The Applicability of the ECHR in Contested Territories
International and Comparative Law Quarterly, Forthcoming
26 Pages Posted: 25 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 3, 2018
This article examines the applicability of the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR) when a State loses control over parts of its territory. Such situations have increasingly arisen in cases before the European Court of Human Rights. For instance, the Court currently has on its docket an interstate case between Georgia and Russia, three interstate cases between Ukraine and Russia, and thousands of individual applications which concern either Crimea or Eastern Ukraine. The article argues that the jurisprudence of the European Court, which insists on residual positive obligations based in sovereign title over territory, is problematic and needs to be rethought. The Court’s current approach is not only likely to provoke backlash, since it requires it to decide politically explosive questions of sovereign title, but does so for very little practical benefit for the protection of human rights. The article therefore explores more preferable alternatives.
Keywords: Jurisdiction, Responsibility, ECHR, European Court of Human Rights, Sovereignty, Positive Obligations, Kosovo, Georgia, Ukraine, Russia, Crimea
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