Friday, 24 October 2014

New ECHR Readings

This Autumn presents a remarkable range of ECHR-related publications in academic journals and books. Please find below an extensive selection:

The newest issue of the Journal of International Criminal Justice (Vol. 12, no. 4, 2014) includes:

* Helen Keller and Corina Heri, 'Enforced Disappearance and the European Court of Human Rights: A ‘Wall of Silence’, Fact-Finding Difficulties and States as ‘Subversive Objectors’'
* Corina Heri, 'Enforced Disappearance and the European Court of Human Rights’ ratione temporis Jurisdiction: A Discussion of Temporal Elements in Janowiec and Others v. Russia'

*  Chimène I. Keitner, 'Jones and Others v. United Kingdom', International Legal Materials (Vol. 53, no. 3, 2014). 

* Susana Sanz Caballero, 'How Could It Go So Wrong? Reformatio in Peius before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR in the Case Janowiec and Others v. Russia (or Polish Collective Memory Deceived in Strasbourg)', Polish Yearbook of International Law, vol. 33 (2013) pp. 259-278.  

* M. Rohan, 'Refugee family reunification rights: a basis in the European Court of Human Rights' family 
reunification jurisprudence', Chicago Journal of International Law, vol. 15, no. 1 (2014) pp. 347-375.

* K. Dzehtsiarou and D. Coffey, 'Legitimacy and independence of international tribunals: an analysis of the European Court of Human Rights', Hastings International and Comparative Law Review, vol. 37, no. 2 (2014) pp. 271-322. 

* E. Brems, 'Face veil bans in the European Court of Human Rights: the importance of empirical findings', Journal of Law and Policy, vol. 22, no. 2 (2013/14) pp. 517-552.

* D. Fenwick, ‘Abortion jurisprudence’ at Strasbourg: deferential, avoidant and normatively neutral?',  Legal Studies, vol. 34, no. 2 (2014) pp. 214-241.

* K. Dzehtsiarou and N. O'Meara, 'Advisory jurisdiction and the European Court of Human Rights: a magic bullet for dialogue and docket-control?', Legal Studies, vol. 34, no. 3 (2014) pp. 444-468.

* C. Ryngaert, 'Jones v United Kingdom: the European Court of Human Rights restricts individual accountability for torture', Utrecht Journal of International and European Law, vol. 30, no. 79 (2014) pp. 47-50.

* Uladzislau Belavusau, 'Experts in hate speech cases: Towards a higher standard of proof in Strasbourg?', in: Lukasz Gruszczynski and Wouter Werner (eds.), Deference in International Courts and Tribunals

The new issue of the New Journal of European Criminal Law (vol. 5, no. 2, 2014) includes:

* E. Thoonen and W. Duijst, 'Suicide in detention in the light of the Human Rights Convention', pp. 
121-148.
* T. Decaigny, 'Inquisitorial and adversarial expert examinations in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights', pp. 149-166.
* J. Boucht, 'Civil asset forfeiture and the presumption of innocence under Article 6(2) ECHR', pp. 221-255.

New articles in the online International Journal on Human Rights include:

Ronagh J.A. McQuigg, ’The European Court of Human Rights and domestic violence: Valiuliene v. Lithuania’,
* Gregor Puppinck and Claire De La Hougue, ‘The right to assisted suicide in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights’.

Finally, please find in the menu on the right the link to a European-wide prize question, which is set up by the network of European Young Academies of Sciences - an exciting quest to think creatively about the future of Europe. Click on the image for more information - everyone is welcome to participate! I have the honor of serving in the jury.

Friday, 17 October 2014

ECHR Articles in Newest NQHR

The newest issue (no. 3 of 2014) of SIM's own Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights includes no less than three ECHR-related contributions: two articles and the column are dedicated to the ECHR:

* Column:  Lourdes Peroni, 'On Religious and Cultural Equality in European Human Rights Convention Law'

And the two articles:

* Linos-Alexander Sicilianos, 'The Involvement of the European Court of Human Rights in the Implementation of its Judgments: Recent Developments under Article 46 ECHR'

* Hubert Smekal and Katarína Šipulová, 'DH v Czech Republic Six Years Later: On the Power of an International Human Rights Court to Push through Systemic Change'

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Seminar on ECHR National Counter-Dynamics

On 30 and 31 October the universities of Antwerp and Leuven are co-organising a seminar entitled 'Shifting the Convention System: Counter-dynamics at the National Level' in Antwerp. According to the organisers, the seminar "aims to map out to what extent criticism on the European Court of Human Rights and its case law is being translated into counter-dynamics at the political or judicial level. The focus is not solely put on countries that are known to have highly critical voices. Rather, the seminar will explore whether the translation of criticism into (the demand for) concrete changes in the dynamics between national fundamental rights protection and the Convention system is a pan-European reality or merely limited to a few countries. To enable comparison, the country reports presented at the seminar are based on a questionnaire drafted by the organisers." A very interesting endeavour as we mostly only hear about criticism in a few countries or from a few voices. This makes this mapping exercise all the more useful, to avoid over- or under-estimation the problem. This is the programme of the seminar:

Programme Thursday 30 October 2014

13.30 Registration
13.50 Welcome address by Patricia Popelier (UAntwerp)

Session 1: Shifting dynamics (Chair: Patricia Popelier)
14.00 Sarah Lambrecht (UAntwerp & Belgian Constitutional Court)
Overarching Strategies
14.20 Eva Brems (UGent)
The Impact of Counter-dynamics on the Legitimacy of the ECtHR
14.40 Koen Lemmens (KULeuven)
Criticising the ECtHR or Misunderstanding the Dynamics of Human Rights Protection?
15.00 Discussion
15.30 Coffee break

Session 2: Strong Voices of Criticism vs Strasbourg Friendly Voices
(Chair: Judge Paul Lemmens)
15.50 Roger Masterman (University of Durham) - UK
16.10 Tilmann Altwicker (University of Basel) - Switzerland
16.30 Janneke Gerards (Radboud University Nijmegen) - Netherlands
16.50 Patricia Popelier (UAntwerp) - Belgium
17.10 Discussion
17.40 Reception
19.00 Conference dinner with speakers

Programme Friday 31 October 2014

Session 3: Strong Judicial Review Mandate vs Weak Judicial Review Mandate
(Chair: Catherine Van de Heyning)
9.15 Katharina Pabel (Johannes Kepler University of Linz) - Germany
9.35 Giuseppe Martinico (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna) - Italy
9.55 Anna-Sara Lind (Uppsala University) - Sweden
10.15 Discussion
10.45 Coffee break

Session 4: Criticism on the ECtHR, an East and Central-European Perspective
(Chair: Koen Lemmens)
11.05 Joseph Marko (University of Graz) - Bosnia and Herzegovina
11.25 Lubomir Majercik (Czech Constitutional Court) - Czech Republic
11.45 Armen Mazmanyan (Center for Constitutional Studies Yerevan) - Russia
12.05 Discussion
12.35 Closing words by Catherine Van de Heyning (UAntwerp)
12.50 Lunch

For information on how to register, see here.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

News from SIM

Very happy to inform you that as of this week I have been appointed full professor of human rights and director of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM)! Last week was the formal hand-over ceremony at the occasion of the annual SIM Peter Baehr Lecture (delivered this year by Sir Nigel Rodley), where my esteemed predecessor, professor Jenny Goldschmidt, handed over the baton to me. I feel deeply honoured by having been appointed to this new position and am looking forward to cooperating with the human rights research community across the globe to continue SIM's mission of human rights research and education. In addition, I will of course endeavor to keep up with the challenge of hosting the ECHR Blog. ECHR-related news will be on here again next week (and forgive me for this exceptional detour to something not ECHR-related, dear readers!).

Monday, 22 September 2014

New Book on Article 6 ECHR - Fair Trial Rights

Ryan Goss, lecturer in Law at the Australian National University in Canberra, has written a book which critically analyses what is probably the most litigated right in the Convention: Article 6 ECHR, the right to a fair trial. The book, entitled 'Criminal Fair Trial Rights - Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights', has been published with Hart Publishing. It takes an interesting cross-cutting approach and in doing so deviates from standard handbooks on the issue. This is the abstract: 

"The Article 6 fair trial rights are the most heavily-litigated Convention rights before the European Court of Human Rights, generating a large and complex body of case law. With this book, Goss provides an innovative and critical analysis of the European Court's Article 6 case law.

The category of 'fair trial rights' includes many component rights. The existing literature tends to chart the law with respect to each of these component rights, one by one. This traditional approach is useful, but it risks artificially isolating the case law in a series of watertight compartments.

This book takes a complementary but different approach. Instead of analysing the component rights one by one, it takes a critical look at the case law through a number of 'cross-cutting' problems and themes common to all or many of the component rights. For example: how does the Court view its role in Article 6 cases? When will the Court recognise an implied right in Article 6? How does the Court assess Article 6 infringements, and when will the public interest justify an infringement? 

The book's case-law-driven approach allows Goss to demonstrate that the European Court's criminal fair trial rights jurisprudence is marked by considerable uncertainty, inconsistency, and incoherence."

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

New Book on EU Accession to ECHR

The Council of Europe itself has now published a book on the ever-continuing story of the European Union's accession to the European Convention on Human Rights. The book, entitled 'The accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights', was authored by Johan Callewaert of Leuven University. It is available both in print version and in PDF, both for sale through the Council of Europe's website. This is the abstract:

"Provided for under the Treaty of Lisbon, the accession of the European Union to the European Convention on Human Rights is destined to be a landmark in European legal history because it will finally make it possible for individuals and undertakings to apply to the European Court of Human Rights for review of the acts of European Union institutions, which unquestionably play an increasingly important role in our daily lives. After nearly three years of negotiations, a draft agreement on European Union accession was adopted on 5 April 2013. In the light of the draft agreement, this publication offers a concise analysis of the reasons for European Union accession to the Convention, the means by which this is to be achieved and the effects it will have."

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

New ECHR Readings

Please find below a number of new readings related to the European Convention on Human Rights from a number of leading international legal journals:

* Matthew Scott, 'Natural Disasters, Climate Change and Non-Refoulement: What Scope for Resisting Expulsion under Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights?', International Journal of Refugee Law (Vol. 26, no. 3, 2014).

* L. Peroni, 'Deconstructing ‘legal’ religion in Strasbourg', Oxford Journal of Law and Religion (vol. 3, no. 2, 2014) pp. 235-257.

*  N. Cox, 'Delfi AS v Estonia: the liability of secondary internet publishers for violation of reputational rights under the European Convention on Human Rights', Modern Law Review (vol 77., no. 4) pp. 619-629.

* C. Zoethout, 'Margin of appreciation, violation and (in)compatibility: why the ECtHR might consider using an alternative mode of adjudication', European Public Law, (vol. 20, no. 2, 2014) pp. 309-330.

* G. Bianco and G. Martinico, 'Dialogue or disobedience? On the domestic effects of the ECHR in light of the Kamberaj decision' (vol. 20, no. 3, 2014), European Public Law pp. 435-450.

* A. Mowbray, 'Contemporary aspects of the promotion of democracy by the European Court of Human Rights', European Public Law 2014 (vol. 20, no. 3, 2014) pp. 469-498.

Finally, Anton Burkov, one of the key Russian ECHR experts has published an Op-Ed in The Moscow Times on the ECHR as a last resort for Russians, entitled 'Russians Can Only Find Justice in Europe'

Friday, 5 September 2014

Lodging Applications in All Official Languages

The Court has finalized the translation of the applicant pages on its website. The information on how to apply is now available in all the official languages of the state parties to the Convention, ranging from Albanian to Ukrainian, and from Catalan to Estonian. For each language, the pages contain practical information on how to lodge a complaint, on admissibility criteria, and the Convention text. Even some of the explanatory videos have been translated. Paradoxically, this ever-increasing accessibility in practical terms may not bode well for the caseload of the Court. It is therefore encouraging, that the Court also noted earlier this week that great progress has been made in reducing that backlog. In fact, it backlog has decreased from 151,6000 in early 2012 to 84,850 at the end of June of this year. This amounts to a 44% decrease, no mean feat to say the least, even if we consider that the single judge mechanism responsible in combination with new working methods for most of this have been able to do so by dealing with the relatively more straight-forward cases. Although the amounts are still high, the trend for the past two years has at least been going in the right direction. 

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Two ECHR-related Conferences at Ghent University

The prolific Human Rights Centre of Ghent University is organising two conferences this Autumn, both of which are to an important degree about the ECHR:
 
The first is a seminar on Law and Religion on 23 September. The entire afternoon of the seminar will be dedicated to the Court's case-law on the issue. More information and the full programme can be found here. This is what the conference is about in a nutshell:
 
"The seminar will bring together religious scholars and legal scholars to discuss law's conceptions of religion and its reception of different religious experiences. Speakers will address questions such as: Are the notions of religion underpinning the law inclusive enough to attend to the diversity of religious ways in reality? If not, can and should these notions be legally "stretched" so as to become more responsive to such diversity?

The morning sessions will focus on how law, including human rights law, understands and should understand religion. The afternoon sessions will focus on the ways in which a specific court - the European Court of Human Rights - conceives of and should conceive of religion. Religion scholars presenting in the afternoon will unpack the notions of religion underlying selected freedom of religion judgments and examine the extent to which these notions attend to applicants' religious experiences. Legal scholars, in turn, will look at whether applicants' religious experiences can and should be legally translated more fully."
The second is a conference on conflicts between human rights, to be held on 16 October. The title of the conference is: '(How) Should the European Court of Human Rights Resolve Conflicts between Human Rights?'. Several of the former and current judges, including President Spielmann, will be commentators at the event. According to the organisers, this is what it will be about:
          
"The Symposium aims to evaluate the legal reasoning of the European Court of Human Rights in conflicting rights cases and to propose novel methodological tools and frameworks for the judicial resolution of conflicts between human rights in the context of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In order to tackle these challenges, a number of renowned scholars have been invited to present their views on how (specific) conflicts between human rights ought to be resolved. First, a small number of scholars will set the stage for the debate by outlining their general approaches, frameworks and tests for the judicial resolution of conflicts between human rights in the ECHR context. Following these general presentations, a larger number of panels will address specific types of conflicts. To ensure productive and spirited debate, the participants in the specific panels have been asked to present their views on how certain pre-selected ECtHR cases should be (or should have been) resolved.

In order to increase the practical relevance of the Symposium and to offer the speakers useful feedback on the practicality of their advocated approaches, a number of (former) ECtHR Judges have been invited to comment on the practicality and feasibility of the proposed approaches."

More information on this second conference can be found here.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

New Book on EU Accession to the ECHR

In Hart's Legal Publishing series on Modern Studies in European Law, Vasiliki Kosta, Nikos Skoutaris and Vassilis Tzevelekos have published the edited volume The EU Accession to the ECHR. This wide-ranging volume includes over twenty chapters, a few of which were published in a slightly different form before in the European Journal of Human Rights (see my earlier notification here). Tables of case-law, legislation and treaties render this book accessible for those who search for information on a particular issue, much more than edited volumes normally do. The full table of contents can be found here. This is the abstract:

Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) provides that the EU will accede to the system of human rights protection of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Protocol No 9 in the Treaty of Lisbon opens the way for accession. This represents a major change in the relationship between two organisations that have co-operated closely in the past, though the ECHR has hitherto exercised only an indirect constitutional control over the EU legal order through scrutiny of EU Member States. The accession of the EU to the ECHR is expected to put an end to the informal dialogue, and allegedly also competition between the two regimes in Europe and to establish formal (both normative and institutional) hierarchies. 

In this new era, some old problems will be solved and new ones will appear. Questions of autonomy and independence, of attribution and allocation of responsibility, of co-operation, and legal pluralism will all arise, with consequences for the protection of human rights in Europe. 

This book seeks to understand how relations between the two organisations are likely to evolve after accession, and whether this new model will bring more coherence in European human rights protection. The book analyses from several different, yet interconnected, points of view and relevant practice the draft Accession Agreement, shedding light on future developments in the ECHR and beyond. Contributions in the book span classic public international law, EU law and the law of the ECHR, and are written by a mix of legal and non-legal experts from academia and practice.