European Law

General information : European Law

Highlights

BookCover

Bringing a case to the European Court of Human Rights
Council of Europe


As of 1 November 2014, about 78,000 applications were pending before a judicial formation of the Court. Although the Court’s docket has been reduced by nearly 50% over the last three years, this still represents a very signifi cant number of cases to bebrought before an international tribunal and continues to threaten the effectiveness of the right of petition enshrined in the Convention. The vast majority of cases (92% in 2013) will be rejected by the Court on one of the grounds of inadmissibility. Such cases clog up the Court’s docket and obstruct the examination of more deserving cases where the admissibility requirements have been satisfi ed and which may concern seriousallegations of human-rights violations.The 2010 Interlaken Conference on the reform of the Court called upon the “States Parties and the Court to ensure that comprehensive and objective information is provided to potential applicants on the Convention and the Court’s case-law, in particular on the application procedures and admissibility criteria”. The Court’s first response to the call was to prepare a Practical Guide on Admissibility Criteria which clearly sets out the rules and case-law concerning admissibility. This third edition covers case-law up to 1 January 2014 and the stricter procedural conditions for applying to the Court which came intoforce on that date. Practitioners and prospective applicants should study this Practical Guide carefully before deciding to bring a case before the European Court of Human Rights.

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Recent Publications

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Aperçu de la Jurisprudence de la Cour Européenne des droits de l’homme 2016
Registry of ECHR

Chaque année, la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme rend de multiples arrêts et un nombre plus élevé encore de décisions, alimentant ainsi sa jurisprudence déjà fort impressionnante. Une personne extérieure à la Cour peut dès lors avoir du mal à déterminer quelles sont les affaires qui marquent un tournant ou qui traitent de nouvelles questions. Un aspect du travail de la Cour auquel une attention croissante est accordée consiste donc à repérer ces affaires et à les diffuser dans un format pratique et accessible.   L’objet de cette série, Aperçu de la jurisprudence, disponible en français et en anglais, est de répondre à ce besoin en se concentrant sur les affaires les plus importantes qui sont traitées chaque année par la Cour. Celles-ci sont sélectionnées par la Direction du jurisconsulte de la Cour en fonction de leur intérêt jurisprudentiel. Outre les affaires choisies pour publication dans le Recueil des arrêts et décisions de la Cour, ce corpus contient des affaires qui soulèvent des questions d’intérêt général, qui posent de nouveaux principes ou qui développent ou précisent la jurisprudence. Il s’agit de faire ressortir les aspects saillants de telle ou telle affaire, pour permettre au lecteur d’en saisir la portée jurisprudentielle.

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Overview of the Case-Law of the European Court of Human Rights
Registry of ECHR

Every year, the European Court of Human Rights delivers a large number of judgments and an even greater number of decisions, thus adding to its already formidable body of case-law. This can make it difficult for people outside the Court to know which cases break new ground or address new issues. An increasingly important aspect of the Court’s work has thus become to identify such cases and to disseminate them in a convenient and accessible format. The annual Overview series, available in English and French, seeks to respond to that need by focusing on the most important cases the Court deals with each year. All the cases are selected by the Court’s Jurisconsult’s Directorate on the basis of their jurisprudential interest. In addition to the cases chosen for publication in the Court’s Reports of Judgments and Decisions, they include a number of other cases that raise issues of general interest, establish new principles, or develop or clarify the case-law. The approach has been to draw attention to the salient points, allowing the reader to appreciate the jurisprudential significance of a particular case.

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Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition
F.A.M. Alting von Geusau

Since 1989, we refer to the whole post-war period as the “Cold War Era”. Such was not the case in 1968. At the time, the Cold War – in our perception – was behind us. We no longer felt to be in the midst of it. Europeans on the Western side of the Iron Curtain0 felt relatively at ease with Europe’s division. The era of Détente as we called it, was0 considered to be a fairly stable and long-lasting political condition, even after Soviet tanks crushed Dubcek’s socialism with a human face in Prague.
A strange year it was… 1968. Academic interest was focused on the war in Vietnam, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the French Gaullist challenge to the European Communities and the student revolt in Paris. The Western democracies promoted the process of détente on the basis of three political illusions. They assumed that common institutions between East and West would generate a sense of common interest in European security, facilitating negotiated solutions of outstanding problems. They expected East-West economic cooperation to promote reform from above in the East, towards more open societies. They hoped to foster democracy and respect for human
rights through cooperation in the cultural and human dimension. By 1989 all three of them had proven to be illusions. The end of the Soviet system came as a complete surprise to most politicians and to all Western advocates of détente in the Nineteen Eighties. The so-called dissidents won a peaceful victory over the one-party, repressive regimes in the East and helped to end the post-war division of Europe. Obviously, neither the (now former) communists nor the advocates of détente ever admitted their wrong. So they went all into the business of proclaiming a new era as a continuation of the old one. The greatest catastrophe of the Twentieth Century was Lenin`s creation of totalitarian Soviet Russia at the end of the Great War and not its collapse at the end0 of the Cold War, as president Putin said in 2005. This volume particularly challenges the past illusions of détente and the present approach of organized forgetting the past.
Since the successful and peaceful revolution in 1989 ended the division of Europe and the bipolar nuclear stalemate, we collectively entered the brave new world of organised forgetting. Nevertheless, the footprints of that past century are still all around. This0 series is intended to identify, to explain and to remember, because the more things are0 said to change, the more things appear to remain the same. We must therefore learn from history if only to avoid repeating a few of the blunders of the past century.
Prof. Jhr.Dr. Frans A.M.Alting von Geusau (1933) is professor (em.) of International Law and Western Cooperation at Tilburg University and Leiden University.  

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Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition
F.A.M. Alting von Geusau

For the study of international relations, knowledge of the history of Western Cooperation in the Twentieth Century is essential. The third volume reviews the broader history from America’s entry in the First World War in 1917 and the start of the American Era in international relations one hundred years ago, to the inauguration of President Trump in 2017.
The American Era in world politics may well have come to its final end, when US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May agreed to build a new special, bilateral relationship on “America First” and “Global Britain”. The Atlantic Charter (1941) founded the special relationship between the United States and Great Britain, for that purpose. In reality, the special relationship was instrumental in creating the system of successful Western cooperation, characterized by new multilateral institutions – exactly the opposite of what President Trump and Prime Minister May had in mind for their special bilateral relationship, when they met in January 2017.
This volume on “Western Cooperation” deals with the American era in world politics, characterised by the creation of such international institutions as the League of Nations, the United Nations, ILO, IBRD, IMF and UNESCO. NATO, the principal subject of Part II in this volume, was considered to be the cornerstone of the Alliance of democracies since the onset of the Cold War.
In Part II, developments are examined in a circumscribed period – from the outbreak of the First World War in July 1914 to the celebration of NATO’s Sixtieth Anniversary on 4 April 2009, and the New Epilogue covers until the inauguration of Donald Trump as President of the United States in January 2017.
Since the successful and peaceful revolution in 1989 ended the division of Europe and the bipolar nuclear stalemate, we collectively entered the brave new world of organised forgetting. Nevertheless, the footprints of that past century are still all around. This series is intended to identify, to explain and to remember, because the more things are said to change, the more things appear to remain the same. We must therefore learn from history if only to avoid repeating a few of the blunders of the past century.
Prof. Jhr.Dr. Frans A.M. Alting von Geusau (1933) is professor (em.) of International Law and Western Cooperation at Tilburg University and Leiden University.

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Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition
F.A.M. Alting von Geusau

The story of European Unification is fascinating. In 1950, two sworn enemies – France and Germany – decide to seek reconciliation and European federal unity. As a first step, they created the European Coal and Steel Community together with Italy and the Benelux countries. The fathers of this new Europe were visionary persons. Does today`s student or scholar still know who Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi or Willem Beyen were and what they stood for? At the time, the United Kingdom refused the invitation to join such a federal project. Under American pressure they asked for admission in 1961, entered in 1973 without ever accepting the federal project and decided to leave in March 2017 after a small majority voted for Brexit in June 2016. What began as a process of reconciliation between two enemies – France and Germany – became a peaceful enlargement of the European Union to twenty-eight Member States. The division of Europe between a Soviet dominated East and a Euro-Atlantic West is no more. This volume not only tells a success story. It also makes us understand why after more than sixty years the Germans lack the solidarity and the French the political vision to turn the Euro-crisis into true progress towards unity. Against the background of Europe`s long and turbulent history, this book may also help to understand why it is so difficult to overcome nationalism and to practice the virtue of solidarity so central to the Christian source of Europe as a civilization. Since the successful and peaceful revolution in 1989 ended the division of Europe and the bipolar nuclear stalemate, we collectively entered the brave new world of organised forgetting. Nevertheless, the footprints of that past century are still all around. This series is intended to identify, to explain and to remember, because the more things are said to change, the more things appear to remain the same. We must therefore learn from history if only to avoid repeating a few of the blunders of the past century. Prof. Jhr.Dr. Frans A.M.Alting von Geusau (1933) is professor (em.) of International Law and Western Cooperation at Tilburg University and Leiden University.

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Footprints of the 20th Century - Third Edition
F.A.M. Alting von Geusau

This fifth and final volume offers a critical assessment of the state of the law of nations. In the twenty first century the world needs true global law anchored in the dignity of the human person rather than weak international law built on the interests of major sovereign states. One hundred years after the outbreak of the Great or First World War in 1914 and twenty-five years after the peaceful end of the Cold War in 1989, little appears to have been learnt from the scale of disasters that befell the world between the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914 and the annexation of Sebastopol in 2014. The failure to learn from history largely comes from unconverted political leaders and ideologies of progress. The birth of modern international law, assumed to have taken place in 1648, was no moment of progress, nor was the Congress of Vienna in 1815. The peace of Westphalia reduced the law of nations to interstate law. Moreover, today’s dismal record of major sovereign powers, nicknamed the ‘international community’, with such issues as human rights, the use of force, the abolition of nuclear weapons and peace in the Middle-East proofs that for justice and order a transition from international law to global law needs to be realized. Throughout the book one finds lightening examples of persons who, by their courage and dedication, could make the difference. Among them are Henri Dunant, Ruth Klüger, Andrei Sacharov, Nelson Mandela and Pope John-Paul II. Since the successful and peaceful revolution in 1989 ended the division of Europe and the bipolar nuclear stalemate, we collectively entered the brave new world of organised forgetting. Nevertheless, the footprints of that past century are still all around. This series is intended to identify, to explain and to remember, because the more things are said to change, the more things appear to remain the same. We must therefore learn from history if only to avoid repeating a few of the blunders of the past century. Prof. Jhr.Dr. Frans A.M.Alting von Geusau (1933) is professor (em.) of International Law and Western Cooperation at Tilburg University and Leiden University.

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Volume I - Cultural Diplomacy: Waging War by other Means
F.A.M. Alting von Geusau

The peaceful collapse of the Soviet totalitarian, communist system has been a watershed of historic proportions in Europe and the world. In 1989, unexpectedly, Communism and the Cold War were behind us, they were bad and should be forgotten. The immediate post-1989 world presented itself as a new era of organised forgetting, as neither East nor West were interested in examining the prolonged period of acquiescence in absurdities. The Berlin Wall, paramount symbol of absurdity, had to be erased from the face of the earth and the memory of the people. Only much later have we become aware how much the heritage of repression and division still dominates our thinking. The principal organisations of Western and European cooperation have been enlarged Eastward, but the fruits of peaceful, spiritual revolution have turned sour. Far too little has changed for the better and far too many old habits have survived. For the question asked in this volume: Is bilateral cultural diplomacy waging war with other means? There still is no good answer. The surprise of 1989 has apparently paralyzed policies thereafter. Despite resounding declarations and non-binding resolutions on a new order, there was no vision, no strategy and no clear purpose. The basic approach was “more of the same”. Cultural diplomacy had no priority and budgets were cut in Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Since the successful and peaceful revolution in 1989 ended the division of Europe and the bipolar nuclear stalemate, we collectively entered the brave new world of organised forgetting. Nevertheless, the footprints of that past century are still all around. This series is intended to identify, to explain and to remember, because the more things are said to change, the more things appear to remain the same. We must therefore learn from history if only to avoid repeating a few of the blunders of the past century. Prof. Jhr.Dr. Frans A.M.Alting von Geusau (1933) is professor (em.) of International Law and Western Cooperation at Tilburg University and Leiden University.

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Digital Evidence Changing the Paradigm of Human Rights Protection
Salvatore di Cerbo

In a “digital world” like ours, vast Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
infrastructures are highways where run extensive flows of information, dictating the
rhythm of our day-to-day lives. Such a deep influence, close to be an addiction for us, turns
ICT an unquestioned feature of modern life. These premises well portrait the landscape in which the diverse spectrum of actors
committed to promote, defend and restore the human rights operate. Therefore, the risk is
to mistake the means with the ends; but, even if the subject of this work, Digital Evidence,
is technology-related, the purpose of the study is the goal to which it tends: human rights
and their protection. Moreover, the wide diffusion of “capturing devices” that allow the documentation of human
rights abuses throughout massive streams of data from diverse sources will raise new
needs: in primis a careful collection and interpretation of the most relevant ones, and then
the establishment of mechanisms to ensure the validity and reliability of newly acquired
information. The whole chain that connects all the required steps in order to turn digital data into
“digital legal evidence” relevant for the protection of human rights, represents a challenge
for human rights practitioners, as individual activists, as well as organizations. Every single
step is fundamental: collection, management, preservation, analysis and security of data,
along with an effective communication and strategic use of evidence. Twitter tweets, Facebook and Blogs posts, Instagram photos and Youtube videos, even
when considered too weak for a conviction to be founded on, can play an important
role outside of a courtroom, establishing the grounds for prosecution indictments or, in
general, creating awareness of human rights abuses. Consequently, new forms of human rights activism, like the so-called “hashtag activism”,
pass through social media and have the power to generate a real change at both legal and
awareness level. The risk to be avoided is to mortify this power using social media as a
shortcut to be politically active or socially trendy making a mere “clictivism”. Hence, the core of this work revolves around the pivotal question of legal sufficiency of
the digital means employed in recording human rights abuses and the consolidation of
standards and procedures regulating the admissibility of collected evidence in the court of
law. The purpose is to provide an answer from a tri-folded point of view. The U.S. legal system leads in the regulation of the requirements for digital evidence to be
admitted at trial; nonetheless, also International courts like ICC, ICTY and ICTR follow
rules and procedure for that purpose, based on authenticity, protection of privacy, chain
of possession and reliability of the electronic evidence. At the European level, instead, the
lack of a common legislation relevant to the admissibility of d-evidence at trial required a
comparative study of the respective provisions contained in many Europeans countries’
procedural law. For these three levels a special attention is reserved to the analysis
of the lifecycle of digital evidence, from the creation and use of digital digital human
rights documentation for immediate purpose to its later admission as evidence in legal
proceedings, as well as to the authentication issue. At the last stage a collection of the most relevant case law form the principal U.S. courts
and International courts is provided.

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