Friday, 28 November 2014

Fear Speech and Conflict Escalation

As a short excursion away from the ECHR, permit me to draw your attention to an article I just published in the Human Rights Quarterly. In the article I introduce the notion of "fear speech" as a complement to the well-known notion of "hate speech". I have endeavored to connect insights from the field of conflict studies to the way in which legal scholars and practitioners deal with freedom of expression in situations of risks of violence. The article is entitled "Words of Violence: “Fear Speech,” or How Violent Conflict Escalation Relates to the Freedom of Expression" and was published in no. 4 of vol. 36 (November 2014). This is the abstract:

The limits of the freedom of expression are a perennial discussion in human rights discourse. This article focuses on identifying yardsticks to establish the boundaries of freedom of expression in cases where violence is a risk. It does so by using insights from the social sciences on the escalation of violent conflict. By emphasizing the interaction between violence and discourse, and its effect on antagonisms between groups, it offers an interdisciplinary perspective on an ongoing legal debate. It introduces the notion of “fear speech” and argues that it may be much more salient in this context than hate speech.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Book on ECHR and Transitions

Dr. Inga ┼ávarca has published the book 'The Procedure of the European Court of Human Rights Regarding Countries in Transition. The ECtHR’s Transitional Justice Cases against Latvia', which is also her PhD dissertation obtained at the University of Hamburg. Beyond being a case study of Latvia in transiton, it also has a lot of general insights to offer on transitional justice and the ECHR. This is the book's summary: 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, all post-communist states in Europe were countries in transition facing specific judicial problems when they acceded to the European Convention on Human Rights.

These new Member States applied various transitional justice tools resulting in numerous applications examined by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Nevertheless, the ECtHR has not (yet) followed a clear and foreseeable methodical approach to deal with these unique and complicated cases in an equal manner.

This analysis comes up with suggestions how to deal methodically with the changing role of the ECtHR and the challenges created by countries in transition with their manifold legacies.