Announcement: Webinar “Council of Europe: The Conscience of Europe in a Time of Crisis” (21 April)

In follow-up to the succesful webinar on “Human Rights in the Times of Coronavirus” (a recorded version of which is available here), next week another webinar is taking place on the role the Council of Europe could play in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. The webinar takes place on Tuesday 21 April at 4 pm UK time, 5 pm CET. Here is the announcement:

 

Council of Europe: The Conscience of Europe in a Time of Crisis

Webinar

21 April 2020

4 pm

https://zoom.us/j/164030987 (if you wish to participate and ask questions. Come early limited to 100 participants)

https://youtu.be/LrHejIHHAfQ (if you wish to follow the livestream)

The panellists will discuss the role and potential influence of the Council of Europe on the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The panellists will discuss the expectations and reality of what can be done by a human rights institution in time of de facto emergency.

Panellists:

Chairs: Prof Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (University of Liverpool) and Dr Stuart Wallace (University of Leeds)

Dr Veronika Bilkova (Charles University in Prague, Venice Commission)

Prof Philip Leach (University of Middlesex)

Rob Linham OBE (Deputy UK Permanent Representative to the Council of Europe)

Jörg Polakiewicz (Director of Legal Advice and Public International Law Legal Adviser of the Council of Europe)

Prof Ineta Ziemele (President of the Constitutional Court of Latvia, Former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights)

 

Update (22/04): for those who were unable to join, you can watch the recorded version of this Webinar on YouTube.

What Can the European Court of Human Rights Do in the Time of Crisis?

By Prof Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (University of Liverpool, Editor-in-chief of the European Convention on Human Rights Law Review)

In my previous blog post I have analysed what consequences the COVID-19 crisis might have on Human Rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights. Here I will look at the institutional aspect of what the Strasbourg Court can do to ensure ongoing human rights protection in the face of the COVID-19 crisis. Unfortunately, my preliminary answer is not that much. The nature of the European Court of Human Rights as well as many other courts around the world is that they predominantly act post factum, in other words they assess the events after they have already taken place. That said, it is not impossible for the Court to get involved in the current affairs, even though the scope of such involvement is quite limited. In the following parts I will analyse what the Court can and should do in the current situation. Continue reading

Announcement: Webinar on Human Rights in the Time of Coronavirus (7 April)

Dear readers,

This week, an interesting debate took place on our blog regarding the necessity and/or desirability of derogation under Article 15 in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. The poll we launched yesterday on this question is still quite tight, indicating that many people continue to disagree on the path to take. At Strasbourg Observers, we are therefore very happy to support continued debate on this question in the form of a webinar, which will take place next Tuesday (7 April) at 4 pm UK time, 5 pm CET. Here is the announcement:

 

Human Rights in the Time of Coronavirus: Does England’s Lockdown Violate Human Rights Law?

Webinar

7 April 2020, 4 pm (UK time)

https://zoom.us/j/335812961 Continue reading

To derogate or not to derogate? Poll on emergency Covid-19 measures

These are exceptional times. Covid-19 represents a threat to public health in Europe of an extent that is unprecedented in modern times. At the same time, the restrictions on normal life imposed by Council of Europe Member States in response to the outbreak are a test case for the ECHR regime. While the Strasbourg Court itself has temporarily suspended most of its activities, including the delivery of new judgments, the human rights pressures generated by the Covid-19 crisis continue to provide a source for vigorous debate within the ECHR community. An important question that currently divides the ECHR community  is whether or not States should make a derogation under Article 15 ECHR with a view to taking the necessary measures in response to the public health emergency. Via the poll below, we would like to enquire into the view of you, our readers, on the necessity and/or desirability of States making such a declaration. Continue reading

States should declare a State of Emergency using Article 15 ECHR to confront the Coronavirus Pandemic

By Alan Greene

Carl Schmitt is, without a doubt, the pre-eminent scholar on states of exception. However, his famous maxim of ‘Sovereign is he who decides on the exception’ has tainted the debate on emergency powers, emphasising their antagonistic relation to the legal order they are supposed to protect and downplaying their protective potential. In this post, I argue why Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) should be used to accommodate the emergency lockdown powers necessary to confront the Coronavirus pandemic. This is the closest we shall get to an ‘ideal state of emergency’—the very thing it was designed for. In contrast, far from protecting human rights, failure to use Article 15 ECHR risks normalising exceptional powers and permanently recalibrating human rights protections downwards. Continue reading

COVID-19 and the European Convention on Human Rights

By Prof Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou (University of Liverpool)

Our life has changed. The main if not the only topic that everyone is interested in is the ongoing pandemic. The World Health Organisation is one of the most popular international organisations at the moment. This crisis will undoubtably have a significant impact on how we live, travel and perceive our governments. These long-term effects will clearly be a subject of numerous dissertations, articles and monographs. This blogpost will make a very brief overview of the role of the European Convention on Human Rights in assessment of this crisis. In recent days a number of states (for example, Georgia, Estonia, Armenia, Romania, and Latvia) submitted their derogations from the ECHR under Article 15. When the situation calms down it would be very interesting to analyse the exact wording and utility of these declarations. Here, I will start by considering implications of Article 15 to the situation at hand. I will then briefly analyse how other Articles of the Convention can be engaged in the COVID-19 crises. Of course, this is only a suggestion, the real impact of COVID-19 will be seen in 5-6 years when measures taken by the Governments now will be analysed in judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Continue reading