Extraterritorial Application

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A Quick Take on the European Court’s Climate Change Judgments

Today the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered a monumental trio of decisions – two admissibility decisions and one judgment – on climate change. In Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland, the Court, by 16 votes to 1 (Judge Eicke dissenting), set forth new principles on standing (victim status) in climate change cases, and on how Article 2 and 8 of the Convention would substantively apply to such cases. Briefly, it found the applicant organization to have standing, while the individual applicants lacked standing. It then examined the case from the standpoint of Article 8, found that mitigating climate change is a duty that can fall under the umbrella concept of the right to private life under Article 8, and that Switzerland failed to do all it could have done to mitigate climate change. This is a VERY sophisticated judgment, which quite transparently weighs various competing considerations and shows a particular kind of awareness of the Court’s role in ensuring that states do something to…

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Wieder and Guarnieri v UK: A Justifiably Expansive Approach to the Extraterritorial Application of the Right to Privacy in Surveillance Cases

In September last year, a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in Wieder and Guarnieri v. the United Kingdom (nos. 64371/16 and 64407/16), which became final in December. The judgment is an important contribution to the ever-growing international case law on the extraterritorial application of human rights. Briefly, the Court…

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The Mariupol Test: Analysing the Briefs of Third States Intervening in Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia

The interstate case of Ukraine and the Netherlands v. Russia is currently pending on its merits before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. It is one of the most complex and politically momentous cases ever to be heard by the Court. Russia is no longer participating in the proceedings, and will not comply with…

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Targeted Killings: New Allegations Against India and Ukraine

Yesterday, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, stood up in Parliament and formally accused the government of India of committing a targeted killing on Canadian territory. The victim, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was a prominent leader of a Sikh separatist movement in India, who was designated as a terrorist by the Indian government. He was assassinated…

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Justifying Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations and Climate Change as a Counterexample

Why and What to Justify Extraterritorial human rights obligations are contentious. In the UK, for example, the ECtHR’s findings that armed forces deployed abroad have human rights obligations have met with criticism. Extraterritoriality is also routinely named as one of the most difficult aspects of the next generation of potentially groundbreaking human rights litigation:…

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