Tuesday 16 March 2021

Conference ECHR - Beyond a Treaty

On 27 May, Utrecht University is holding an online conference titled The European Convention on Human Rights: Beyond a Treaty. The conference explores the ECHR, beyond its formal treaty character, as an inspirational and aspirational source of human rights. Concerning the former, it will look at the practice of application of the ECHR as a constitutionally domesticated source of inspiration and gap-filler by entities not party to the Convention. This includes the EU, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Second, the conference aims to scrutinise instances where domestic courts may have employed the ECtHR’s case-law to justify social aspirations towards the advancement of human rights that may go beyond the minimum standards set by the Court, and instances where domestic courts may have deliberately chosen to minimise the Strasbourg standards.

The conference is organised on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Netherlands Institute of Human Rights (SIM) in a joint collaboration with the Netherlands Network of Human Rights (NNHRR), the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice, and Utrecht Centre for Accountability and Liability Law.

Here is the full programme of the conference:

Introduction: Kushtrim Istrefi and Claire Loven 
(13.00 – 13.15)

Panel 1: ECHR as an inspirational source of human rights (13.15 – 14.45)
Chair: Rick Lawson, Leiden University

ECHR in the EU legal order
Speaker: Ineta Ziemele, Judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union (former President of the Latvian Constitutional Court and ECtHR judge)

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitutional domestication of ECHR through the Dayton Peace Agreement
Speaker: Antoine Buyse, Utrecht University

Constitutional domestication of ECHR in Kosovo
Speaker: Kushtrim Istrefi, Utrecht University

Break (14.45 – 15.00)

Panel 2: ECHR as an aspirational source of human rights? (15.00 – 16.45)
Chair: Claire Loven, Utrecht University

Defining minimum standards of Convention protection by the ECtHR
Speaker: Janneke Gerards, Utrecht University

Under the bar: explaining deliberate choices to minimize the Strasbourg standards
Speaker: Catherine van de Heyning, Antwerp University

The role of the ECHR in a ‘culture of justification’: the example of Urgenda v. the Netherlands
Speaker: Ingrid Leijten, Leiden University

The application of the ECtHR jurisprudence by domestic courts in cases concerning the immunity of international organisations
Speaker: Luca Pasquet, Utrecht University

Concluding remarks: Luca Pasquet 
(16.45 – 17.00)

Information on how to attend the online event will be provided in the first week of May and will be posted on the ECHR Blog.