Right to Life

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Georgia v. Russia No. 2: The European Court’s Resurrection of Bankovic in the Contexts of Chaos

Last week the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights delivered its judgment in the second interstate case brought by Georgia against Russia (no. 38263/08), dealing with the August 2008 conflict between the two states (see my brief preview here ; for a summary of the judgment see the Court’s press release here). Briefly, the Court found Russia responsible for serious human rights abuses in the immediate aftermath of the conflict. But, by 11 votes to 6, it refused to look at any of the alleged substantive violations of the right to life during the ‘active hostilities’ phase of the conflict. This is a very important judgment – a substantial, but far from total win for Georgia – but also a very disappointing one. Regardless of the final outcome, the Court’s reasoning on the key points of jurisdiction and the applicability of the European Convention in armed conflict is exemplary only in its arbitrariness. It is a retrograde step, putting the Court firmly against…

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The Assassination of Alexander Litvinenko Before the European Court of Human Rights

In more extraterritoriality news, the Guardian recently reported that the widow of Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed in London in 2006 by Russian agents using a radioactive poison, has revived the claim she had previously filed against Russia before the European Court of Human Rights: The widow of Alexander Litvinenko has submitted…

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Armenia v Azerbaijan before the European Court of Human Rights

On 28 September 2020, Armenia lodged a request for interim measures against Azerbaijan in view of the recent reignition of the conflict in and around the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. One day later, the European Court of Human Rights decided to apply Rule 39 of the Rules of the Court. While…

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Cyber Operations against Vaccine R & D: Key International Law Prohibitions and Obligations

By August, COVID-19 had killed 700,000 people world-wide, while at least 18 million have been infected by the virus. It now appears that the best hope for battling the pandemic may lie in multiple vaccines. This reality has sparked vaccine nationalism, as states compete for the supplies that hopefully will become available early next year. For…

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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.

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