The Strasbourg Observers are delighted to conclude our series of tributes to Judge Tulkens with this guest post by Professor Paul Lemmens (KU Leuven). We wish Judge Tulkens a happy birthday today and, above all, much happiness in her post-ECtHR life. Judge Tulkens, we will truly miss your voice on the Court.
We would also like to seize this opportunity to congratulate Professor Lemmens on becoming the new Belgian judge at the ECtHR. We are indeed honored to close this tribute to Judge Tulkens with some remarks by her successor and wish him much wisdom and courage.
It is a great pleasure for me to write a tribute to Françoise Tulkens.
We know each other already since a long time. I think our first encounter was at the occasion of a Jean Dabin conference on criminal justice, which she co-organised in 1995 at the Université Catholique de Louvain. Since then we have seen each other on a more or less regular basis, and each encounter was a joyful event, usually with a lot of laughter.
When I think of Françoise, I think in the first place of a warm, radiant personality. Recently I was struck by the sudden change in the atmosphere of a room filled with her colleagues. While the atmosphere was already pleasant before her entry, there was an outburst of joy from all sides as soon as she came in. One could feel the rise of temperature with her arrival. Françoise is a person you like immediately.
She is also a person who shows an immense respect for others and a real interest in their achievements and difficulties. It was only natural that she was elected by her peers to the position of Vice-President of the Court. She is a person who is trusted by her colleagues, who can bring a group together, motivate people, and work towards a common goal.
I personally am grateful to Françoise for the many occasions when she accepted to enrich an event with her presence and to share her views with participants at a conference or with students. She never tried to impose her views on the audience, but rather was open to suggestions. For Françoise it is not uncommon to admit publicly that she still has no clear view on an issue, and that she will continue to reflect on it after her presentation, taking into account the sometimes critical comments made by the audience.
Her legacy at the Court is undoubtedly immense. Continue reading