Right to Life

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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 Proceedings Flow While Water Does Not: Russia’s Claims Concerning the North Crimean Canal in Strasbourg

On 23 July, Russia brought an interstate complaint against Ukraine to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). After endlessly being a respondent in cases arising out of alleged control over the territories of other states, the empire decided to strike back. Ukraine for the first time found itself as a defensive side in its…

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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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Drowning Migrants in the Mediterranean and the ICCPR, Again

Last week 130 migrants perished off the coast of Libya, as their rubber boat capsized in the stormy Mediterranean. Some 750 migrants have died this year in trying to make the crossing. (See here for the IOM report, and here and here for the recent posts we had on this topic…

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Drowning in the Mediterranean: Time to think and act regionally

Europe, that is, the EU and its institutions, currently asserts the right to manage the movement of people across the Mediterranean, and with that comes responsibility, for special protection is owed to those whom it would manage. ‘Responsibility’ is multi-dimensional. Fault, in the sense of wilful or negligent conduct, may be relevant; or responsibility may follow from the…

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