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Supervision of Derogations in the Wake of COVID-19: a litmus test for the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

The pandemic COVID-19 has triggered a record number of derogations from the European Convention on Human Rights (the ‘ECHR’ or the ‘Convention’). By now, Albania, Armenia, Estonia, Georgia, Latvia, Moldova, North Macedonia and Romania have notified the Secretary General of the Council of Europe (the ‘Secretary General’) of their derogations from the ECHR. More States may follow suit, or have already derogated from the ECHR, but have not yet notified the Secretary General thereof pursuant to Article 15.3 ECHR. Derogations are somewhat like pandemics. They receive an extensive attention only once they occur. They are both undesired. When they occur, nothing but a short life is wished for them. This blog argues that derogations and pandemics have another thing in common: they test the ability of the relevant supervisory mechanisms to respond to their effects. The present blog discusses this aspect with regard to supervision of derogations from the ECHR in particular. Supervision of derogations from the ECHR The European Court of Human Rights (the ‘ECtHR’ or the…

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NGOs and ECtHR judges: A Clarification

The 5 March blog post by Grégor Puppinck is not really a result of academic research, nor does it manage to identify an actual problem of public policy. Despite its civility in style and appearance of balance, the blog post, as well as the underlying European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ) report written by the…

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NGOs and judges at the ECtHR: a need for clarification

What are the relationships between the judges of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and leading non-governmental organisations, and what should the Court be doing about them, particularly in cases in which doubts as to the judges’ impartiality might arise? This is the topic of this post, which is  worthy of interest and needs to be addressed,…

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(Not) Investigating Kunduz and (Not) Judging in Strasbourg? Extraterritoriality, Attribution and the Duty to Investigate

  A 2009 airstrike near Kunduz, Afghanistan, that led to more than 100 casualties and was ordered by a German colonel will be the subject of oral arguments in the Grand Chamber (GC) of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in the case of Hanan v. Germany, tomorrow, 26 February 2020. On 4 September…

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The Amendments to the Russian Constitution: Putin’s Attempt to Reinforce Russia’s Isolationist Views on International Law?

On 15 January 2020, in his state-of-the-union address, President Putin proposed a number of amendments to the 1993 Constitution of the Russian Federation, including the ones prescribing to redistribute the president’s power in favour of the parliament and a vaguely defined but powerful body called the State Council. The speech has made international headlines (see…

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