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Article

Access_open Correcting Wrongful Convictions in France

Has the Act of 2014 Opened the Door to Revision?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords Final criminal conviction, revision procedure, grounds for revision, preparatory investigative measures, Cour de révision et de réexamen
Authors Katrien Verhesschen and Cyrille Fijnaut
AbstractAuthor's information

    The French ‘Code de procédure pénale’ provides the possibility to revise final criminal convictions. The Act of 2014 reformed the procedure for revision and introduced some important novelties. The first is that it reduced the different possible grounds for revision to one ground, which it intended to broaden. The remaining ground for revision is the existence of a new fact or an element unknown to the court at the time of the initial proceedings, of such a nature as to establish the convicted person’s innocence or to give rise to doubt about his guilt. The legislature intended judges to no longer require ‘serious doubt’. However, experts question whether judges will comply with this intention of the legislature. The second is the introduction of the possibility for the applicant to ask the public prosecutor to carry out the investigative measures that seem necessary to bring to light a new fact or an unknown element before filing a request for revision. The third is that the Act of 2014 created the ‘Cour de révision et de réexamen’, which is composed of eighteen judges of the different chambers of the ‘Cour de cassation’. This ‘Cour de révision et de réexamen’ is divided into a ‘commission d’instruction’, which acts as a filter and examines the admissibility of the requests for revision, and a ‘formation de jugement’, which decides on the substance of the requests. Practice will have to show whether these novelties indeed improved the accessibility of the revision procedure.


Katrien Verhesschen
Katrien Verhesschen is PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law KU Leuven.

Cyrille Fijnaut
Cyrille Fijnaut is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Law & Criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, KU Leuven and Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open Mechanisms for Correcting Judicial Errors in Germany

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords criminal proceedings, retrial in favour of the convicted, retrial to the disadvantage of the defendant, Germany, judicial errors
Authors Michael Lindemann and Fabienne Lienau
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article presents the status quo of the law of retrial in Germany and gives an overview of the law and practice of the latter in favour of the convicted and to the disadvantage of the defendant. Particularly, the formal and material prerequisites for a successful petition to retry the criminal case are subject to a detailed presentation and evaluation. Because no official statistics are kept regarding successful retrial processes in Germany, the actual number of judicial errors is primarily the subject of more or less well-founded estimates by legal practitioners and journalists. However, there are a few newer empirical studies devoted to different facets of the subject. These studies will be discussed in this article in order to outline the state of empirical research on the legal reality of the retrial procedure. Against this background, the article will ultimately highlight currently discussed reforms and subject these to a critical evaluation as well. The aim of the recent reform efforts is to add a ground for retrial to the disadvantage of the defendant for cases in which new facts or evidence indicate that the acquitted person was guilty. After detailed discussion, the proposal in question is rejected, inter alia for constitutional reasons.


Michael Lindemann
Michael Lindemann is Professor for Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure and Criminology at the Faculty of Law of Bielefeld University, Germany.

Fabienne Lienau
Fabienne Lienau is Research Assistant at the Chair held by Michael Lindemann.
Article

Access_open The Right to Claim Innocence in Poland

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful convictions, right to claim innocence, reopening of criminal proceedings, miscarriage of justice, revision of final judgment
Authors Wojciech Jasiński Ph.D., habilitation and Karolina Kremens Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Wrongful convictions and miscarriages of justice, their reasons and effects, only rarely become the subject of academic debate in Poland. This article aims at filling this gap and providing a discussion on the current challenges of mechanisms available in Polish law focused on the verification of final judgments based on innocence claims. While there are two procedures designed to move such judgment: cassation and the reopening of criminal proceedings, only the latter aims at the verification of new facts and evidence, and this work remains focused exactly on that issue. The article begins with a case study of the famous Komenda case, which resulted in a successful innocence claim, serving as a good, though rare, example of reopening a case and acquitting the convict immediately and allows for discussing the reasons that commonly stand behind wrongful convictions in Poland. Furthermore, the article examines the innocence claim grounds as regulated in the Polish criminal procedure and their interpretation under the current case law. It also presents the procedure concerning the revision of the case. The work additionally provides the analysis of the use of innocence claim in practice, feeding on the statistical data and explaining tendencies in application for revision of a case. It also presents the efforts of the Polish Ombudsman and NGOs to raise public awareness in that field. The final conclusions address the main challenges that the Polish system faces concerning innocence claims and indicates the direction in which the system should go.


Wojciech Jasiński Ph.D., habilitation
Wojciech Jasiński is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Procedure of the University of Wroclaw, Poland. orcid.org/0000-0002-7427-1474

Karolina Kremens Ph.D.
Karolina Kremens is Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Procedure of the University of Wroclaw, Poland. orcid.org/0000-0002-2132-2645
Article

The Mediation Disruption

A Path to Better Conflict Resolution through Interdisciplinarity and Cognitive Diversity

Journal Corporate Mediation Journal, Issue 2 2020
Keywords interdisciplinarity, social psychology, diversity and inclusivity, disruption
Authors Mark T. Kawakami
AbstractAuthor's information

    As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose obsolete business practices and force companies into uncharted territories, a disruption worth (re)considering for companies is to replace their over-reliance on litigation with mediation. In order for mediators to make this transition more appetising for businesses, we must train mediators to: 1) think more holistically through interdisciplinary training; and 2) foster cognitive diversity amongst our pool.


Mark T. Kawakami
Mark T. Kawakami is Assistant Professor of Private Law at the Faculty of Law, Maastricht University.
Article

Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania

Recognizing Individual Harm Caused by Cyber Hate?

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Keywords hate speech, verbal hate crime, cyber hate, effective investigation, homophobia
Authors Viktor Kundrák
AbstractAuthor's information

    The issue of online hatred or cyber hate is at the heart of heated debates over possible limitations of online discussions, namely in the context of social media. There is freedom of expression and the value of the internet in and of itself on the one hand, and the need to protect the rights of victims, to address intolerance and racism, as well as the overarching values of equality of all in dignity and rights, on the other. Criminalizing some (forms of) expressions seems to be problematic but, many would agree, under certain circumstances, a necessary or even unavoidable solution. However, while the Court has long ago declared as unacceptable bias-motivated violence and direct threats, which under Articles 2, 3 and 8 in combination with Article 14 of the ECHR, activate the positive obligation of states to effectively investigate hate crimes, the case of Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania presented the first opportunity for the Court to extend such an obligation to the phenomenon of online verbal hate crime. This article will first address the concepts of hate speech and hate crime, including their intersection and, through the lens of pre-existing case law, identify the key messages for both national courts and practitioners. On the margins, the author will also discuss the issue of harm caused by verbal hate crime and the need to understand and recognize its gravity.


Viktor Kundrák
Viktor Kundrák has worked for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a Hate Crime Officer since 2018. He has been responsible for ODIHR’s hate crime reporting, trained police, prosecutors and judges, and provided legislative and policy support at the national level. He is also a PhD candidate at Charles University in Prague. The views in this article are his own and do not necessarily represent those of ODIHR. Some of the opinions are based on an article published in Czech earlier this year (see V. Kundrák & M. Hanych, ‘Beizaras and Levickas v. Lithuania (Verbal Hate Crime on Social Network and Discriminatory Investigation)’, The Overview of the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, Vol. 3, 2020.
Article

The Question of Jurisdiction

The Impact of Ultra Vires Decisions on the ECJ’s Normative Power and Potential Effects for the Field of Data Protection

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ECJ, German Constitutional Court, principle of proportionality, primacy of EU law, data protection, principle of conferral, ultra vires judgments
Authors Carsten M. Wulff
AbstractAuthor's information

    The ultra vires judgment of the German Constitutional Court on the debt security purchasing of the ECB system sent shockwaves throughout Europe. Some scholars see the legal framework, specifically the principle of the supremacy of the European Union in danger. This article argues that the judgment is a challenge for Luxembourg; however, there have been warning signs from the Czech Republic and Denmark that constitutional courts will not shy away from criticizing, when the ECJ oversteps its jurisdiction. The author argues that the judgment may weaken the overall normative power of the court and will assess whether a similar judgment could occur in the field of data protection and national security exceptions. The only way back to normality will be for the court to ensure it does not overstep its jurisdiction and the European Institutions unconditionally backing the ECJ in the expected upcoming conflict with the constitutional courts of Member States.


Carsten M. Wulff
PhD Student, Tallinn University, Estonia.
Article

Access_open States of Emergency

Analysing Global Use of Emergency Powers in Response to COVID-19

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 4 2020
Keywords coronavirus, emergency law, emergency powers, autocratization, democratic deconsolidation, state of emergency, rule of law, transparency, accountability, legislative scrutiny
Authors Joelle Grogan
AbstractAuthor's information

    The measures taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic have been among the most restrictive in contemporary history, and have raised concerns from the perspective of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. Building on a study of the legal measures taken in response to pandemic in 74 countries, this article considers the central question of the use of power during an emergency: is it better or worse for democracy and the rule of law to declare an emergency or, instead, to rely on ordinary powers and legislative frameworks? The article then considers whether the use of powers (ordinary or emergency) in response to the pandemic emergency has ultimately been a cause, or catalyst of, further democratic deconsolidation. It concludes on a note of optimism: an emerging best practice of governmental response reliant on public trust bolstered by rationalized and transparent decision-making and the capacity to adapt, change and reform measures and policies.


Joelle Grogan
Dr. Joelle Grogan is Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University London.
Article

Access_open The Challenges for England’s Post-Conviction Review Body

Deference to Juries, the Principle of Finality and the Court of Appeal

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful conviction, criminal justice, Criminal Cases Review Commission, Court of Appeal, discretion
Authors Carolyn Hoyle
AbstractAuthor's information

    Since 1997, the Criminal Cases Review Commission of England, Wales and Northern Ireland has served as a state-funded post-conviction body to consider claims of wrongful conviction for those who have exhausted their rights to appeal. A meticulous organisation that has over its lifetime referred over 700 cases back to the Court of Appeal, resulting in over 60% of those applicants having their convictions quashed, it is nonetheless restricted in its response to cases by its own legislation. This shapes its decision-making in reviewing cases, causing it to be somewhat deferential to the original jury, to the principle of finality and, most importantly, to the Court of Appeal, the only institution that can overturn a wrongful conviction. In mandating such deference, the legislation causes the Commission to have one eye on the Court’s evolving jurisprudence but leaves room for institutional and individual discretion, evidenced in some variability in responses across the Commission. While considerable variability would be difficult to defend, some inconsistency raises the prospects for a shift towards a less deferential referral culture. This article draws on original research by the author to consider the impact of institutional deference on the work of the Criminal Cases Review Commission and argues for a slightly bolder approach in its work


Carolyn Hoyle
Carolyn Hoyle is Professor of Criminology at the Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, UK.
Article

Access_open Chosen Blindness or a Revelation of the Truth?

A New Procedure for Revision in Belgium

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords final criminal conviction, revision procedure, grounds for revision, Court of Cassation, Commission for revision in criminal matters
Authors Katrien Verhesschen and Cyrille Fijnaut
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Belgian Code of criminal procedure provides the possibility to revise final criminal convictions. This procedure had remained more or less untouched for 124 years, but was finally reformed by the Act of 2018, after criticism was voiced in legal doctrine concerning its narrow scope and possible appearances of partiality and prejudice. The Act of 2018 therefore broadened the third ground for revision, the so-called novum, and defined it as an element that was unknown to the judge during the initial proceedings and impossible for the convicted person to demonstrate at that time and that, alone or combined with evidence that was gathered earlier, seems incompatible with the conviction, thus creating a strong suspicion that, if it had been known, it would have led to a more favourable outcome. Thereby, this ground for revision is no longer limited to factual circumstances, but also includes changed appreciations by experts. To counter appearances of partiality and prejudice, the Act of 2018 created the Commission for revision in criminal matters, a multidisciplinary body that has to give non-binding advice to the Court of Cassation on the presence of a novum. However, the legislature also introduced new hurdles on the path to revision, such as the requirement for the applicant to add pieces that demonstrate the ground for revision in order for his or her request to be admissible. For that reason, the application in practice will have to demonstrate whether the Act of 2018 made the revision procedure more accessible in reality.


Katrien Verhesschen
Katrien Verhesschen is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the Institute of Criminal Law KU Leuven.

Cyrille Fijnaut
Cyrille Fijnaut is Emeritus Professor of Criminal Law & Criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam, KU Leuven and Tilburg University.
Article

Access_open Post-Conviction Remedies in the Italian Criminal Justice System

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful conviction, revision, extraordinary appeal, rescission of final judgment, res judicata
Authors Luca Lupária Donati and Marco Pittiruti
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Italian Constitution expressly contemplates the possibility of a wrongful conviction, by stating that the law shall determine the conditions and forms regulating damages in case of judicial error. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that many provisions of the Italian Code of Criminal Procedure (CCP) deal with the topic. The aim of this article is to provide an overview of the post-conviction remedies in the Italian legal system by considering the current provisions of the CCP, on the one hand, and by exploring their practical implementation, on the other.


Luca Lupária Donati
Luca Lupária is Full Professor of Criminal Procedure at Roma Tre University, Director of the Italy Innocence Project and President of the European Innocence Network.

Marco Pittiruti
Marco Pittiruti is researcher of Criminal Procedure at Roma Tre University.
Article

Access_open Exoneration in Sweden

Is It Not about Time to Reform the Swedish Model?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords wrongful convictions, extraordinary legal remedy, exoneration, exoneration in Sweden
Authors Dennis Martinsson
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article reviews exoneration in Sweden, with a focus on the procedure of applying for exoneration. First, it highlights some core features of Swedish criminal procedural law, necessary to understand exoneration in the Swedish context. Secondly, it outlines the possibilities in Swedish law to apply for exoneration, both in favour of a convicted person and to the disadvantage of a previously acquitted defendant. Thirdly, it identifies some challenges with the current Swedish model of administering applications for exoneration. Fourthly, it argues that the current system should be reformed by introducing into Swedish law a review committee that administers applications for exoneration.


Dennis Martinsson
Dennis Martinsson is Assistant Professor in the Department of Law of Stockholm University in Sweden.
Article

Access_open Overturning Wrongful Convictions by Way of the Extraordinary Review

The Spanish Experience

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords extraordinary review, remedies, fair trial, wrongful convictions, criminal justice, innocence, procedural safeguards, justice
Authors Lorena Bachmaier Winter and Antonio Martínez Santos
AbstractAuthor's information

    According to the traditional view, the ultimate aim of the extraordinary review (recurso de revisión) provided in the Spanish justice system was to deal with wrongful criminal convictions and correct those serious miscarriages of justice which became apparent only after the judgment had become final. However, the 2015 reform called this traditional view into question by formally including two additional grounds for review that are not necessarily related to the correcting miscarriages or blatant mistakes in the assessment of the facts made by the sentencing court. This paper aims to give an overview of the extraordinary review in Spain. To that end it will first address the legal framework and its practical implementation, as well as present pitfalls and best practices. Finally, future trends and challenges will be identified in order to improve the protection of defendants who have suffered a wrongful conviction.


Lorena Bachmaier Winter
Lorena Bachmaier Winter is Professor of Law at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Antonio Martínez Santos
Antonio Martínez Santos is Associate Professor of Law, Francisco de Vitoria University, Madrid.
Article

Access_open Alternative Dispute Resolution in the Digital Sector

A Dejurisdictionalization Process?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords European legislation, Alternative Dispute Resolution, civil procedure
Authors Rebecca Berto
AbstractAuthor's information

    Alternative Dispute Resolution (=ADR) is a generic reference to consensus-based processes that provide an alternative to litigation and to binding arbitration procedures. Analysing European provisions, the European legislator pushes Alternative Dispute Resolution methods as a means of resolving not only consumer-to-business disputes but also business-to-business. This may determine over the long term a sort of ‘dejurisdictionalization’ process, moving disputes from tribunals to Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. Procedural rights, however, such as raising interpretative questions to the European Court of Justice, may only be exercised before a court.
    Therefore, Alternative Dispute Resolution and national civil procedure are separated by a sort of procedural ‘Chinese wall’: this legislator’s forma mentis, repeated also in more recent directives, hinders the development of cross-border procedural provisions capable of tackling the legal and procedural questions posed by communication services and new technologies, such as blockchain, whose technical features are not limited by geographical boundaries.
    This article argues that, in the light of technological advancements, the European internal market needs new common procedural legislation fit for the cross-border economic and legal relationships carried out within it.


Rebecca Berto
Rebecca Berto is a lawyer with ECC-Italy: d.jur. University of Padua, Pg. Dipl. International Dispute Resolution (Arbitration) Queen Mary University – London, admitted to the Italian Bar. The views expressed herein are solely the author’s and represent neither that of ECC Italy nor of its host structures or any other of its public financiers. All opinions and errors are of the author. The author did not receive private or public funds for this article.
Article

Towards Online Dispute Resolution-Led Justice in China

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Online Dispute Resolution, smart court, internet court, access to justice, China
Authors Carrie Shu Shang and Wenli Guo
AbstractAuthor's information

    The use of online dispute resolution (ODR) in courts is a growing topic of interest. By focusing on the recent development of ODR-connected smart courts in China, this article explores ODR’s potential impact on Chinese legal systems from three aspects: role of courts and the legal profession, due process rights, and information safety. By focusing on changing dispute resolution theories – from emphasizing on conflict resolution to dispute prevention – the article argues that ODR-led court reforms rose to the centre because the reform caters to specific purposes of the recent series of reforms conducted under the auspices of the Rule of Law campaign, by prioritizing efficiency goals and attempting to enhance individualist justice experiences. In this article, we define the meaning of ODR in China and describe and categorize ODR technologies that are currently in use in China. Based on these general findings and promising technological options of ODR, we also recommend ways to better implement ODR in Chinese courts to take full advantage of technological advancements.


Carrie Shu Shang
Carrie Shu Shang, Assistant Professor, Coordinator, Business Law program, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona,

Wenli Guo
Wenli Guo, Ph.D., Assistant President, Beiming Software Co. Ltd., President, Internet Nomocracy Institute of Beiming Software Co. Ltd.,
Article

Paperless Arbitration

The New Trend?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords paperless arbitration, arbitral practice and procedure, cybersecurity, new technology
Authors William Brillat-Capello, Laura Canet, Gillian Carmichael Lemaire e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    A webinar organized by Laura Canet and William Brillat-Capello, with Gillian Carmichael Lemaire, Yulia Mullina, Sebastián Partida, Sarah Tulip, Sergey Alekhin as speakers
    This webinar, organized by the associates of the Paris-based firm Betto Perben Pradel Filhol, was held at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, arbitral practice and procedure have evolved considerably because of the increase in the number of paperless arbitrations and paperless hearings. The issues and challenges discussed below are still relevant to assess whether this trend will become the normal way of conducting arbitrations after the end of the current global health crisis or will simply constitute one of the tools available to practitioners. As the world is still dealing with this unprecedented crisis, the transcription of this webinar offers a snapshot of some of the earliest conclusions reached about how the pandemic is changing arbitration as we knew it.


William Brillat-Capello
William Brillat-Capello is associate at Betto Perben Pradel Filhol.

Laura Canet
Laura Canet is is associate at Betto Perben Pradel Filhol.

Gillian Carmichael Lemaire
Gillian Carmichael Lemaire is Independent Arbitration Practitioner.

Yulia Mullina
Yulia Mullina is Executive Administrator at the Russian Arbitration Center.

Sebastián Partida
Sebastián Partida is Corporate Counsel at Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Sarah Tulip
Sarah Tulip is barrister at 3VB.

Serghei Alekhin
Serghei Alekhin is Counsel at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP.
Article

Smart Contracts and Smart Dispute Resolution

Just Hype or a Real Game Changer?

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 2 2020
Keywords smart contracts, blockchain, arbitration, dispute resolution, contract law, distributed ledger technology, internet of things, cyber law, technology, innovation
Authors Mangal Chauhan
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article explains the functioning of smart contracts and technology underlying blockchain. This contribution aims to compare smart contracts with traditional contracts and discuss their situation under the present contract law. It further discusses possible issues that may arise out of the application of smart contracts, for instance, coding errors and programming defects. It studies the possible application of smart contracts to specific fields, such as e-commerce and consumer transactions and possible disputes arising out of this application. It divides the smart contracts into categories based on their form and discusses legal issues in regard to their application.
    Against the common perception that smart contracts will replace the judicial enforcement of traditional contracts, it argues that smart contracts will not replace the system but are rather another form of contracts to be governed by it. In fact, the interplay of smart contracts and contractual law creates possible legal issues as to their validity, recognition and enforcement. It provides possible solutions as to the legal issues arising out of the application of smart contracts under present contract law. The study concludes that a robust and ‘smart’ dispute resolution mechanism is required for dealing with disputes arising out of the application of new technology. Online or blockchain arbitration and other online dispute resolution mechanisms are argued to be better suited to dealing with such disputes.


Mangal Chauhan
Mangal Chauhan is Risk Analyst (Global Entity Management) at TMF Group, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Comparative and International Dispute Resolution from Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom.
Article

Access_open A European Approach to Revision in Criminal Matters?

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Authors Joost Nan, Nina Holvast and Sjarai Lestrade
Author's information

Joost Nan
Joost Nan is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Sjarai Lestrade
Sjarai Lestrade is Assistant Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Between Legal Certainty and Doubt

The Developments in the Procedure to Overturn Wrongful Convictions in the Netherlands

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 4 2020
Keywords revision law, post-conviction review, wrongful convictions, miscarriages of justice, criminal law, empirical research
Authors Nina Holvast, Joost Nan and Sjarai Lestrade
AbstractAuthor's information

    The Dutch legislature has recently (2012) altered the legislation for post-conviction revision of criminal cases. The legislature aimed to improve the balance between the competing interests of individual justice and the finality of verdicts, by making post-conviction revision more accessible. In this article we describe the current legal framework for revising cases. We also study how the revision procedure functions in practice, by looking at the types and numbers of (successful) requests for further investigations and applications for revision. We observe three challenges in finding the right balance in the revision process in the Netherlands. These challenges concern: 1) the scope of the novum criterion (which is strict), 2) the appropriate role of an advisory committee (the ACAS) in revision cases (functioning too much as a pre-filter for the Supreme Court) and, 3) the difficulties that arise due to requiring a defence council when requesting a revision (e.g., financial burdens).


Nina Holvast
Nina Holvast is Assistant Professor at the Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam.

Joost Nan
Joost Nan is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Sjarai Lestrade
Sjarai Lestrade is Assistant Professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen.
Article

Access_open Positive State Obligations under European Law: A Tool for Achieving Substantive Equality for Sexual Minorities in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Positive obligations, sexual minorities, sexual orientation, European law, human rights
Authors Alina Tryfonidou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to examine the development of positive obligations under European law in the specific context of the rights of sexual minorities. It is clear that the law should respect and protect all sexualities and diverse intimate relationships without discrimination, and for this purpose it needs to ensure that sexual minorities can not only be free from state interference when expressing their sexuality in private, but that they should be given the right to express their sexuality in public and to have their intimate relationships legally recognised. In addition, sexual minorities should be protected from the actions of other individuals, when these violate their legal and fundamental human rights. Accordingly, in addition to negative obligations, European law must impose positive obligations towards sexual minorities in order to achieve substantive equality for them. The article explains that, to date, European law has imposed a number of such positive obligations; nonetheless, there is definitely scope for more. It is suggested that European law should not wait for hearts and minds to change before imposing additional positive obligations, especially since this gives the impression that the EU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are condoning or disregarding persistent discrimination against sexual minorities.


Alina Tryfonidou
Alina Tryfonidou is Professor of Law, University of Reading.
Article

Access_open A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation under International Human Rights Law

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Dehumanisation, International Human Rights Law, Positive State obligations, Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination
Authors Stephanie Eleanor Berry
AbstractAuthor's information

    International human rights law (IHRL) was established in the aftermath of the Second World War to prevent a reoccurrence of the atrocities committed in the name of fascism. Central to this aim was the recognition that out-groups are particularly vulnerable to rights violations committed by the in-group. Yet, it is increasingly apparent that out-groups are still subject to a wide range of rights violations, including those associated with mass atrocities. These rights violations are facilitated by the dehumanisation of the out-group by the in-group. Consequently, this article argues that the creation of IHRL treaties and corresponding monitoring mechanisms should be viewed as the first step towards protecting out-groups from human rights violations. By adopting the lens of dehumanisation, this article demonstrates that if IHRL is to achieve its purpose, IHRL monitoring mechanisms must recognise the connection between dehumanisation and rights violations and develop a positive State obligation to counter dehumanisation. The four treaties explored in this article, the European Convention on Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination, all establish positive State obligations to prevent hate speech and to foster tolerant societies. These obligations should, in theory, allow IHRL monitoring mechanisms to address dehumanisation. However, their interpretation of the positive State obligation to foster tolerant societies does not go far enough to counter unconscious dehumanisation and requires more detailed elaboration.


Stephanie Eleanor Berry
Stephanie Eleanor Berry is Senior Lecturer in International Human Rights Law, University of Sussex.
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