Think Twice before Speaking of Constitutional Review in Turkey

German journalist Deniz Yücel has been freed from the Turkish prison he was held captive for a year. That the partial undoing of an unjust judicial decision had nothing to do with human rights, and everything to do with “diplomacy” – as Gabriel admitted – became all the more evident a few hours later. While one court in Istanbul released Yücel, another sentenced seven Turkish journalists to aggravated life in prison on charges of involvement in the failed coup attempt on 15 July 2016. In addition to being the first conviction of journalists in relation to the putsch attempt, the ruling is also remarkable due to its implications for Turkey’s constitutional regime.

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Converging Human Rights and Economics?

The adequacy of pensions, equality, mitigating impact on the poor, and protecting vulnerable persons and groups currently seem to rank high on the agenda of both economists and human rights lawyers. If this is a sign of convergence between the two regimes, it would be more than welcome as that may be the only way of overcoming the hegemonic struggle over which vocabulary to frame the discussion in.

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The Emerging Trend of Parliamentary Performance: Freedom of Expression in the Hungarian National Assembly

Laurent Fabius, the former President of the French National Assembly, once called the parliament, rather poetically “a theatre of shadows”. It was a harsh criticism of the mostly formal and insignificant role of parliament in the legislative process under the excessive dominance of the Executive. A few years ago Hungarian opposition MPs decided to turn their own “theater” into something more meaningful, or at least more amusing. They have been using all kinds of creative techniques to express their opinion in the hemicycle. It seems, however, that the Speaker and the parliamentary majority do not really appreciate this new trend of performing arts for they constantly impose heavy penalties on the MPs. This practice is a reminder that the principle of parliamentary autonomy needs to be reconsidered in light of contemporary political realities.

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Advertising: Global Constitutionalism (Journal) Volume 6, Issue 3
November 2017

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Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law

  • Global constitutionalism and constitutional imagination
    OLIVIERO ANGELI

  • Civil disobedience as transnational disruption
    WILLIAM SMITH

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Memory Wars: The Polish-Ukrainian Battle about History

Recent events show that the conflict between Ukraine and Poland over  the interpretation of controversial historical events of World War II has reached a point to be classified as ‘memory war’. These political initiatives from the both sides have destroyed the first achievements of the Ukrainian-Polish dialogue on mutual repentance, forgiveness and commemoration of the innocent victims killed during the conflict in 1940s.

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The German NetzDG: A Risk Worth Taking?

While the NetzDG is unlikely to resolve all challenges surrounding social media and freedom of expression, and undoubtedly presents a certain risk of stifling expression online, I believe it is nonetheless a significant step in the right direction. Rather than undermine freedom of expression, it promises to contribute to more inclusive debates by giving the loud and radical voices less prominence. In any case, it appears reasonable to let this regulatory experiment play out and observe whether fears over a ‘chilling effect’ on free expression are borne out by the evidence.

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Reviewing the Holocaust Bill: The Polish President and the Constitutional Tribunal

President Duda decided to sign off the controversial law allowing to punish those who publicly accuse the Polish nation and the Polish state of taking part in the Holocaust and in any war crimes. The law will now come into force – a circumstance which is unlikely to calm the international discussion it has generated. Having decided to sign the law, the President announced that he will file a motion to the Polish Constitutional Tribunal to check its constitutionality. If the president is aware that the law may be unconstitutional and has at his disposal legal tools to check it yet allows it to come into force, he can be accused of constitutional recklessness.

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The Hierarchy of Hate: Mixed Signals in the Combat against Hate Speech

There is a number of varying thresholds to free speech regulation set out by relevant legal tools which can do nothing but confuse countries. Moreover, anti-hate speech legislation developed on an international and European level is marred by what I refer to as the hierarchy of hate, namely the arbitrary focus on particular types of hate speech, such as racist speech, and the simultaneous disregard for other genres such as homophobic speech.

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With a little help from Henry VIII

There are few legislative assemblies in Europe which can call themselves with proud sovereign. The Principle of Parliamentary Sovereignty is the most important part of UK constitutional law. It implies that all legislation derives from the superior legal authority of Parliament and hence it is the job of the Members of Parliament to create, abolish and change the law. Well, since Henry VIII this principle is no longer entirely true, and it is currently challenged again by the future “Great Repeal Bill”.

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Calling Murders by Their Names as Criminal Offence – a Risk of Statutory Negationism in Poland

On the eve of the Holocaust Remembrance Day on 27th of January, the Polish Sejm approved a law on the defamation of the Polish State and Nation, causing extremely harsh reactions from Israel, Holocaust survivors and international organizations. While the attempt to ban the use of the word “Polish concentration camp” seems fully justified, the scope of the law goes way beyond that and is a threat to the freedom of speech and academic research.

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Failing to Struggle or Struggling to Fail? On the New Judiciary Legislation Changes in Romania

Like never before in the last 28 years in Romania, huge protests have started against the ‘assault against the judicial independence’. Awareness has been raised as regards the importance of a truly independent judiciary and the disastrous effects of political corruption on the very existence of a liberal democracy.

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