VB Live: Judicial Independence – a Public Talk by Robert Spano, President of the ECtHR

Today on VB: In his first public talk since taking over the presidency of the European Court of Human Rights, Judge Robert Spano speaks about “The Principle of Judicial Independence and the Democratic Virtues of Human Rights Law.” The talk will be followed by questions from the online audience, chaired by iCourts Director, Professor Mikael Rask Madsen.

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Dissecting Covid-19 Derogations

Does the pandemic require derogation from human rights treaties? This question has sparked significant debate, notably spurred by Alan Greene’s provocative argument that failing to derogate would denature ordinary human rights law and leave the start and end points of the crisis unclear. Others disagree: Scheinin argues the principle of normalcy, contained in General Comment […]

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Covid-19 and Derogations Before the European Court of Human Rights

Many argue that derogations, permitted under many human rights instruments, provide a useful framework for assessing whether any human rights infringements that arise from emergency provisions adopted in response to Covid-19 are justified. Drawing on jurisprudence from the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR or the Court) in relation to Northern Ireland, this post argues that it is likely that the vast majority of cases exploring derogation will be found in a government’s failure.

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Before it Spreads “Like Wildfire”: Prisoners’ Rights in the Time of COVID-19

There are more than 10.7 million people imprisoned throughout the world. Prisons are notorious incubators and amplifiers of infections, and the fear among inmates due to COVID-19 is deepening all across the world (France, UK, US and Australia among many others). During the current pandemic, protecting prisons from the ‘tidal wave of COVID-19’ proves to be a challenging issue for States. After all, they have obligations and duties under international law to safeguard the human rights of prisoners, particularly their right to life, health and human treatment.

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Private (Transnational) Power without Authority

On 9 September 2019 Facebook banned from its platforms all pages and profiles related to the Italian far-right organization “CasaPound”, for the violation of its Community Standard no. 12 (hate speech and incitement to violence). On 11 December 2019, the Tribunal of Rome (ToR) adopted the precautionary measure ordering Facebook Ireland Ltd. to restore the pages and their content and to pay the losses. The decision raises significant issues in several respects and might serve as a model to courts beyond Italy.

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Did Turkey’s Recent Emergency Decrees Derogate from the Absolute Rights?

Following a coup attempt by a small group in the Turkish Armed Forces in 2016, the Turkish Government declared a state of emergency for three months. Although it observed procedural rules laid down by national and international law on declaring a state of emergency, the Government’s use of the emergency powers contradicts non-derogable rights laid down in the Turkish Constitution, the ICCPR and the ECHR.

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Fundamental Rights as Bycatch – Russia’s Anti-Fake News Legislation

On 18 March, following approval by President Putin, Russia’s controversial anti-fake news legislation entered into force. While Russia is not the only state to address the issues of hate speech or fake news with legislative means, its new legislation raises serious constitutional concerns, particularly due to its imprecise and overly broad scope of application.

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