Poll: Best and Worst ECtHR Judgment of 2018

Dear readers,

At the start of the New Year, we traditionally like to seize the moment and assess the past year of Strasbourg jurisprudence. For this purpose, we are hereby launching our poll for the best and worst ECtHR judgment of 2018. We would like to warmly encourage you, our readers, to participate in our annual vote.

Out of the 1,014 judgments delivered by the ECtHR in the course of 2018, our internal voting process resulted in a diverse selection of five judgments in each category. If you are, however, of the opinion that we missed out on an important case(s), you can also select other good or bad cases that we may have missed out using the “Other” option. You are welcome to share your reasons for voting via the comments section below.

The winners and losers will be announced in about a month.

To refresh your memory on the nominated judgments – or to introduce you to them – we have included brief summaries below the polls. Continue reading

Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary: the Court provides legal certainty for journalists that use hyperlinks

By Carl Vander Maelen (research group Law & Technology, Ghent University)

On 4 December 2018 the European Court of Human Rights (‘the Court’) found a violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights in Magyar Jeti Zrt v. Hungary. The case concerns the imposition of objective liability for posting a hyperlink leading to defamatory content, with the Court ultimately deciding that using hyperlinks does not simply equate to acts of dissemination. Instead, it requires a case-by-case assessment on the basis of five flexible criteria, resulting in a highly relevant and well-rounded judgment. Continue reading

Basra v. Belgium: a structural problem struck from the list

By Marjan Claes (NANSEN), Charlotte Coenen (NANSEN), Ellen Desmet (UGent), Sylvie Saroléa (UCL)

On 13 September 2018, the European Court of Human Rights struck the application of Basra v. Belgium out of its list. Mr. Basra argued not having benefited from an effective remedy in the sense of article 13 ECHR, with respect to his arguable claim of being subjected to treatment prohibited by Article 3 ECHR in case of return to Pakistan.

After efforts to reach a friendly settlement had failed, the Belgian Government made a unilateral declaration in order to solve the issue, and invited the Court to struck the case from the list. The Court took up this invitation on the basis of Article 37 (1) (c) ECHR, which allows the Court to strike out an application where, for any reason established by the Court, it is no longer justified to continue its examination.

During this procedure, a third party intervention was submitted to the Court by NANSEN – the Belgian Refugee Council, EDEM (Equipe droits européens et migrations) from the UCLouvain, the Equality Law Clinic of the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Human Rights Centre of Ghent University. Continue reading

Mammadov v. Azerbaijan: It Is about Effectiveness of the Strasbourg System.

By Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (University of Liverpool)

Infringement proceedings: the question of legitimacy

In 2010, when Protocol 14 entered into force, it amended Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECtHR). Section 4 was added to this Article. It empowered the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to initiate infringement proceedings before the Grand Chamber of the ECtHR. On 5 December 2017, the Committee of Ministers chose to use this procedure for the first time in history and referred the case of Ilgar Mammadov v Azerbaijan to the Court. The Grand Chamber of the ECtHR must now decide whether Azerbaijan has indeed failed to fulfil its obligations under the Convention. Continue reading

Announcement Grassrootsmobilise Conference and Public Event (Athens, 3-4 May)

On Friday 4 May 2018, the Grassrootsmobilise Programme organizes a conference “Between state and citizen: religion at the ECtHR”, preceded by a public event on Thursday 3 May on “Religion and Secularism: does the Court go too far – or not far enough?” Strasbourg Observer Prof. Dr. Eva Brems participates in the latter event.

This is the conference concept note: Continue reading

Seminar “Positive obligations under the ECHR and the Criminal Law: towards a Coercive Human Rights Law?”

Dear readers,

Together with Dr. Natasa Mavronicola (University of Birmingham), I’m co-organizing an expert seminar on “Positive obligations under the ECHR and the Criminal Law: towards a Coercive Human Rights Law?”, which will take place in Ghent on 25 May 2018.

The European Court of Human Rights increasingly requires States to protect ECHR rights by recourse to the criminal law. On the one hand, States now have to criminalize certain human rights violations, such as human trafficking, torture and rape. On the other hand, States may be under an obligation to prosecute offenders and to impose criminal sanctions. The seminar provides an excellent opportunity for an in-depth discussion on the important legal questions raised by this evolution, which go to the heart of the purpose and function of human rights law.

You can find the programme of the seminar here. The seminar is a closed event for a limited number of participants. If you have a strong research interest in the topic, you can ask the organisers to attend the seminar (laurens.lavrysen@ugent.be and n.mavronicola@bham.ac.uk).