Corte Europea de Derechos Humanos
The Security Council and Humanitarian Relief in Opposition-Held Territories
Over the past year, the Security Council has repeatedly demanded all parties to the armed conflict in Syria, particularly the Syrian authorities, to allow and facilitate humanitarian relief operations across conflict lines and across borders (see resolution 2139 and a presidential statement) – but with little success. In its latest resolution the UN Security Council decided – for a period of 180 days – “that the United Nations humanitarian agencies and their implementing partners are authorized to use routes across conflict lines and [specific] border crossings … in order to ensure that humanitarian assistance” reaches people in need in Syria. The Security Council also decided to establish a monitoring mechanism in neighbouring countries in order to confirm the humanitarian nature of the relief consignments.
Resolution 2165 was adopted as international humanitarian law experts continue to debate whether aid may be lawfully delivered cross-border to opposition-held territories without the consent of the host state. While some (here and here) contend that the issue is clear-cut – with consent being required – the only thing that does seem clear-cut is the lack of consensus. Others, including one of the present authors, argue a case exists for cross-border assistance without consent under certain conditions. This latter view has been supported by the former President of the International Humanitarian Fact Finding Commission and co-author of an authoritative commentary on the Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions, Professor Bothe, in an unpublished study provided to the UN. A group of prominent legal experts have made even bolder claims in a recently published open letter. So while international lawyers continue to sharpen their pencils, resolution 2165 supplements IHL by invoking the authority of the Security Council to fill in the gaps left by IHL’s uncertainties on cross-border aid in non-international armed conflict.
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Corte reivindicó la justicia indígena
La Corte Constitucional, para proteger las comunidades indígenas, declaró inexequible un aparte de una ley que está vigente desde el siglo XIX.
Se trata de Ley 89 de noviembre 16 de 1890 “por la cual se determina la manera como deben ser gobernados los salvajes que se reduzcan a la vida civilizada”, que entre otras indicaciones, mantenía vivo en el ordenamiento, para que los alcaldes y otras autoridades administrativas, “la competencia para dirimir conflictos surgidos entre indígenas de una misma comunidad étnica, o entre estos y el cabildo de la respectiva comunidad”, según indica el comunicado de la Corte.
Y agrega que “esa situación, desconoce el derecho fundamental de las comunidades indígenas de resolver los asuntos internos mediante la aplicación de normas y procedimientos propios”.
A pesar de que tumba el aparte de esa norma, es particular que una norma de este tipo se siga aplicando en Colombia, más aún, que la Corte no haya ido más allá y haya declarado inconstitucional toda la norma. Es algo que en su salvamento de voto indicó el magistrado Jorge Iván Palacio Palacio. “Tal declaración ha debido extenderse a toda la Ley 89 de 1890, por contrariar abiertamente la autonomía de los pueblos indígenas”.
Se trata de una norma que el Gobierno ha venido analizando para determinar si se trata de una “ley inútil” y se debería derogar, toda vez que ya se estaría aplicando en el territorio o habría perdido vigencia. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Los cónyuges de los trabajadores homosexuales logran igualdad de derechos en la ONU
07 de julio, 2014 — La ONU reconocerá los matrimonios de trabajadores de la organización con personas del mismo sexo, aunque sean nacionales de un país que no acepta las uniones de este tipo.
El Secretario General, Ban Ki-moon, manifestó que la igualdad comienza en casa, al anunciar que desde ahora los empleados que estén casados con una persona del mismo sexo tendrán todos los beneficios y derechos con independencia de las leyes del país de origen de esos funcionarios.
Hasta ahora, era el Estado de origen el que determinaba el estado civil de un trabajador de Naciones Unidas. Con esta nueva medida, si un empleado de la ONU se casa con su pareja en un tercer país, la Organización reconocerá este matrimonio.
Ban Ki-moon afirmó que “todos los trabajadores forman parte de la ONU y deben ser tratados igual”.
Recordó que los derechos humanos son la esencia de Naciones Unidas y señaló que la discriminación y la homofobia no tienen cabida en la Organización. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Will China force the USA’s hand to revisit the Law of the Sea Convention?
On 28th May, US President Barack Obama again called upon the US Senate to ratify the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (LOSC), following tension in the South China Sea. This area of the ocean is notoriously problematic, with China claiming sovereignty over almost all of the South China Seas and failing to recognise any rival claims from neighbouring States, such as Vietnam and the Philippines. Conflict appears to have been renewed afresh when Vietnam reported that a Chinese flagged vessel had intentionally struck two of its ships in the area at the beginning of May.
Although China has ratified the LOSC, it asserts that it has a historical claim over disputed islands that pre-date the 1982 treaty. On 1st June, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People’s Liberation Army, Wang Guanzhong, speaking in the Shangri-La Dialogue, maintained that the Convention was “not the only point of reference” in adjusting sovereignty over islands and seas, strongly suggesting that mounting disputes and its membership of the Law of the Sea Convention would not cause it to reconsider the infamous ‘Nine Dash Line’ that demarcates its claim to the South China Sea. It takes this stance despite the fact that the Philippines filed a case with the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in March challenging its sovereignty (China having already made known its refusal to take part in any such arbitration). Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Fuente: La Información
El Consejo de Europa pide a Bielorrusia que suspenda las penas de muerte
París, 16 may.- El secretario general del Consejo de Europa, Thorbjørn Jagland, pidió hoy a Bielorrusia que suspenda formalmente la aplicación de la pena de muerte, como “un primer paso” hacia la abolición total de esta práctica.
Jagland condenó la ejecución de un reo este mes, la segunda en lo que va de año, y destacó que la pena capital es contraria a los derechos humanos.
Bielorrusia es el único país europeo que no pertenece al Consejo de Europa -el Vaticano tampoco por la incompatibilidad de su régimen político con los principios de esta organización, pero cuenta con estatus de observador- y es el único también donde se aplica esa condena.
30 January 2014
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to welcome you all to this press conference, which by tradition is held before the formal opening of our judicial year. The solemn hearing marking this event will take place tomorrow. As has been the case for a number of years, it will be preceded by a seminar, which this year is entitled “Implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: a shared judicial responsibility” – a subject which in my view is especially important.
I would add that our guest of honour will be Mr Andreas Voβkuhle, President of the German Federal Constitutional Court.
This week I have received Mr Sebastian Kurz, the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairman-in-Office of the Committee of Ministers.
Since this morning and throughout tomorrow, I will also be receiving a large number of presidents of the highest courts of our member States. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Last week the Judicial Year 2014 officially started in Strasbourg at the European Court of Human Rights. In what has become an anuual tradiiton, the Court’s President, Dean Spielmann looked back at the past year, highlighting the most important developments. The most remarkable aspect is probably that the Court’s backlog has decreased again, now falling below the symbolic number of 100,000 (in September 2011, for example, the backlog was still 160,000 cases. The good news is partly due to internal reforms, such as the single-judge system and the creation of a new section of the Court dedicated specfically to the filtering of cases. In addition, the staff capacity has been temporarily increased to deal with the blacklog by voluntary extra contributions of state parties to the Convention. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
Whole-life sentences can still be imposed on serious and serial offenders despite objections from the European court of human rights, the court of appeal has been told.
Existing provisions for considering inmates for release on compassionate grounds are sufficient to meet Strasbourg’s demand for intermittent reviews of whole-life sentences, James Eadie QC said.
His comments came in applications before the court of appeal concerning the prison terms of two murderers, which have been seen as a test of whether parliament or the ECHR constitutes the ultimate legal authority. A judgment by the Strasbourg court last year ruled that whole-life terms were a breach of human rights because they did not allow for any prospect of release or of the sentence being reviewed. Leer el resto de esta entrada »
On March 6-7, 2014, the University of Iceland Human Rights Institute will hold a conference on “Shifting Centres of Gravity in European Human Rights Protection,” in Reykjavík. The program is here. Here’s the idea:
The protection of human rights in Europe is at crossroads. The European Union (EU) is increasingly prioritising fundamental rights, for example by giving the Charter of Fundamental Rights the status of primary law and through the treaty-based obligation of accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Accession, once it takes place, expands the mandate of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and is likely to bring about fundamental structural changes to the system of human rights protection in Europe, as decisions of the ECtHR will be binding on the EU and its courts. However, pulling in a somewhat different direction than developments in EU law, the political momentum for bringing the responsibility for the protection of ECHR rights ‘home’ to the member states has been growing ever stronger. This repositioning of the centre of gravity of human rights protection is beginning to take shape in two new Protocols to the ECHR, which emphasise the principle of subsidiarity and the margin of appreciation enjoyed by the member states (Protocol No. 15), and introduce a preliminary reference procedure under the ECHR (Protocol No. 16). Finally, and in light of the crisis created by the overwhelming case-load of the ECtHR, the Brighton Declaration of 2010 has put the long-term review of the Court’s fundamental nature and role on the agenda before the end of 2019. Overall, therefore, the future of human rights in Europe faces major structural changes which could have significant consequences for access to justice and the quality of protection provided to victims of human rights violations.
This conference will explore these themes from the perspective that current developments call for a critical assessment of classical approaches to the three-dimensional relationship between the ECHR, EU law and national law; of the theories and tools utilised to navigate this relationship; and of the effects current developments may have on victims and vulnerable groups.
European Court of Human Rights Upholds State Immunity in Case Involving Allegations of Torture – Jones v United Kingdom
Today, a chamber of the European Court of Human Rights has handed down its judgment in the long awaited case of Jones and others v. United Kingdom (application no. 34356/06 & 40528/06). The case concerned the UK House of Lord’s decision ( UKHL 26) to accord state immunity in civil proceedings brought in the UK, against Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabian officials, by British nationals who alleged they had been tortured in Saudi Arabia. The European Court of Human Rights has today upheld that decision of the House of Lords. The chamber of the Court held by six votes to one that the granting of immunity to Saudi Arabia and its state officials in civil proceedings reflected generally recognised rules of public international law. Therefore, dismissal of the case by the English courts on grounds of state immunity did not amount to a violation of Article 6 (1) of the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees a right of access to court. In particular, the Chamber held that there was noaccess to court.
According to the Chamber, while there was some emerging support at the international level in favour of a special rule or exception in public international law in cases concerning civil claims for torture lodged a state’s right to immunity could not be circumvented by suing named officials instead. The decision picks up from where the International Court of Justice left off in Jurisdictional Immunities (Germany v. Italy) case in deciding that allegations of violations of jus cogens rules does not mean that state immunity becomes inapplicable. However, the European Court of Human Rights has also stated that in the light of the current developments in this area of public international law, this was a matter which needed to be kept under review by Contracting States.
EJIL:Talk! and Opinio Juris will be providing reactions to this decision over the coming days. Here on EJIL:Talk! Lorna McGregor (Essex University), who worked on the case while she was Legal Adviser at Redress (an NGO that helps torture survivors), and Philippa Webb (Kings College London) will discuss the case. Over at Opinio Juris, Chimène Keitner, Bill Dodge (both at the University of California, Hastings College of Law) and Ingrid Wuerth (Vanderbilt) will provide commentary from across the pond. All of them have done brilliant work on immunity and all have written influential pieces on the relationship between immunity and human rights. A stellar line up indeed!