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Human Rights Practice Review

The Czech Republic

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2020
Authors Viktor Kundrák and Maroš Matiaško
Author's information

Viktor Kundrák
Viktor Kundrák works for the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) as a Hate Crime Officer. 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.

Maroš Matiaško
Maroš Matiaško is a PhD candidate at Palacky University and Essex University. He is a chair of the Forum for Human Rights (NGO based in Prague) and human rights attorney at law.
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.
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.
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.
Human Rights Practice Reviews

Albania

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

Anisia Mandro LLM
Anisia Mandro (European Union Law - LLM), Legal Researcher and Legal Adviser in the area of competition law, data protection, and human rights; Consultant in approximation of national legislation with EU acquis Communautaire.
Article

The European Court of Human Rights in the States of the Former Yugoslavia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Ex-Yugoslavia, European Court of Human Rights, domestic implementation, the rule of law, human rights
Authors Jernej Letnar Černič
AbstractAuthor's information

    The countries of the former Yugoslavia have in past decades failed to fully meet both the challenges of the socio-economic environment and of the full-fledged functioning of the rule of law and the protection of human rights. Their development was in the first decade halted by the inter-ethnic wars, while in the second decade their institutions have been hijacked by various populist interest groups. All the countries of the former Yugoslavia have been so far facing a constant crisis of liberal democratic institutions of the modern state, based on the rule of law. Only a small number of them have decided to accept effective measures to break away from such crises. In order to present the problems of the newly established democracies in the former Yugoslavia, this article presents and analyses the contributions of the European Court of Human Rights to establishing the rule of law and effective human rights protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia. In the closing part of the article, conclusions are drawn on how those countries should proceed to internalize the values of human rights protections in liberal democracies.


Jernej Letnar Černič
Associate Professor, Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Nova Univerza, Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Article

Regional Judicial and Non-judicial Bodies

An Effective Means for Protecting Human Rights?

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords Direct access, human rights protection, judicial bodies, non-judicial bodies, direct access of individuals
Authors Ján Klučka
AbstractAuthor's information

    Regional human rights systems consisting of regional bodies, instruments and mechanisms play an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights. If one’s rights are not protected on the domestic level, the international system comes into play and protection can be provided either by the regional or global (UN) system. Regional mechanisms of human rights today cover five parts of the world, namely: Africa, the Americas, Europe, Arab countries and the Asia-Pacific. They differ in their origin, resulting from different concepts of human rights and the need of interested states to establish a regional framework for human rights protection. The level and scope of their human rights protection is obviously uneven, although this protection is generally higher in regions with democratic states that have constitutional and rule of law regimes in which human rights are considered an integral part of their constitutional architecture. However, current practice confirms that the creation of judicial systems for the protection of human rights within the context of concrete regions does not automatically guarantee the right of direct access of individuals to them. The regional particularities of locus standi result from a set of factors having historic, religious, ethnic and other nature. In the institutional system of protection of human rights, these particularities manifest also through the optional (non-compulsory) jurisdiction of regional judicial bodies, the preventive ‘filtering’ systems before non-judicial bodies (commissions) combined with the right to bring the case before a judicial body, the systems where different entities are entitled to bring the case before a judicial body but the individual has no such right etc. Nevertheless, the existing practice generally confirms the increasing role of the judicial segment of the regional human rights systems as well as the strengthening of position of individuals within the proceedings before regional human rights judicial and non-judicial bodies. A specific factor in the developing world represents the concept of a ‘strict’ interpretation of sovereignty preventing external control of the respect for human rights before a regional judicial body on the basis of an individual complaint by a concerned person. The specificities of regional systems are without detriment to their widely accepted advantages and benefits. Regional systems allow for the possibility of regional values to be taken into account when human rights norms are defined (e.g. so-called collective rights and duties within the African system), provided that the idea of the universality of human rights is not compromised. The regional systems are located closer to the individual human rights subjects and offer a more accessible forum in which individuals can pursue their cases, and states tend to show stronger political will to conform to decisions of regional human rights bodies. The existence of the regional human rights systems finally allows for the existence of proper enforcement mechanisms, which can better reflect local conditions than a global (universal) system of enforcement.


Ján Klučka
Professor of International Law, Institute of International and European Law, Law Faculty, University P.J. Šafárik, Košice, Slovakia.
Human Rights Practice Review

Serbia

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Jelena Simić
Author's information

Jelena Simić
Jelena Simić is assistant professor, Union University Law School (Belgrade).
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.
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