30 October 2017
Our new publication Transitional Justice and the European Convention on Human Rights systematically reviews and critically discusses the evolving ‘transitional’ jurisprudence of Europe’s main guardian of human rights – the Court in Strasbourg – across highly contentious issues such as amnesty, property rights, along with institutional reform and vetting.
Published in cooperation with the Transitional Justice Institute at Ulster University and written by one of the field’s leading scholars, Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, it addresses head-on a crucial – yet so far neglected – topic: the question of the relation between transitional justice and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).
While the ECHR system as one of the world’s leading human rights regimes has been the subject of intense study, its role in promoting transitional justice concerns has received surprisingly little scholarly attention – a neglect that is all the more striking when one considers the considerable amount of scholarly work that has been dedicated to the Inter-American human rights system and its impact on transitional processes in the Americas.
‘Our hope is that this publication will generate, both inside and outside academia, a much-needed debate about the ECHR and its role in transitional contexts‘ underlines Frank Haldemann, Co-Director of the Master in Transitional Justice at the Geneva Academy.
‘This publication highlights that we can profitably think of the ECHR system as a ‘transitional instrument’ positively shaping political transitions and conflict resolutions on the European continent’ underlines Thomas Unger, Co-Director of the Master in Transitional Justice at the Geneva Academy.
While the Strasbourg Court has played – and continues to play – an under-appreciated role in setting standards for and overseeing transitions to peace and democracy in places as varied as Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Turkey and Russia, the publication warns against self-complacency and insists on the need to constantly rethink the Convention in the face of ever-expanding challenges.
‘The Convention is a tool giving concrete language to human rights claims in the domestic sphere, but one that needs adjustment and creative expansion if it is to come to meet the expectations that have been set for it’ stresses the author.
Fionnuala Ní Aoláin holds the Dorsey and Whitney Chair in Law at University of Minnesota Law School and is Professor of Law at Ulster University’s Transitional Justice Institute. She is a Guest lecturer within the Geneva Academy’s Master in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. Since August 2017 she is also the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.
Professor Ní Aoláin is recognized as a leading expert in the fields of international law, human rights law, national security law, transitional justice and feminist legal theory and has published widely on these issues.
In this interview, Owiso Owiso, currently enrolled in our Master of Advanced Studies in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.
Olivier Chamard / Geneva Academy
During one week, 14 academics from five countries deepened their knowledge and expertise of United Nations human rights mechanisms during a customized training course co-organized with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights of the University of Oslo.
This public conference will discuss the implementation of the UN Declaration on the rights of peasants in Europe and its contribution to the SDGs and the UN Decade of Family Farming.
In the face of a rapidly changing world, this opening lecture of the academic year by Lindsey Cameron will explore some of the current challenges for IHL and transitional justice.
This short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.
This short course reviews the origins of international criminal law, its relationship with the international legal order including the UN Security Council and its coexistence with national justice institutions. The scope of international crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression – is considered alongside initiatives to expand or add to these categories.
Sandra Pointet / Geneva Academy
The digital age offers unique opportunities to strengthen human rights implementation and monitoring and has transformed the means through which human rights are exercised. Equally, the digital age poses unique challenges in ensuring that states and businesses respect and protect our rights in the digital forum. The full extent of the human rights implications of the digital age remain unknown.
As a comprehensive attempt to ‘codify’ universal accountability norms, the UN Principles marked a significant step forward in the debate on the obligation of states to combat impunity in its various forms. Despite this significance, no comprehensive academic commentary of the 38 principles has yet been provided so far. This project seeks to fill this gap.