Right to Life

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Attribution, Jurisdiction, Discrimination, Decapitation: A Comment on Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary

You know how, every once in a while, you read a case that has everything? I mean really everything? Great facts. Grisly facts even, for those so inclined – say involving a beheading by a state agent. Great law. Not just some genuine legal innovation worthy of scholarly commentary – that’s fine obviously, but not all that uncommon. I mean proper, nerdy, esoteric legal stuff. It doesn’t have to be hugely important; it doesn’t have to concern the world’s most powerful states and its most pressing issues; but it still sticks in your head, it really does. And thank God it’s not about Covid. That’s the kind of case I mean. So let me tell you about one such case that has everything – Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Azerbaijan and Hungary, a Chamber judgment of the European Court of Human Rights, decided last month. As we will see, while focused primarily on the substantive and procedural obligations of states arising from the right to life, the case also raises significant systemic questions of…

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George Floyd’s Murder and the New Hope for Police Reform

The anti-racist protests dominating both old and new media these last three weeks are denouncing much more than racist and violent — indeed murderous — policing in the United States and many other countries. All honor and mourn George Floyd. Most invoke the names of other black men and women outrageously killed by police in recent…

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The Value of Life

The right to life has been described by the UN Human Rights Committee as ‘the supreme right’. Its realisation is the precondition for the exercise of all other rights. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that: ‘Every human being has the inherent right to life.’ The right to life…

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EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 3 – Hacked Off!

In the latest episode of EJIL: The Podcast! is now available. This episode focuses on the application of international law to cyber operations by states and non-state actors. For this discussion, Sarah, Nouwen, Marko Milanovic and I are joined by Harriet Moynihan (Chatham House), and Tilman Rodenhäuser (International Committee of…

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Contact-tracing Apps and Human Rights

The Covid-19 pandemic engages the full spectrum of states’ human rights obligations. In addressing the virus itself, states are required to protect the rights to life and the highest attainable standard of health (right to health) and ensure that no-one suffers discrimination in access to and the nature of healthcare. States’ (in)action in meeting their obligations to fulfil…

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