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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

Primus Inter Pares? In Search of ‘Fundamental’ Human Rights

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2019
Keywords hierarchy, jus cogens, International Court of Justice, European Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Court of Human Rights
Authors Julia Kapelańska-Pręgowska
AbstractAuthor's information

    International human rights law is one of the most developed and codified regimes (branches) of public international law. Since 1948 and the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the number and scope of human rights standards evolved considerably. Prima facie this tendency reflects a generally positive phenomenon and is driven by the human rights approach in international law, but at the same time it may raise questions of the system’s efficiency, internal coherence, hierarchy of rights and mechanisms of protection and monitoring. Against the richness of human rights standards, designations such as ‘fundamental’, ‘essential’, ‘basic’, ‘crucial’ or ‘core’ are being used and ascribed to diverse concepts (inter alia, customary international human rights, erga omnes obligations, non-derogable rights, jus cogens or absolute rights). The article explores the provisions of general human rights instruments – the UDHR, the two Covenants and regional treaties, as well as relevant case-law of the ICJ, ECtHR and IACtHR in search of a definition and catalogue of fundamental human rights.


Julia Kapelańska-Pręgowska
Chair of Human Rights, Faculty of Law and Administration, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland.
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

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.
Human Rights Literature Review

Ukraine

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Authors Dr. Tetyana Antsupova
Author's information

Dr. Tetyana Antsupova
Dr. habil., Judge of the Supreme Court (Ukraine).
Article

Changing Realities

Islamic Veils and Minority Protection

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords European Court of Human Rights, freedom of religion Islamic veils, minority protection
Authors Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most of the immigrant communities in Europe do not show any signs of giving up their identity. Just the contrary, they seem to be more and more committed to preserving their culture, traditions, language and religion. Their growing numbers and adherence to their culture and traditions have raised the question of whether it would be necessary to accept them as permanent factors in the society, and consequently, to secure for them, beside equality and freedom of religion, other minority rights such as the right to preserve their cultural and language identity. This change might presuppose a renewal of the traditional understanding of the concept of the national minority. To raise the standards for minority rights of immigrants and at the same time to maintain the level of protection of homeland minorities is not an easy but a necessary solution. But even the accommodation of certain aspects of the freedom of religion of migrants is a problem in practice. As far as the public use of Islamic veils is concerned, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights proved to be too lenient towards those state parties which put secularity of public institutions before the freedom of religion of the individual. The dissenting opinions correctly emphasize that the role of the authorities is not to remove the cause of tension by eliminating pluralism but to ensure that competing groups tolerate each other. If the Islamic veils are symbols of pressurization, oppression and discrimination, or proselytism, the intervention of state authorities may be justified but the law cannot presuppose that the aforementioned situations are the prevailing ones. If it does so, the collateral damage at the expense of a basic human right of certain true believers is too high.


Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
LLM, PhD. Dr Habil. Professor of International Law, International Law Department, Faculty of Law, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary.
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