Will the ECtHR Shake up the European Asylum System?

Are European embassies abroad obliged to issue visa to particularly vulnerable asylum seekers under European human rights? This question is at the core of the case of Nahhas and Hadri v. Belgium currently pending before the Grand Chamber of the Strasbourg Court. Too accustomed have we often become to the limits of state obligations to note how they can make the promise of universal rights fade into hypocrisy. It is crucial that in light of concrete cases the drawing of boundaries is reconsidered – to ask what the law requires, and to render visible the responsibility we have to mitigate shortcomings of the law.

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Toleranz ja! Aber gegenüber wem? Der österreichische Blasphemie­straftat­bestand vor dem EGMR

Das am 25.10.2018 veröffentlichte Urteil des EGMR in E.S./Österreich (Beschwerde Nr. 38450/12) hat für erhebliches Aufsehen und einige Aufregung und Kritik gesorgt – zu Recht. Die ganz auf den konkreten Sachverhalt fokussierte Entscheidung interessiert vor allem für das, was sie nicht oder nur am Rande behandelt: die Kriminalisierung blasphemischer Äußerungen durch Bestimmungen wie § 188 StGB.

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Slovenia’s Supreme Court rejects the European Court of Human Rights

On Wednesday 24th of October the Supreme Court of the Republic of Slovenia made a striking, indeed unprecedented, announcement. After a rather uncontroversial and routine ruling by the ECtHR, the Supreme Court has declared – in a mere press release and without any justification – that it respects only the rulings of the Strasbourg Court that it finds persuasive. In so doing, Slovenia hints at joining the regimes of Russia and Turkey.

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Ein Recht auf Kopftuch im Gerichtssaal

Am 18. September 2018 hat der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) im Fall Lachiri v Belgium erstmals zugunsten des Rechts muslimischer Frauen geurteilt, ein Kopftuch zu tragen. Konkret ging es um den Ausschluss einer Prozessbeteiligten aus dem Gerichtssaal als Folge ihrer Weigerung, ihr Kopftuch abzulegen. Hierin erkannte der EGMR eine Verletzung der in Artikel 9 EMRK verankerten Religionsfreiheit. Das Urteil zeigt, dass der margin of appreciation der Mitgliedstaaten doch nicht grenzenlos ist – auch dann nicht, wenn es um die Rechte muslimischer Frauen geht.

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Big Brother Watch and others v. the United Kingdom: A Victory of Human Rights over Modern Digital Surveillance?

The European Court of Human Rights delivered its long-awaited judgment in Big Brother Watch and others v. the United Kingdom. While this landmark decision marks a victory for the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of expression over surveillance, it is also a missed opportunity for the Strasbourg Court.

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Sandu and Others v Russia and Moldova: The High Costs of Occupation

On 17 July 2018, the European Court on Human Rights reminded again that occupation of foreign lands and support of separatist regimes is a costly affair. This cost is not only calculated in terms of monetary repercussions but also in terms of reputational losses. On that day the chamber of the Court delivered a judgment in the case of Sandu and Others v Russia and Moldova. This judgment is a new one in the line of cases dealing with a breakaway region of Moldova – the self-proclaimed Republic of Transnistria.

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The Curious Case of Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code: Insulting the Turkish President

Judgments by the Strasbourg Court are binding on Turkey and furthermore are the primary source for interpreting the European Convention of Human Rights, a treaty to which Turkey is party and which, according to Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution, prevails over national laws such as Article 299 of the Turkish Penal Code on insulting the President, in the event of conflict. ECtHR jurisprudence clearly indicates such a conflict between Article 299 and the Convention. But are Turkish courts aware of this?

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Der NSU vor dem EGMR: Letzte Hoffnung auf Aufklärung?

Nach dem Urteil im NSU-Prozess haben Nebenkläger*innen und ihre Anwält*innen angekündigt, keinen Schlussstrich ziehen zu wollen. Man sei bereit, bis zum Europäischen Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (EGMR) zu gehen. Bis dahin ist es noch ein weiter Weg, der zunächst über den BGH und das BVerfG führt. Trotzdem lohnt die Überlegung, wie der EGMR zur Aufklärung des NSU-Komplexes beitragen kann.

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The ECtHR and Post-coup Turkey: Losing Ground or Losing Credibility?

Since Turkey’s coup attempt in July 2016, human rights violations have been abundant. With a broken Turkish justice system, the ECtHR has received over 33,000 applications from the country, with 30 to 40 more incoming each week. Shockingly, more than 90% of these applications have been dismissed. This is often on dubious grounds, causing experts and Turkish citizens alike to condemn its response.

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