Do human rights go on holiday? The blackout in the Court’s processing of Rule 39 requests for interim measures

Francesco Luigi Gatta, Research Fellow, UCLouvain, EDEM

Thursday 13 May 2021 is a holiday in France, celebrating the Ascension. As a consequence, various offices and services are closed. The European Court of Human Rights makes no exception in this respect. The Court is also remaining closed for the following day, Friday 14 May. 

Nothing strange, so far. Until Monday, 10 May, when this announcement was published in the home page of the Court’s website:

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On the Value of Interim Measures by the ECtHR on Inter-Sate Disputes

By Dr Vassilis P. Tzevelekos, Senior lecturer in Law, University of Liverpool School of Law and Social Justice; Editor-in-chief of the European Convention on Human Rights Law Review

Nikos Kazantzakis’ wrote in The Saviors of God: Spiritual Exercises: ‘Love responsibility. Say: It is my duty, and mine alone, to save the earth. If it is not saved, then I alone am to blame.’ (transl. K. Friar). The ECtHR’s responsibility is not to save the earth, but to safeguard fundamental human rights. This note discusses one aspect of this mission, namely the responsibility of the ECtHR to grant (provisional) protection in inter-state disputes, in particular when protection is urgently needed because of an armed conflict.

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