Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Last Post of the Year: Fox Hunt, Protocol 14, and More

Dear readers, at the end of this year a final post with a miscellany of issues. First, the Court's site offers a range of new features to make its case law more easily accessible. An important innovation is the translation of key judgments in over ten languages (to be found through HUDOC) More information on this can be found here. That same page also contains a host of links to online translated collections of case-law in many more languages by non-ECHR sites. Another great innovation is that it is now finally possible to search on HUDOC for judgments by the Grand Chamber, ordinary chambers and committees. Finally, a list of keywords to search HUDOC more effectively is upcoming. And for another way of keeping updated, several RSS feeds have been added here. All of this will hopefully help the often mentioned implementation of the ECHR at the national level.

Secondly, under the new Procedure of Protocol 14-Bis, the first judgments have been adopted by three-judge committees. This should pave the way for a more efficient handling of cases. Whereas until now, such committees could only declare cases inadmissible, they can now also issue judgments on the merits in cases dealing with issues on which there is well-estalbished case-law. In the first place, one can think here of repetitive judgments. the first of these judgments, Kressin v. Germany (Appl.no. 21061/06) and Jesse v. Germany (Appl.no. 10053/08) will be published online today and deal, not surprisingly perhaps, with complaints on the excessive length of judicial proceedings. The entry into force of that other Protocol, 14, might be very near, as the Council of Europe reports that the Russian Duma has agreed to resume the procedure for Protocol 14 ratification. See also the report of Julien Frisch, over at Watching Europe.

Thirdly, the newest issue of the Göttingen Journal of International Law (vol. 1, No. 3) has just been published and contains amongst others 'When Soering Went to IraqŠ: Problems of Jurisdiction, Extraterritorial Effect and Norm Conflicts in Light of the European Court of Human Rights Al-Saadoon Case', by Cornelia Janik and Thomas Kleinlein. This is the abstract:

In its admissibility decision in the Al-Saadoon case the ECtHR held that the United Kingdom had jurisdiction over the applicants, who had been arrested by British forces and kept in a British-run military prison in Iraq. Just before the respective mandate of the Security Council expired on 31 December 2008, the applicants were transferred to Iraqi custody at Iraqi request and thereby exposed to the risk of an unfair trial followed by capital punishment. The authors trace back the ECtHR's case law concerning the extraterritorial application of the Convention and establish patterns how the ECtHR and the UK Courts did cope in the past with international law norms potentially competing with the Convention.
Finally, for a case that could qualify as one of the funniest of the year, as a kind of Christmas treat from Strasbourg, I can recommend the admissibility decision in Friend and Countryside Alliance and others (Appl.nos 16072/06 and 27809/08) of last week. In this decision, the Court dismissed the complaints of a group of hunters and others about the British ban on hunting with hounds (on foxes and other animals). The Court held in this decision that a person's hunting grounds do not fall within the concept of home nor can the huntng community be seen as an ethnic community. The Court was not of the view that (para. 44) "that hunting amounts to a particular lifestyle which is so inextricably linked to the identity of those who practise it that to impose a ban on hunting would be to jeopardise the very essence of their identity."

I wish all of you a very good holiday season and an excellent 2010, with hopefully an improved human rights situation in Europe and around the world!


Julien Frisch said...

As a hint: It looks as if we might even get Protocol 14 soon than expected!

Anonymous said...

The ECHR ruling on the hunting act could not have come at a better time.

Boxing day is rapidly approaching and with it sadly, the biggest fox-hunting day of the year. While the rest of us are winding down from Christmas, for many hundreds of foxes in the UK, it will be a day of fear, pain and finally a cruel and gruesome death. Within the hunting act, these deaths are deemed 'accidents'. Decent people would say the hunting act needs strengthening or at the very least enforcing - but the bloodsports lobby has other plans.

To the astonishment of the public, including many Tories, David Cameron has decided to put the hunting act at risk of repeal. Now even the hunts that may have previously worked within the law have been handed a 'moral license' to resume their cruel and barbaric activity.

Drag hunting is legal, the sense of community intact, the jobs, heritage and pageantry intact, and yet these people won't be happy until they are frightening and killing live animals again!

In order to lobby MPs to uphold the hunting act, we need literally everyone to get their names on the R.O.A.R. (Register Online Against Repeal), an 'all party' register at: www.campaignfordecency.org.uk

Please make your voices heard!

Geoffrey Woollard said...

I agree with mhayworth. We British led the way in banning the slave trade and in banning slavery in the Empire, we led the way in banning bear baiting and cock fighting, and we led the way in banning hunting and hare coursing. We must continue to make progress and not let our civilisation take a backward step.

Houston DWI said...

I agree with mhayworth.We should fight for our justice.

DUI Houston

willson said...

Interesting… I might try some of this on my blog, too. It’s quite interesting how you sometimes stop being innovative and just go for an accepted solution without actually trying to improve it… you make a couple of good points.

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