European Court of Human Rights

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No Right to Same-Sex Marriage under the ECHR

Today a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, no. 30141/04. The applicants alleged a violation of Art. 12, and Art. 8 combined with Art. 14, on the basis that Austrian law did not allow them, as a same-sex couple, to contract marriage. Notably, the applicants did not just claim that Austria denied them some specific legal rights and privileges of a married couple, by refusing to recognize their relationship at all - something that the European Court has regarded as discriminatory since its 2003 judgment in Karner v. Austria, and unjustifiable merely for the sake of protecting an abstract notion of the traditional family. Rather, their claim focused solely on their inability to enter into marriage as such. In other words, they argued that the definition of marriage as a union of a man and a woman was as such discriminatory. (For more background, see this excellent post by Tobias Thienel on the oral hearings in the case).The Chamber rejected the applicants' arguments. The applicants…

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‘Is torture ever justified?’: The European Court of Human Rights decision in Gäfgen v Germany

Natasha Simonsen is a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. Previously, she worked as a consultant for UNICEF and has interned with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Pakistan. Earlier this month, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down its decision in Gäfgen v Germany. The case raised…

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Grand Chamber Hearings and Preview of Al-Skeini and Al-Jedda

Today the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights held joint hearings in  Al-Skeini and others v. UK (no. 55721/07) and Al-Jedda v. UK (no. 27021/08) - webcast available here, statements of facts available here. It would be no exaggeration to say that these are some of the most important cases to come before the Court…

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Was Nuremberg a Violation of the Principle of Legality?

This is, remarkably, the question raised by yesterday's judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Kononov v. Latvia, App. No. 36376/04. In short, the applicant was a former Soviet partisan convicted by a Latvian court for war crimes, because during World War II he and the unit under his command killed a group…

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Al-Saadoon and Mufdhi Merits Judgment

The Al-Saadoon and Mufdhi v. United Kingdom (no. 61498/08) judgment by a Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is now out (HUDOC). For our previous coverage, with links and background, see here and here. The shortest possible summary - the applicants won, and the Chamber judgment is a valuable contribution to human rights jurisprudence. Now…

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