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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.
Human Rights Practice Review

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Authors Enis Omerović and Lejla Zilić
Author's information

Enis Omerović
Dr. Enis Omerović, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Department of State and Public International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Lejla Zilić
Mr. Sc. Lejla Zilić, MA, Teaching Assistant at the Department of Criminal Law, Faculty of Law, University of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Human Rights Practice Reviews

The Russian Federation

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Authors Igor Bartsits, Oleg Zaytsev and Kira Sazonova PhD
Author's information

Igor Bartsits
Igor Bartsits is the Director of IPACS RANEPA, Doctor of Law, Professor, Honoured Lawyer of the Russian Federation.

Oleg Zaytsev
Oleg Zaytsev is the Dean of the School of Law, Doctor of Law, IPACS RANEPA.

Kira Sazonova PhD
Kira Sazonova is the Assistant Professor, Ph.D. in International Law, Ph.D. in Politics, IPACS RANEPA.
Human Rights Literature Reviews

Estonia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Authors Ingrid Kauler LLM
Author's information

Ingrid Kauler LLM
LLM (Advanced) on European and International Human Rights Law, Leiden University; Lawyer; Lecturer on EU Law, Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society; Study and Program Administrator for Master’s programmes in Law, Faculty of Law, Economics and Finance, University of Luxembourg.
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.
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