of arms (procedural equality) between the parties, the construct given detailed and innovative treatment in this book. 

As a contextual prelude to more specific analysis of this concept under Article 6, certain influential historical developments in trial safeguards which mark a centuries-long evolution in standards of, and the value attributed to, procedural fairness are identified to establish a background to Article 6 before its inception. Thereafter, the book offers a thorough theoretical insight into equality of arms, investigating its multi-faceted value, identifying its contemporary legal basis in Article 6 and in international law, and defining its fundamental constituent elements to elucidate its nature, including its underpinning relationship with Article 6(3). The book argues that the most important of these constituent elements––the requirement of ‘disadvantage’––is not equated by the European Court of Human Rights with inequality in itself, which would be a dignitarian interpretation, but with inequality that gives rise to actual or, in some circumstances, inevitable prejudice. This proposition is the golden thread running through the analytical heart of the book’s survey of case-law in which the Court’s approach to procedural equality in practice is demonstrated and assessed within the context of the Article 6(3) rights to challenge and call witness evidence, to adequate time and facilities, and to legal assistance. 

The end result is a book for both scholars and practitioners that will not only forge an enhanced general understanding of procedural fairness safeguards and standards, including from a historical perspective, but also provoke, more specifically, new reflection on the concept of equality of arms."

Monday, 3 April 2017

Enroll for May Edition of MOOC on ECHR

After two successful editions and over 8000 participants in total, we have now opened up enrollment for the third edition of the MOOC 'Human Rights for Open Societies - An Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights'. The starting date is 8 May, but you can already enroll now.

More information: This course was developed by Antoine Buyse, Janneke Gerards and Paulien de Morree, connected to the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) at Utrecht Law School.

Human rights are under pressure in many places across the globe. Peaceful protests are violently quashed. Voting is tampered with. And often, minorities are excluded from decision-making. All of this threatens the ideal of an open society in which each of us can be free and participate equally. A solid protection of human rights is needed for an open society to exist and to flourish. But it often is an uphill battle to work towards that ideal. 

The course will help participants equip themselves and learn more about what human rights are and how they work. They will learn when and how people can turn to the European Court of Human Rights to complain about human rights violations. And they will learn when and how the Court tries to solve many of the difficult human rights dilemmas of today. The course looks at, amongst others, the freedom of expression and demonstration, the right to vote, and the prohibition of discrimination. The rights of migrants,  refugees, and other vulnerable groups will also be addressed in this MOOC. Finally, the course will look into the question of whether it is possible to restrict rights and under what conditions. 

Is this a course for you?
This course is open to everyone interested in the protection of human rights and the linkages with open and democratic societies. 

Interested in participating? 
The MOOC ‘Human Rights for Open Societies – An Introduction to the European Convention on Human Rights’ will start on May 8, 2017. 

Enroll here on Coursera. Enrollment is for free – participants only pay a fee if they want to obtain a certificate at the end of the course.

Friday, 31 March 2017

New ECHR Readings

At the end of the month a short list of recent ECHR-related writings:

* Fiona de Londras (Birmingham University) and Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (Liverpool University) have published 'Mission Impossible? Addressing Non-Execution Through Infringement Proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights', in the International and Comparative Law Quarterly, vol. 66, no. 2 (2017):

'Non-execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights is a matter of serious concern. In order to address it, the reasons for and dynamics of non-execution need to be fully considered. This paper engages with non-execution by sketching the underpinning issues that help to explain it and, we argue, must shape our responses to it. Through this engagement, we conclude that non-execution is properly understood as a phenomenon that requires political rather than legal responses. This calls into question the usefulness of the infringement proceedings contained in Article 46(4) of the Convention and which it has recently been suggested ought to be embraced in attempts to address non-execution. We argue that, even if the practical difficulties of triggering Article 46(4) proceedings could somehow be overcome, the dynamics of non-execution suggest that such proceedings would be both futile and counterproductive, likely to lead to backlash against the Court and unlikely to improve States’ execution of its judgments.'

* Vladislava Stoyanova of Lund University had published a book on Article 4 ECHR, with Cambridge University Press, entitled 'Human Trafficking and Slavery Reconsidered. Conceptual Limits and States' Positive Obligations in European Law':

'By reconsidering the definitions of human trafficking, slavery, servitude and forced labour, Vladislava Stoyanova demonstrates how, in embracing the human trafficking framework, the international community has sidelined the human rights law commitments against slavery, servitude and forced labour that in many respects provide better protection for abused migrants. Stoyanova proposes two corrective steps to this development: placing a renewed emphasis on determining the definitional scope of slavery, servitude or forced labour, and gaining a clearer understanding of states' positive human rights obligations. This book compares anti-trafficking and human rights frameworks side-by-side and focuses its analysis on the Council of Europe's Trafficking Convention and Article 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights. With innovative arguments and pertinent case studies, this book is an important contribution to the field and will appeal to students, scholars and legal practitioners interested in human rights law, migration law, criminal law and EU law.'

* Nikolaos Sitaropoulos (Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights) has published a research paper on SSRN entitled 'Migrant Ill -Treatment in Greek Law Enforcement – Are the Strasbourg Court Judgments the Tip of the Iceberg?':

'The present paper aims to provide an analysis of the first major judgments of the Strasbourg Court which usefully shed light on the underlying, long-standing systemic failures of the Greek rule of law. The author argues that these judgments are in fact only the tip of the iceberg. For this the paper looks into the process of supervision of these judgments’ execution by Greece, which is pending before the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers, as well as into alarming reports issued notably by CPT as well as by the Greek Ombudsman. The paper also highlights the question of racial violence that has not been so far the subject of analysis in the Court’s judgments concerning ill-treatment in Greece. However, a number of reports, especially the annual reports of the Greek Racist Violence Recording Network since 2012, record numerous cases of racist violence by law enforcement officials targeting migrants and the ineffective responses by the administrative and judicial authorities. The paper’s concluding observations provide certain recommendations in order to enhance Greek law and practice and eradicate impunity.'

* The European Court's proceedings of its annual seminar 'Dialogues Between Judges', at the opening of the court's judicial year. are available on a dedicated web page.

Monday, 20 March 2017

René Cassin Competition This Week

This week, the 32nd edition of the René Cassin Competition will be held in Strasbourg. It is the oldest French-language moot court competition on the European Convention on Human Rights. This year, the topic is health and European human rights law. Thirty teams, representing either the applicant alleged victim or the defendant state will meet up from Wednesday to Friday. The competition is organised by the University of Strasbourg Faculty of Law and the René Cassin Foundation with the support of, among others, the European Court and the Council of Europe.


Attending the finals is still possible, by registering here. More information, including the documents of this year's imaginary case, can be found on the competition's French-language website. Good luck to all the participating teams!