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Article

On Lessons Learned and Yet to Be Learned

Reflections on the Lithuanian Cases in the Strasbourg Court’s Grand Chamber

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Keywords human rights, European Convention on Human Rights, European Court of Human Rights, Lithuania
Authors Egidijus Kūris
Abstract

    During the two-and-a-half decades while Lithuania has been a party to the European Convention on Human Rights, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has decided five Lithuanian cases. They all (perhaps but one) raised controversial issues not only of law but also of those pertaining to matters non-legal: psychology, politics, history and so on. There had been follow-ups to most of them, allowing for consideration as to the merits and disadvantages of the respective judgments. These cases are narrated on in their wider-than-legal context and reflected upon from the perspective of their bearing on these issues and of the lessons they taught both to Lithuania, as a respondent State, and to the Court itself.


Egidijus Kūris
Article

The European Court of Human Rights and the Central and Eastern European States

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Case law regarding Central and Eastern Europe, ECHR, human rights, reform, European system of Human Rights
Authors András Baka
AbstractAuthor's information

    At the time of its creation and during the following 30 years, the European Court of Human Rights was a Western European institution. It was not until the sweeping political changes in 1989-1990 that the Central and Eastern European countries could join the European system of individual human rights protection. The massive and relatively rapid movement of accession of the ‘new states’ to the European Convention on Human Rights had a twofold effect. On the one hand it led to a complete reform of the human rights machinery of the Council of Europe, changing the structure and the procedure. A new, permanent and more efficient system emerged. What is even more important, the Court has had to deal with not only the traditional questions of individual human rights but under the Convention new issues were coming to the Court from applicants of the former eastern-bloc countries. On the other hand, being part of the European human rights mechanism, these countries got a chance to establish or re-establish the rule of law, they got support, legal standards and guidance on how to respect and protect individual human rights. The article addresses some of these elements. It also points out that public hopes and expectations towards the Court – especially nowadays in respect of certain countries – are sometimes too high. The Court has its limits. It has been designed to remedy certain individual injustices of democratic states following common values but cannot alone substitute seriously weakened democratic statehood.


András Baka
Former judge of the ECtHR (1991-2008); former president of the Hungarian Supreme Court.
Article

Politics and Pragmatism

The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation and Its 20 Years of Engagement with the European Convention on Human Rights

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, European Court of Human Rights, Russia
Authors Bill Bowring
AbstractAuthor's information

    After the highly controversial YUKOS judgment of 19 January 2017, on 23 May 2017 the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation (CCRF) delivered a warmly received judgment, in which the provisions of the administrative offences legislation prohibiting stateless persons to challenge the reasonableness of their detention in special detention facilities was found to be unconstitutional. The CCRF was addressed by leading Russian human rights advocates. The judgment referred not only to Article 22 of the Russian Constitution but also to the analogous Article 5 of the ECHR. The judgment paid special attention to case-law: Guzzardi v. Italy (1980), Kemmache v. France (1994), Kurt v. Turkey (1998), Aleksei Borisov v. Russia (2015), and Z.A. v. Russia (2017), as well as Alim v. Russia (2011), Shakurov v. Russia (2012) and Azimov v. Russia (2013). Indeed, Strasbourg jurisprudence has played a central role in the development of the CCRF’s jurisprudence since Russia’s ratification of the ECHR in 1998. This article analyses and seeks to explain what in the author’s view is the CCRF’s serious engagement with a body of pan-European quasi-constitutional law, with which Russian jurists feel surprisingly comfortable and experienced. Is there really a cultural incompatibility between Russian and ‘Western’ approaches to human rights law?


Bill Bowring
Professor of Law, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Article

Victims’ Right to Reparation in Light of Institutional and Financial Challenges

The International Criminal Court and the Reparation for the Victims of the Bogoro Massacre

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Bogoro massacre (DRC), International Criminal Court, Katanga case, reparation, victims
Authors Péter Kovács
AbstractAuthor's information

    The aim of the article is the presentation of the recently issued documents – the ‘Order for reparation’ issued by the Trial Chamber II of the ICC and the document called ‘Notification’, recently adopted by the Trust Fund for Victims of the ICC – which are important first and foremost in the reparation procedure of the victims of the Bogoro massacre, subsequent to the case The Prosecutor v. Germain Katanga. Second, these documents will also have a considerable impact on the reparation procedures to be carried out by the ICC in the future. The reader can also see the interactions between classic sources of public international law and those norms which are very difficult to be characterized legally but without a doubt play a very important role during the procedure.


Péter Kovács
Professor of international law at the Péter Pázmány Catholic University, Budapest, and judge of the International Criminal Court (2015-2024).
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