European Court of Human Rights

  • The European Court of Human Rights on Nazi and Soviet Past in Central and Eastern Europe

    Author: Grażyna Baranowska
    E-mail: baranowska.g@gmail.com
    Institution: Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)
    Author: Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias
    E-mail: aggrabias@gmail.com
    Institution: Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland)
    Year of publication: 2016
    Source: Show
    Pages: 117-129
    DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ppsy2016009
    PDF: ppsy/45/2016009.pdf

    The article demonstrates how references to Nazi and Soviet past are perceived and evaluated by the European Court of Human Rights. Individual cases concerning Holocaust and Nazism, which the Court has examined so far, are compared here to judgments rendered with regard to Communist regime. The article proves that the Court treats more leniently state interference with freedom of expression when memory about Nazism and Holocaust is protected than when a post–Communist state wants to preserve a critical memory about the regime. The authors of the article agree with the attitude of the Court which offers a wide margin of appreciation to states restrictively treating references to Nazism and Holocaust, including comparisons to the Holocaust, Nazism or fascism used as rhetorical devices. At the same time they postulate that other totalitarian systems should be treated by the Court equally. 

  • Więzienia CIA w Polsce i manipulacje wokół nich

    Author: Henryk Składanowski
    Year of publication: 2015
    Pages: 49-86
    DOI Address: http://dx.doi.org/10.15804/ksm201504
    PDF: ksm/20/ksm201504.pdf

    The analysis of the materials show that the CIA prisons, where the members of Al-Kaida were kept and interrogated, were founded in Poland in 2002 when the country was governed by SLD. The PiS politicians who were in the following government knew about the fact but did not want to reveal it to the public. The party of PO which has been governing the country since 2007 has not solved the problem yet. European Court Of Human Rights held in its verdict of 24 July 2014 that there had been the CIA prisons in our country. According to that verdict Poland violated the European Convention on Human Rights and its ban on torture. Poland has not solved the problem, prolonging the investigation 15 times. It is extended until 11 April 2015. On 23 October 2014 our country appealed to European Court of Human Rights to hear the case again.

  • Argumentation of the Court of Strasbourg’s Jurisprudence regarding the discrimination against Roma

    Author: Cristina Hermida del Llano
    E-mail: cristina.hermida@urjc.es
    Institution: Rey Juan Carlos University, Spain
    Year of publication: 2015
    Source: Show
    Pages: 11-38
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2015.06.01
    PDF: ppk/28/ppk2801.pdf

    While the Court has, to some degree, started to protect against discrimination based on birth or nationality, the protection against discrimination on the basis of race until 2005 has been very poor and dubious. Upon reviewing the case law of the ECHR, we find that since the case “Relating to certain aspects of the laws on the use of language in education in Belgium” v. Belgium in 1968, the Court has decided to opt in favor of the original English version of art. 14, which underscores that the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms must be assured “without discrimination” and defends the concept that equality should be interpreted as non-discrimination, while clarifying that this disposition does not prohibit preferential treatment, such that, in the eyes of the Court, this principle is only violated when preferential treatment implies “a discriminatory treatment”, so the task for us is to determine in detail when the two are correlated. The cited decision is an essential reference as it provides the pointers needed to discern whether or not a violation of art. 14 exists, as in a “test” of equality that entails: (1) whether the distinction in treatment lacks objective justification; (2) whether the difference in treatment results in conformity with the objective of the effects of the measure examined attendant to the principles that generally prevail in democratic societies; (3) whether there exists a reasonable relationship between the means used and the end sought. Despite this interpretational recognition of art. 14, if we analyze in detail the Court’s jurisprudence, how the Court has approached the topic of discrimination on the basis of racial or ethnic origin is somewhat disappointing. The fact that during decades plaintiffs were required to provide proof beyond the shadow of a doubt has restricted the Court’s influence on discriminatory actions based on race or ethnicity; for this reason, it is not unexpected that in time critical dissidence arose, even within the Court itself. A good example of this is given by Judge Bonello in the decision Anguelova vs Bulgaria (2002). Here we analyze how the jurisprudence of the Court of Strasbourg has evolved in the context of discrimination against Roma, so as to ascertain the challenges that remain in this area.

  • Human Dignity in the European Perspective and the Proportionality Principle

    Author: Monika Forejtová
    Institution: University of West Bohemia
    Year of publication: 2016
    Source: Show
    Pages: 192–208
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/athena.2016.52.11
    PDF: apsp/52/apsp5211.pdf

    The fundamental human right to dignity is the cornerstone of European legal culture. The right has been provided for in international, European, and national legal instruments. Its role as a benchmark reference for all other human rights has developed into a self-standing and self-executing right, especially under the new EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. This evolution from the traditional role of the right to dignity is analysed in case study based on a real case before the Constitutional Court of the Czech Republic in 2015. The analysis brings forward a reflection about the need to respect the concept of dignity and how it actually is observed in the European context.

  • References to the US Supreme Court Decisions in the Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

    Author: Grzegorz Maroń
    E-mail: grzegorzmaron@op.pl
    Institution: University of Rzeszów
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3861-9103
    Year of publication: 2019
    Source: Show
    Pages: 319-349
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2019.05.22
    PDF: ppk/51/ppk5122.pdf

    The paper shows the ECtHR’s practice of making references to judicial decisions made by the US Supreme Court. This issue is part of the problem of taking, by the courts in the decision-making process, foreign law into account as well as the wider phenomenon of the so-called judicial globalization. The quantitative study of the Strasbourg case law made it possible to draw a number of conclusions. First, although the ECtHR’s judgments which contain references to decisions of the highest court of the United States constitute a proportionally small fraction of all judgments, the absolute number of cases where the Strasbourg Court has made references to American case law is far from being small. Secondly, over the past decades, the process of making use of the US Supreme Court decisions by the Strasbourg Court has been noticeably intensified. Thirdly, statistically twice as often, the US Supreme Court decisions are referred to by individual ECtHR judges as authors of separate (dissenting or concurring) opinions than the Court itself. Fourth, the composition of the Court, i.e. whether it sits as a Chamber or as a Grand Chamber, does not have an impact on the operationalization of the issue in question. Fifthly, the readfilled by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of the Wikimedia Foundation and several other organizations against the National Security Agency (NSA), the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and others, alleging mass surveillance of Wikipedia users carried out by the NSA. The lawsuit states that the upstream surveillance system violates the first amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects freedom of speech, and the fourth amendment to the United States Constitution, which prohibits unjustified searches and seizures. The ACLU lawsuit was filled on behalf of almost a dozen educational, legal, human rights-related and media organizations which jointly engage in trillions of confidential online communications and have been harmed by upstream supervision. Pre-surveillance procedures hinder the plaintiffs’ ability to ensure basic confidentiality of their communications with key contacts abroad – including journalists, co-workers, clients, victims of human rights abuses, and tens of millions of people who read and edit Wikipedia pages. Pre-surveillance procedures, which, as the government claims, are authorized by the Section 702 of the FISA Amendment Act, aim to trap all the international communications of Americans, including emails, web browsing content and search engine queries. With the help of companies such as Verizon and AT&T, the NSA has installed monitoring devices on the Internet – a backbone network, a network of high-capacity cables, switches and routers allowing the flow of the Internet traffic. These goals, chosen by intelligence analysts, are never approved by any court, and the existing restrictions are weak and full of exceptions. According to Section 702, the NSA may attack any foreigner who is outside the United States and may provide “intelligence from abroad”. The number of people under surveillance is huge and includes journalists, academic researchers, corporations, social workers, entrepreneurs and other people who are not suspected of any misconduct. After the victory of Wikimedia in the fourth circuit in May 2017, the case returned to the district court where Wikimedia was looking for documents and testimonies submitted by the Supreme Administrative Court. The government refused to comply with many requests for a disclosure of Wikimedia, citing the “privilege of state secrecy” to hide the basic facts of both Wikimedia as well as the court. Wikimedia contested the government’s unjustified use of confidentiality in order to protect its supervision from surveillance, but in August 2018 the District Court upheld it. Their work is necessary for the functioning of democracy. When their sensitive and privileged communication is being monitored by the US government, they cannot work freely and their effectiveness is limited – to the detriment of Americans and others around the world. Therefore, mass surveillance leads to social self-control, but in the most undesirable form which means restriction in exercising one’s own rights, including freedom of expression, for fear of sanctions on the part of public authorities. In this way, the measures known from totalitarian regimes are introduced into a democratic state. At the same time, this process happens in a secret way, because formally, the individual still has the same rights and freedoms. In this way, mass surveillance causes damage not only to single individuals, but to the entire state as it undermines the foundations of its system. Not without reason, according to the well-established jurisprudence of the ECtHR, the primary purpose of the legal safeguards established for the secret surveillance programs conducted by states is to reduce the risk of abuse of power. However, is it possible to establish such safeguards in the case of mass surveillance programs? In accordance with the standards introduced by the ECtHR, statutory provisions should specify at least the category of offences that may involve authorization of the use of surveillance measures, as well as a limitation on the maximum duration of their application. In the case of mass surveillance, it is no longer possible to fulfil the first of the indicated safeguards, because the essence of the use of this type of measures is to intercept all communications, and not only communications concerning persons suspected of committing specific crimes. However, the reasons for the repeated belief that non-offenders should not be afraid of surveillance are also worth of detailed analysis. In fact, the supporters of this point of view believe that information which can be obtained about them does not reveal secrets they would not like to share with others. This belief completely overlooks one of the most important features of mass surveillance which is acquisition of data from various sources and their aggregation and correlation, and in the final stage – drawing new conclusions. As a rule, these conclusions go beyond the original scope of information, thus they create new knowledge about the persons subject to surveillance. It can be the knowledge about their preferences (not only shopping, but also e.g. political or sexual), expected behavior, profile of decision-making, but also the circle of friends or existing social relations. The process of acquiring new his/her nationality and the type of legal culture of his/her home country. On the other hand, the distinction between judges from the West and East of Europe is of some significance. Finally, the communication between the European Court of Human Rights and the US Supreme Court is characterized by a clear asymmetry, in the sense that the judgments of the Strasbourg Court were referred to in just a few decisions of the American court. In the author’s view, the American case law may only play a subsidiary role in the comparative analysis of the ECtHR. The primary reference point for the Strasbourg Court should be the European Convention on Human Rights, case-law developed by that Court and the law of the Member States of the Council of Europe.

  • Electoral Democratic Standards: The Contribution of the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission)

    Author: Agata Hauser
    E-mail: ahauser@amu.edu.pl
    Institution: Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6382-3800
    Year of publication: 2020
    Source: Show
    Pages: 33-44
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ppk.2020.06.02
    PDF: ppk/58/ppk5802.pdf

    The European Commission for Democracy Through Law was created in 1990 and for the last three decades has adopted a number of documents of related to electoral standards in democratic states. They include legal opinions on national laws (or draftlaws), as well as documents of a more general nature, concerning specific topics (studies, reports). In this article, the author aims at presenting the main documents that include the electoral standards developed by the Venice Commission. However, as the opinions of the Venice Commission are not binding, the second part of this contribution presents the way this contribution of the Venice Commission is taken into account in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in cases concerning the alleged violations of the right to free elections.

  • Problematic Issues of Protection of Procedural Rights of the Claimant in the Implementation of Enforcement Proceedings in the Context of the Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

    Author: Leonid Kolobov
    E-mail: kolobov.lk1608@gmail.com
    Institution: National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine
    ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5348-430X
    Year of publication: 2021
    Source: Show
    Pages: 67-79
    DOI Address: https://doi.org/10.15804/ksm20210106
    PDF: ksm/29/ksm2906.pdf

    The article considers the issue of non-execution and / or long-term execution of court decisions by the judicial bodies of Ukraine, which are assigned the relevant functions by law, which serves as the basis for numerous appeals of citizens to the European Court of Human Rights. The decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the consideration of complaints of persons who are parties to enforcement proceedings - collectors in connection with the noncompliance of the state of Ukraine with court decisions and resolutions of the Cabinet of Ministers of Europe are analyzed.

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