Thursday 12 June 2008

Human Rights During Armed Conflict

The manner of applying human rights to situations of armed conflict has been a topic of heated debate in academia and in courts in the last decade. A recent article in Global Jurist addresses the issue. Federico Sperotto's Law in Times of War: The Case of Chechnya looks into the ways in which the European Court of Human Rights has applied the Convention to the war in Chechnya and places it in a broader international law context. Good background reading for last week's judgments on the region. This is the abstract:

In October 1999 "the second Chechen war" broke out. In December the Russian federal army started an operation to take control of Grozny. During the confrontation between the Federal forces and the Chechen separatists, serious human rights violations occurred. Several cases concerning violations of fundamental rights, in and around the city, have been brought before the European Court of Human Rights against Russia. The lawsuits concerned physical integrity issues in particular. This study provides some insights on the jurisprudence of the European Court on Human Rights in order to ascertain the adequacy of the mechanism of protection provided by the European Convention of 1950 in situations of armed conflict.

Incidentally, today the Court found violations of Articles 2, 3, 5, and 13 ECHR in two new Chechen cases: Elmurzayev and others v. Russia and Atabayeva and others v. Russia. An almost endless series of disappearance cases seems to be yielding Strasbourg judgments in the years to come.