Wednesday 8 September 2010

Article on Interim Measures

The newest issue of our own Utrecht-based Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights has just been published (vol. 28, nr. 3, 2010). It includes an article on interim measures, comparing the experiences of the European and Inter-American human rights systems, authored by my friends Yves Haeck (SIM -Utrecht and Ghent Univ.) and Clara Burbano Herrera (Ghent Univ.): "Letting States off the Hook? The Paradox of the Legal Consequences following State Non-Compliance with Provisional Measures in the Inter-American and European Human Rights Systems". This is the abstract:

Anyone who proves that he or she is in a situation of danger and who is a potential victim of a violation of a right set forth in the American or the European Convention on Human Rights may be protected by interim measures. Interim measures in the human rights systems may be defined as an instrument, the purpose of which is to prevent irreparable harm to persons who are in a situation of extreme gravity and urgency, which a favourable final judgment would therefore not be able to undo. They result in protection offered by the State in compliance with the legally binding order of the Inter-American or European Court on Human Rights. While this legal figure is nowadays applied more and more frequently and in most cases the American and European countries have complied with the order of their respective Court of Human Rights, the question that this contribution would like to answer is what the legal consequences of incompliance are and whether the difference as to the legal basis of the interim measures in both human rights systems has influenced the legal effect that the respective Courts have given to non-compliance with the measures. After an overview of the case-law, it the incompliance with its interim measures, but paradoxically, the effects are not directly related to the type of legal instrument in which the interim measures are contemplated. The issue is relevant because on the one hand interim measures are mostly adopted in dramatic contexts where the life and personal integrity of human beings are endangered and because a survey of the case-law shows that under the European system the cases of incompliance seem to be on the rise, and on the other hand, because it appears that under the Inter-American system there are many cases in which provisional measures have been issued which will be decided soon on the merits, and therefore during the examination of which it will be decided whether the member States have complied or not with the Inter-American Court's interim measures and what consequences incompliance entails.