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Symposium ‘(How) Should the European Court of Human Rights Resolve Conflicts between Human Rights’

September 16, 2014

I am very pleased to announce the Symposium ‘(How) Should the European Court of Human Rights Resolve Conflicts between Human Rights’, which will be organised by the Human Rights Centre in Ghent on 16 October 2014.

The event will bring together an outstanding roster of European scholars and experts in the field: Samantha Besson, Sébastien Van Drooghenbroeck, Stijn Smet, Maleiha Malik, Christopher McCrudden, Leto Cariolou, Dirk Voorhoof, Eva Brems, Lorenzo Zucca, Javier Martínez-Torrón and Ian Leigh.

We are particularly proud to announce the presence of a number of (former) ECtHR Judges, who will act as commentators at the event: President Dean Spielmann, current Judges Ineta Ziemele and Paul Lemmens; and former Judges Françoise Tulkens and Lech Garlicki.

The Symposium will kick off with a general panel, on which three speakers will present their general approaches to the resolution of conflicts between human rights in the ECHR context. The remaining panels will each address a specific ECtHR case, namely Eweida v. UK (in the application of Ms. Ladele), Axel Springer v. GermanyEvans v. UK and Fernández Martínez v. Spain. Speakers on the specific panels will be joined in pairs and will present their respective views on how to tackle the conflict inherent in the respective cases.

The Judges commentators will evaluate the speakers’ arguments and proposals in light of the ECtHR case law.

Attendance of the Symposium is free. More information on the event, including a detailed programme, can be found here.

To register, please send an e-mail to Stijn Smet on hrcevent[at]ugent.be.

Belgium violated the ECHR by extraditing a terrorist to the USA despite an interim measure by the Strasbourg Court: Trabelsi v. Belgium

September 12, 2014

The Trabelsi case is noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, because of the blatant disregard by Belgium of the interim measure issued by the European Court of Human Rights. Secondly, because of the application of the reasoning from Vinter v. UK – in which the Court found that life without parole is incompatible with Article 3 ECHR – to the context of extradition proceedings. The Court finds that the applicant’s extradition by Belgium to the USA, where he ran the risk of being convicted to life without parole and despite an interim measure to the contrary, was in violation of Articles 3 and 34 ECHR. This blog post will first highlight the latter violation, before questioning the Court’s reasoning with respect to the former one.

Read more…

Landmark European Court Decision Sends Clear Message on Ending Impunity for European Complicity in CIA Torture

September 10, 2014

This guest post was written by Amrit Singh. Amrit Singh is Senior Legal Officer for National Security and Counterterrorism at the Open Society Justice Initiative and acted as counsel in al Nashiri v. Poland.

In the woods, about 160 kilometres north of Warsaw, in a village called Stare Kiejkuty, sits a Polish intelligence base that was used during World War II by German intelligence officials and later by the Soviet military. More recently, during 2002 and 2003, in a joint operation with the Polish authorities, the CIA secretly imprisoned, tortured and ill-treated Abd al Rahim al Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah on that base. There, in a secluded villa hidden from sight, CIA interrogators subjected our client, al Nashiri, to mock executions while he stood naked and hooded before them; to painful stress positions that nearly dislocated his arms from his shoulders; and to threats of bringing in his mother to sexually abuse her in front of him.

On July 24, 2014, the European Court of Human Rights became the first Court to adjudicate through two cases–al Nashiri v. Poland, and Husayn (Abu Zubaydah) v. Poland–the flagrant rule of law violations associated with this joint operation.

Read more…

Occupational Health in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights: Brincat v. Malta

September 8, 2014

This guest blog post was written by Elena Sychenko, Ph.D. student at the University of Catania, Law Faculty, Labour Law Department.

On 24 July, the European Court of Human Rights announced its judgment in Brincat and Others v. Malta (the Brincat case).[1] This case was the result of 21 applications of former workers of the public ship repair yard exposed to asbestos. The Government of Malta was held responsible for breaching its positive obligations to protect the rights to life and the right to respect for private life. A violation of the right to life was found where the death of the employee was the result of exposure to asbestos. Where employees had suffered from different diseases, the Court found a violation of the right to respect for private and family life.

Brincat is a landmark case for Occupational Health in all the countries of the Council of Europe. For the first time, the Court found violations of two rights deduced from articles 2 and 8 that are fundamental to this sphere: the right to access information concerning risks the employee is exposed to and the right to protection from dangerous industrial activities. Read more…

Seminar Announcement: Law’s Imagining of Religion

September 2, 2014

The Strasbourg Observers are back from a summer break with an exciting announcement: the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University organizes a seminar entitled “Law’s Imagining of Religion: A Debate across Disciplines.” The seminar will bring together religion and legal scholars from Canada, Europe and the United States, including Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Cecile Laborde, Helge Arsheim, Malcolm Evans, Lori G. Beaman, Susanna Mancini, Solange Lefebvre, Mark Hill, Meadhbh McIvor and Lourdes Peroni.

WHEN: 23 September 2014

WHERE: Ghent University’s Faculty of Law, Voldersstraat 3, 9000 Ghent

WHAT: Speakers will address questions such as: Are the notions of religion underpinning the law inclusive enough to attend to today’s diversity of religious ways? 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 the European Court of Human Rights conceives of and should conceive of religion. Scholars presenting in the afternoon will unpack the notions of religion underlying high-profile freedom of religion judgments (including S.A.S. Lautsi, Eweida and Bayatyan) and examine the extent to which these notions attend and should attend to applicants’ religious experiences.

A limited number of places are still available. Attendance is free, but registration is required. If you would like to attend this seminar please send an email to Lourdes Peroni at hrcevent@ugent.be.

This is the program:

Read more…

The multifaceted and crucial role played by NGOs at the European Court of Human Rights

August 4, 2014

This guest post was written by Laura Van den Eynde, Doctoral Researcher at Université libre de Bruxelles. (*)

On 17 and 24 July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights decided three cases, one against Romania concerning the death of a mentally disabled and HIV-positive young Roma and two other cases against Poland concerning the detention and transfer of terrorist suspects who were subjected to torture.[1] Beyond the fact that the cases involve particularly shocking human rights violations and that the judgments are quite long, what else would they have in common? As will be demonstrated hereunder, these cases would not have been decided – or decided with that information at hand – if there hadn’t been civil society organizations caring to denounce and document the human rights violations at stake. Read more…

M.E. v. Sweden: Back to The Closet

July 28, 2014

This guest post is written by Sander Steendam.

 

In M.E. v. Sweden, the fifth section of the Strasbourg Court has ruled that requiring aliens to temporarily return to their home country and hide their sexual orientation pending family reunion is not a violation of article 3 of the Convention (prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment).

Read more…

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