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 …



Brother, where art thou?

Libya, spaces of violence and the diffusion of knowledge

The key political question in recent months has been how to reduce the number of unauthorized migrants that arrive to Europe’s shores in rickety vessels from politically unstable countries in North Africa. The overwhelming majority of the more than 134.000 migrants that arrived by sea to Europe this year landed on Italian shores (approximately 103.300). Most of the migrants landing in Italy departed from wartorn Libya. Italy seems to have …


InterviewPractitioner's Corner

David gegen Goliath

Ein Interview mit Survival International zu den Rechten indigener Völker

Wenn man über indigene Völker in den Medien liest, dann liest man in der Regel leider selten Gutes: Land Grabbing, Vertreibung oder, wie in Australien, der Kampf der Aborigines um die Anerkennung als erste Bewohner des Landes in Form eines Vertrages. Survival International ist eine internationale Nichtregierungsorganisation, die sich für die Rechte indigener Völker einsetzt. Wir sprachen mit Linda Poppe von Survival International über aktuelle Herausforderungen, Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Rechts …



On ‘cyber trafficking’ and the protection of its victims

‘Cyber trafficking’ has become a buzzword in scientific and policy discussions related to human trafficking. However, as has been noted elsewhere, the term is far from being used in a uniform way. In her recent post, Sabine Witting discusses the case of trafficking that is exclusively committed online. In my view, ‘cyber trafficking’ is a much more wide-spread phenomenon than what her article seems to imply, occurring within many cases …


Global South in Comparative Constitutional LawSymposium

Expanding Access to Justice for Socio-Economic Rights Complaints in South Africa

Which Direction Should We Head in?

The South African constitution has been lauded for its inclusion of justiciable socio-economic rights. Yet, making claims flowing from these rights remains inaccessible to many people across the country. This blog post (based on a paper being presented at a conference in Berlin on Constitutionalism in the Global South) seeks to consider the obstacles relating to access to justice for socio-economic rights claims in South Africa and potential solutions. I …


Current Developments

The unsolved case of Giulio Regeni

An attempted legal analysis

More than one year after the dead body of the Italian Ph.D. student Giulio Regeni was found in Cairo, his ghastly demise remains unresolved. The circumstances of his death cast a shadow of suspicion over potential involvement of either Egyptian police forces or secret services in the killing. Egyptian authorities initially denied any allegations, consistently maintaining unconvincing accounts. Only recently, have Egyptian authorities displayed dubious signs of cooperation with their Italian counterparts …


Current Developments

The Michigan Guidelines on Refugee Freedom of Movement, or: how explosive existing law can be

The Michigan Guidelines are a document in which legal scholars summarize the existing international laws of refugee protection on one particular aspect. They are “just” an expert opinion – yet by no means insignificant in that capacity. They are used by courts interpreting the law and thus stand themselves at the threshold of the legal. At any rate the guidelines can frame debates about the legality of state actions in …


Feminist Critiques of International CourtsSymposium

Why a woman’s presence on the bench is a human rights issue

In order to avoid the danger of an essentialist approach when talking about women’s representation in international courts, the issue should be framed as of of human rights and not merely as one of gender. Although both approaches, the human rights and a more gender-focused feminist one, may have the same goal this is a tricky and crucial distinction to be made. When discussing arguments for women’s presence on the …


Current Developments

Retter der Menschenrechte weltweit?

Zur Verabschiedung des Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act in den USA

Ob Folter durch Sicherheitskräfte, Gefängnisstrafen ohne faires Gerichtsurteil oder Ausbeutung durch korrupte Beamte: Menschenrechte werden weltweit täglich verletzt, wie auch für das Jahr 2016 dem Jahresbericht von Human Rights Watch zu entnehmen ist. Oft erwarten die Täter keine Strafen, sei dies weil es in ihrem Land kein funktionierendes Justizsystem gibt oder weil sie sich durch Bestechung oder Flucht einer gerechten Strafe entziehen. Kein Wunder, dass Verfechter der Menschenrechte zuweilen die …


Digital surveillance and cyber espionageSymposium

Unilateralism ahead?

Human rights, digital surveillance and the “extraterritorial question” in international law

Here we are. It could seem a bit obvious to start with this overwhelming event, but it is truly important to stress that the recent results of the US elections will have far reaching consequences in many fields of international law, including the one that this post is dealing with: the yet unsettled complex set of issues of extraterritoriality with respect to surveillance practices. Indeed, one of the foreseeable developments …