The ‘limits of human rights law’: dissenting androcentric voices in Talpis v. Italy

By Fleur van Leeuwen, LL.M. Ph.D., human rights researcher and lecturer

In March this year the European Court of Human Rights (Court) concluded that Italy had violated the human rights of Talpis, a Moldovan/Romanian woman living in Italy who had for years endured domestic abuse by the hands of her Moldovan husband. The violence had culminated in the death of her son and a life threatening chest wound to herself. The Court found that the Italian authorities had not acted with the required due diligence to protect the applicant from harm and held that Italy had violated articles 2 (the right to life), 3 (freedom from torture, inhuman and degrading treatment) and 14 (non-discrimination). Two judges did not agree with the decision [on this case, see the blog post by Lourdes Peroni here]. Continue reading

Nagmetov v. Russia: opening up Pandora’s Box on Article 41?

By Dr. Elisabeth Lambert Abdelgawad
Assoc. Prof. Edith Cowan University (Perth, Western Australia)

The allocation of just satisfaction by the Court has become a more controversial issue, probably due to the increasing number of applications where very serious violations occurred. ‘Article 41 is probably one of the provisions which have raised the most important difficulties to judges over the years’ (E. Lambert Abdelgawad, ‘Is there a need to advance the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human rights with regard to the award of damages?’, in A. Seibert-Fohr & M. E. Villiger (eds) Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights – Effects and Implementation, Ashgate, Nomos, 2014, 116). Continue reading

New publication: Procedural Review in European Fundamental Rights Cases

I am happy to present a new book, Procedural Review in European Fundamental Rights Cases, which is a joint edition of prof Janneke Gerards (Utrecht University) and myself. It originated in an expert seminar we hosted jointly at Ghent University in 2015. We will be addressing this topic also in a panel at the next ICON-S conference in Copenhagen.

This is the abstract and table of contents: Continue reading

Osmanoğlu and Kocabaş v. Switzerland: A Swiss perspective

By Fabienne Bretscher, PhD Student at the University of Zurich, Visiting Researcher at the Erasmus School of Law Rotterdam

In a recent judgment, the ECtHR found that the refusal to grant Muslim students exemption from mandatory swimming classes in Swiss public schools did not amount to a violation of the right to freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 9 ECHR. In its decision, the ECtHR emphasised the important role of public schools in the process of social integration into local customs and way of life. After giving an overview of the facts of the case as well as the ECtHR’s judgment, the present post sheds some light on the background of the issue of Muslim students’ participation in mandatory swimming classes in Switzerland and argues that, with its decision, the ECtHR is (again) reinforcing and legitimising intolerance against Muslims. Continue reading

European Court of Justice keeps the door to religious discrimination in the private workplace opened. The European Court of Human Rights could close it.

By Saïla Ouald-Chaib and Valeska David

On 14 March 2017, the European Court of Justice issued two judgments, in the cases of Achbita and Bougnaoui concerning the manifestation of beliefs in the private workplace. From the perspective of inclusion and human rights law, the judgments are very disappointing. They basically legitimize and even provide a recipe for discrimination of employees on the basis of their religious or other convictions. Continue reading

Pihl v. Sweden: non-profit blog operator is not liable for defamatory users’ comments in case of prompt removal upon notice

by Dirk Voorhoof

In its decision of 9 March 2017 in Rolf Anders Daniel Pihl v. Sweden, the ECtHR has clarified the limited liability of operators of websites or online platforms containing defamatory user-generated content. The Court’s decision is also to be situated in the current discussion on how to  prevent or react on  “fake news”, and the policy to involve online platforms in terms of liability for posting such messages. Although the Court’s ruling expresses concerns about imposing liability on internet intermediaries that would amount to requiring excessive and impractical forethought capable of undermining the right to impart information via internet, the decision in Pihl v. Sweden itself guarantees only minimal protection for the rights of internet intermediaries and users’ rights.

Continue reading

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Court’s Difficult Choice in Khamtokhu and Aksenchik v. Russia

Is it permissible for States to categorically exempt women, juveniles and the elderly from being sentenced to life in prison? How should the Court handle the threat that States will ‘level down’ protection after it finds that a given measure is discriminatory? Those were the questions facing the Court’s Grand Chamber as it reached its judgment in Khamtokhu and Aksenchik v. Russia, issued on January 24th. The case concerned the alleged discrimination inherent in the fact that life imprisonment in the respondent State can only be imposed on men between the ages of 18 and 65. The Grand Chamber was divided, and ultimately found no violation of the Convention in the case. When reading the judgment and separate opinions, it emerges that the Court failed to find that gender discrimination had taken place for a very specific reason: doing so would have brought about the (re-)introduction of life imprisonment for the excepted groups. Continue reading