Extraterritorial Application

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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 and its procedural aspects. It did so by 6 votes to 1 (Judge Dedov dissenting), and ordered Russia to pay Mr Litvinenko’s widow 100,000 euros in non-pecuniary damages. Russia may now ask the Grand Chamber of the Court to reconsider the case, and either way its compliance with the judgment is hardly a given. The judgment is simply remarkable – and not only because of its subject-matter and obvious political impact. The Court, for the very first time, expressly held that the ECHR applied to extraterritorial assassinations and arguably adopted a functional approach to extraterritoriality. In doing so it effectively disregarded – even ignored – contrary jurisprudence, especially Bankovic. It also applied Article 8 of the…

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The Endless War Against Human Rights in Afghanistan: Human Rights Defenders’ Joint Statement of Solidarity with the People of Afghanistan

Today, the 31st of August 2021, marks the official deadline for withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan after twenty years of military presence initially motivated by the 9/11 attacks of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.  Many have written (including Henry Kissinger) about the failures of American foreign policy and its efforts at nation-building…

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Russia Files Interstate Complaint Against Ukraine in Strasbourg

This, I think, is a first – after many years of being sued by other states (most notably Ukraine and Georgia) before the European Court of Human Rights and other international courts and tribunals, Russia has struck back last week by filing an interstate application of its own against Ukraine (no. 36958/21). Here’s an excerpt from the Court’s…

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SCOTUS Further Narrows Parent Corporate Liability under the Alien Tort Statute: Ambiguities and Evidentiary Thresholds in the June 2021 Judgment in Nestle USA Inc. v. Doe et al.

Introduction On June 17, 2021, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision in Nestle USA, Inc. v. Doe, __ S. Ct. __ (2021), which involved six former child slaves (“Respondents”) who had been kidnapped and forced to work on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast. Nestle USA, Inc. and Cargill, Inc. (together, “Petitioners”) purchased, processed,…

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Can the ECHR Encompass the Transnational and Intertemporal Dimensions of Climate Harm?

The irreversible harm caused by greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) transcends national borders and time, challenging traditional concepts of law. In this blog post, we discuss the applicability of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) to these overarching consequences of climate change, based on new reports issued by the European Network of National Human Rights…

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