Current Developments

Human rights, criminal law: pas de deux ou faux amis?

Why international law acknowledges crimes without criminals

International Human Rights Law (IHRL) and International Criminal Law (ICL) may be historically entwined yet are unduly conflated. Teleologically, the division is clear: IHRL primarily deals with state responsibility, while ICL seeks to establish individual criminal liability. But as aptly illustrated by the standards of evidence respectively applied by human rights and criminal law tribunals, the disciplines’ shared vocabulary blurs that distinction. The IHRL-ICL divide is thus a tale of …


InterviewPractitioner's Corner

“To be a judge means to be criticized from all sides”

An interview with Angelika Nußberger

Angelika Nußberger was the German judge at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) for nine years; her term of office came to an end at the turn of the year. Back at her chair at the University of Cologne, the German jurist and Slavicist looks back with us on her years at the Court, which she also headed as Vice-President since 2017. A conversation about legal challenges in today’s …


Plurality of Law and DevelopmentSymposium

Empowerment of indigenous and ethnic groups

Comparing cases on land use under the ACHPR and ECHR

Ten years ago, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) decided on the admissibility of the case Handölsdalen Sami Village and Others v Sweden dealing with the land use of the Sami and their reindeer herds. In the same year, the Endorois case was decided by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AComHPR), concerning the land use of another indigenous people, the Endorois. The outcome of these two …


BofaxeCurrent Developments

Alle Wege führen nach Dublin

Über die rechtswidrige Rückschiebung eines afghanischen Flüchtlings nach Griechenland

Im Jahr 2018 einigte sich Deutschland mit Griechenland in Form eines Verwaltungsabkommens darauf, dass aus Griechenland über Österreich nach Deutschland einreisende Flüchtlinge unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen unverzüglich nach Athen zurückgeführt werden dürfen. Im Zuge dessen verweigerte die Bundespolizeidirektion einem aus Afghanistan stammenden Flüchtling nach einer Kontrolle die Weiterreise und sorgte für seine Rückführung nach Griechenland, wo er zuerst einen Asylantrag gestellt hatte. Im Rahmen des einstweiligen Rechtsschutzes geht nun das Verwaltungsgericht …


Customary International LawSymposium

Religious Freedom and Customary International Law

The struggle for religious freedom is the oldest of all movements for international human rights. Nonetheless, religious freedom remains the most problematic of all human rights. Despite treaty protections for religious rights stretching from the Treaty of Westphalia (1648) to the European Convention on Human Rights (1950) and beyond, the role of customary international law remains considerable. For example, how does one define such rights as the freedom to establish …


Current Developments

Truth or dare?

Blasphemy and the flawed logic of E.S. v. Austria

On 25 October 2018, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) handed down its decision in the case of E.S. v. Austria. The case had begun in the fall 2009 when the anonymized applicant E.S., who is a member of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party (FPÖ), gave two seminars about Islam. On this occasion she claimed that Muhammad, the most important prophet of Islam, was not a perfect human because …


Current Developments

A further “constitutionalization” to the detriment of the individual?

On the ECtHR’s stricter reading of the principle of subsidiarity regarding the admissibility of cases

When the ECtHR presented its most recent statistics at the beginning of this year, at first glance this looked like a huge success: The number of pending applications before the Court are down at 56’250, as compared to 79’750 in 2016. Looking back to 2011, when the Court docket had reached its peak with almost 152’000 pending applications, the difference is even more striking. Moreover, last year, the Court managed …


Current Developments

The identification of individuals

Some thoughts on the ECHR judgment in the case N.D. and N.T.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in its judgment in the case and N.T. v. Spain found that push-backs to Morocco in the border zone of the Spanish enclave Melilla violated the prohibition of collective expulsion. The decision is important as it concerns the delimitation between legitimate border protection and practices that violate the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) – and thereby the key question in all regulation …


Feminist Critiques of International CourtsSymposium

Feminist judgments in international law

A feminist critique of international courts can confront the lack of representation and inclusion of women as well as women’s lack of access to courts and the justice system. However, any critique of International Courts would be limited without a critical analysis of their output, the all important judgment! Instead of performing the usual academic critique of where the judgment was lacking in some analysis or form, another way to …


Digital surveillance and cyber espionageSymposium

Der Schutz der Menschenrechte im Cyberspace durch die EMRK

Aktuelle Beschwerden beim EGMR im Hinblick auf staatliche Überwachung

Der EGMR hat im Laufe seiner Rechtsprechung die „offline“ Gewährleistungen aus dem Recht auf Achtung des Privat- und Familienlebens aus Art. 8 EMRK und dem Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung aus Art. 10 EMRK auf die neuen Verhaltensweisen im Cyberspace übertragen. Schon seit dem Urteil Klass gg. Deutschland aus dem Jahr 1978 hat er die Verpflichtung der Mitgliedstaaten zur organisatorischen und verfahrensrechtlichen Sicherung der Privatsphäre und der Einrichtung von geeigneten und …