Transitional Justice and the European Convention on Human Rights

Cover page of Briefing No 10: Transitional Justice and the European Convention on Human Rights Cover page of Briefing No 10: Transitional Justice and the European Convention on Human Rights

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).

Filling a Research Gap

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.

Setting Standards for Overseeing Transitions to Peace and Democracy

‘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.

European Convention on Human Rights

About 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.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Firouzeh Mitchell, student in the Geneva Academy's Master in Transitional Justice, in front of the Jet d'Eau News

MAS in Transitional Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law: What our Students Say

10 January 2017

In this interview, Firouzeh Mitchell, currently enrolled in the Master in Transitional Justice, tells us about the programme and life in Geneva.

Read more

2017 Graduation Ceremony News

Three Awards at the 2017 Graduation Ceremony for Exceptional Academic Work

30 October 2017

We awarded, during our 2017 Graduation Ceremony, three prizes to graduating students for their exceptional academic work: the Henry Dunant Research Prize, the Best LLM Paper Prize and the Best Master in Transitional Justice (MTJ) Paper Prize.

Read more

Alumni during the 2017 alumni gathering Event

2019 Alumni Gathering

25 May 2019

We are delighted to invite all our alumni for the 2019 Alumni Gathering that will take place on Saturday 25 May 2019 in Geneva!

Read more

Safe and rescue operation of a boat in the Mediterranean Sea. IHL Talks

Search and Rescue Obligations in the Mediterranean Sea

26 February 2019, 13:00-14:30

This IHL Talk will discuss the legal framework and the main critical questions related to search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea, using concrete cases and examples to illustrate current issues and challenges.

Read more

Peru, Huancasancos. Vigil and burial ceremonies for the victims of the conflict whose remains were finally restituted to their families after 30 years of disappearance. Spring School

Confronting the Truth: The Functions, Practices and Challenges of Truth Commissions

2-4 April 2019

Truth Commissions are by now an integral part of the transitional justice vocabulary and practice. The 2019 Spring School will provide a comprehensive, multidimensional and practical examination of this transitional justice mechanism, shedding light on both its aims and the practical challenges it has met or is likely to meet.

Read more

Ntaganda case: Closing statements.  The closing statements in the case of The Prosecutor v. Bosco Ntaganda at the International Criminal Court (ICC) started on 28 August 2018 before Trial Chamber VI at the seat of the Court in The Hague (Netherlands). Short Course

The Challenges of International Criminal Justice

4-19 April 2019

This short course will focus on five particular categories of challenges of international criminal justice: legal or normative, investigative and evidential, political, the defence, and the legacy.

Read more

 Chittagong (Bangladesh) ship breaking yard Project

A Practitioners' Guide on Human Rights and Countering Corruption

Started in January 2015

This research project, aims via the drafting of a practitioners’ guide on human rights and countering corruption, to clarify the conceptual relationship between human rights, good governance and anticorruption, demonstrate the negative impact of corruption on human rights and provide guidance and make practical recommendations for effectively using the UN human rights system in anti-corruption efforts.

Read more

A woman worker at a construction site in India Project

Human Rights and Gender Equality in the Context of Business Activities

Started in June 2018

This project aims to support the UN working group’s consultation process and thus contribute the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality in relation to the business sector via research on international human rights law and policy related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities, and the organization of a global conference in Geneva.

Read more