European Court of Human Rights

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Poland’s Power Play at its Borders Violates Fundamental Human Rights Law 

While the political and diplomatic power play between the European Union and Belarus over sanctions and gas delivery cuts escalate, the conditions for thousands of migrants physically trapped between borders deteriorates by the hour. Despite a ban of journalists at the border area based on Poland’s declared emergency status, videos and pictures of migrants, including families with children in tents in freezing conditions without adequate shelter, food or access to sanitation facilities and stories of deaths reach the rest of the continent and beyond. For months, the situation at the border intensified with an increasing number of migrants and asylum-seekers entering Poland via Belarus allegedly with official help from the Lukashenko regime. This triggered increasingly violent responses from the Polish side of the border ranging from push-backs (legalized under Polish law, see for an analysis of the legality of the legislation on border procedure here and here) to the construction of a physical border fence. The ECtHR already ordered on 25 August 2021 in interim measures pursuant…

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Expanding Human Rights Obligations to Facilitate Climate Justice? A Note on Shortcomings and Risks

COP26 in Glasgow has reinvigorated the already vibrant and urgent discussions about climate justice, what it means, and how to achieve it. One strategy that enjoys significant traction is the idea that expanding states’ human obligations will close the accountability gap in climate law or facilitate climate justice. Recent trends in climate change litigation, in particular, have witnessed…

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A Handy Illusion? Interpretation of the ‘Unlikely to Bring Effective Relief’ Limb of Article 7(e) OPIC by the CRC in Saachi et. al.

In an EJIL Talk! blog post, Aoife Nolan laid out the salient aspects of the five inadmissibility decisions in Saachi et al. v. Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey delivered by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on 8 October 2021. Her post focussed on how the Committee handled key…

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EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 12 – “No Licence to Kill”

In this episode, Marko Milanovic, Philippa Webb and I discuss the legal issues that arise from targeted killings conducted by states outside their territory. We begin with a discussion of the recent blockbuster judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case concerning Alexander Litvinenko (Carter v. Russia, no. 20914/07, 21 September 2021). In that…

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European Court Finds Russia Assassinated Alexander Litvinenko

On Tuesday a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights found Russia responsible for violating the right to life of Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy poisoned with radioactive polonium in London in 2006 (Carter v. Russia, no. 20914/07, 21 September 2021). The Court found Article 2 ECHR to have been violated in both its substantive…

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