Thursday 16 January 2014

More ECHR Journal Articles

A number of ECHR-related articles have been published in leading international journals in the past few months which I had not yet mentioned here:
* Marek Szydło, F'ree Life after Life Imprisonment as a Human Right under the European Convention: European Court of Human Rights, Grand Chamber, Judgment of 9 July 2013, Vinter and Others v. The United Kingdom', European Constitutional Law Review  (vol. 9, no. 3, 2013) pp. 501-512. This is the abstract:
The recent judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (‘the ECtHR’ or ‘the Court’) in Vinter and Others reflects a very significant change in the Court's attitude to those actions of the states parties to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (‘the Convention’ or ‘the ECHR’) that consist in the imposition and further execution of whole life sentences. In this judgment, the Court concluded that Article 3 of the Convention – which prohibits torture, inhuman or degrading punishment – requires the reducibility of all whole life sentences as imposed by national courts, in the sense of a review mechanism which allows domestic authorities to conclude whether in the course of a life sentence the legitimate peno-logical grounds justifying the further incarceration of a life prisoner still exist. Moreover, such a mechanism or possibility for review of a whole life sentence must be provided for by a national law and, consequently, must be known to a life prisoner already at the moment of imposition of the whole life sentence. What is also important, a life prisoner, at the outset of his/her sentence, must know when (i.e. after how many years) and under what conditions a review of his/her sentence will take place or may be sought, and what he/she must do to be considered for release. Otherwise, the very imposition of a life sentence by a national court infringes Article 3 of the Convention.
* Lourdes Peroni & Alexandra Timmer, 'Vulnerable Groups: the Promise of an Emergent Concept in European Human Rights Convention Law', International Journal of Constitutional Law (vol. 11, 2013), pp. 1056-1085. This is the abstract:
The concept of vulnerable groups is gaining momentum in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. The Court has so far used it in cases concerning Roma, people with mental disabilities, people living with HIV, and asylum seekers. Yet the appearance of the vulnerable-group concept in the Court’s legal reasoning has so far escaped scholarly attention. Drawing on theoretical debates on vulnerability as well as on the Court’s case law, this article offers a critical assessment of the concept. Reasoning in terms of vulnerable groups opens a number of possibilities, most notably, the opportunity to move closer to a more robust idea of equality. However, the concept also has some inherent difficulties. This article argues for a reflective use of the concept and points out ways in which the Court can avoid its pitfalls.
PS: The photo depicts Utrecht University's beautiful and recently renovated inner city library, which includes the human rights law collection.