Selection process of ECtHR judge on behalf of Slovenia

The mandate of the incumbent judge at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Slovenia expires on 31 October 2015. The selection process for new ECtHR judge on behalf of Slovenia has already started. Here is a note on the on-going selection procedures.

Lecture by Judge Paul Mahoney

Paul Mahoney, judge at the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of United Kingdom, will be on 29 May 2014 giving lecture on the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human rights in national systems and on the future of Strasbourg at the Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia. More details are available here. Welcome !

Roundtable discussion on “25 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Self-determination”

The Graduate School of Government and European Studies, Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, will be on 30 May 2014 holding a roundtable discussion on “25 Years after the Fall  of the Berlin Wall: Self-determination and Human Rights Protection in Europe”. Speakers include inter alia : Luzius Wildhaber, former President of the European Court of Human Rights, Paul Mahoney, judge of the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of United Kingdom, and Peter Jambrek, former judge of the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of Slovenia. Welcome !

Call for Papers – 6th Annual Conference on Legal Theory, Philosophy and Argumentation

6th Annual Conference on Legal Theory, Philosophy and Argumentation on »Legal and Philosophical Challenges of Transnational Law«, Bled, Slovenia, 21. – 22. November 2014

The conference is organized by the Graduate School of Government and European Studies in co-operation with the European Faculty of Law and with the generous support of the Slovenian Research Agency.The overall theme of this year’s conference is “Legal and Philosophical Challenges of Transnational Law«, which is to be analyzed through a variety of substantive andmethodological lenses, including: legal theory, legal argumentation, legal philosophy and political philosophy, international law, human rights and ethics.

The conference will thus consist of four panels, dedicated to legal theory and legal philosophy; legal argumentation; international law and ethics. A special panel will be reserved for PhD researchers and researchers at an early stage of their career.The organizers would like to invite interested contributors to send short abstracts (up to 250 words) falling within the above theme, addressing in particular, but not exclusively, the following questions:

– What is transnational law?

– Who are its actors and how is their legal accountability ensured?

– How does transnational law relate to traditional state law?

– How does transnational law impact on the canonical standards of legal argumentation?

– What are the specific ethical challenges of transnational law and how should they beaddressed?

The abstracts should be sent to by August 31, 2014. The selected contributors will be notified by September 15, 2014. The organizers will cover up to two nights of accommodation in the Hotel Jelovica, Bled, where the conference is going to take place.

Organizing Committee:

Matej Avbelj, Graduate School of Government and European Studies

Jernej Letnar Černič, Graduate School of Government and European Studies

Vojko Strahovnik, European Faculty of Law

Marko Novak, School of Advanced Social Studies

Kurić and others v Slovenia

The European Court of Human Rights has on 12 March 2014 ordered Slovenia to pay a total of 250.199,42 € of pecuniary damages to 6 applicants in the case of Kurić and others v Slovenia (26828/06). As for the execution of judgment, the Court noted that :

it will be for the Committee of Ministers to evaluate the general measures adopted by the Republic of Slovenia and their implementation as far as the supervision of the execution of the Court’s principal judgment is concerned. The Court has consistently ruled that it does not have jurisdiction to verify, by reference to Article 46, whether a Contracting Party has complied with the obligations imposed on it by one of the Court’s judgments unless Article 46 § 4 of the Convention, as it stands since the entry into force of Protocol No. 14, applies..

143.  Lastly, as to the Court’s docket, although at the time of the adoption of the principal judgment only a few similar applications lodged by “erased” persons were pending before the Court, the Grand Chamber emphasised that, in the context of systemic, structural or similar violations, the potential inflow of future cases was also an important consideration in terms of preventing the accumulation of repetitive cases and decided that the examination of other similar applications should be adjourned pending the adoption of the remedial measures at issue (see paragraph 9 above and 415 of the principal judgment).

144.  In this connection, the Grand Chamber notes that there are currently some sixty-five cases lodged by “erased” persons pending before the Court, involving more than 1,000 applicants. Swift implementation of the Kurić and Others judgment is therefore of the utmost importance (see, mutatis mutandis, Greens and M.T., cited above, § 111).

It will be therefore upon the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to examine whether Slovenia has adopted appropriate general measures and adequately executed this judgment.

Judgment in W. v Slovenia

The European Court of Human Rights has on 23 January 2014 delivered judgment in W. v Slovenia (no. 24124/06), which we have discussed before. The Court held that Slovenia violated its procedural obligations under Article 3 of the European Convention. More specifically, it held that :

69. … the Court agrees with the applicant that the prolonged state of uncertainty and other negative implications of the lengthy proceedings, in particular having to relive the painful events a number of times in three separate retrials, caused her unnecessary suffering and frustration which could have been avoided had the criminal-law mechanisms aimed at deterrence of and punishment for criminal acts of sexual abuse been applied in an effective and prompt manner. In this regard, the Court would add that the failure of the State to ensure effective prosecution of rape cannot be justified by the backlog of cases in the relevant courts (see, mutatis mutandisScordino v. Italy (no. 1) [GC], no. 36813/97, § 183, ECHR 2006‑V, and the references cited therein). Neither can it be justified by the frequent changes of the sitting judges who were dealing with the applicant’s case. Namely, as the Court has already emphasised on many occasions, it is for the State to organise its judicial system in such a way as to enable its courts to comply with the requirements of the Convention (see, for example, Šilih, cited above, § 210).

The Court also held that redress obtained by an applicant was not sufficient. It reasoned as follows :

84.  In the Court’s opinion the effects of the prolonged uncertainty as to the outcome of the criminal proceedings and related mental distress endured by the applicant over the period of seventeen years, coupled with the short prison sentences imposed on the defendants, are comparable to the breaches found by the Court in the cases cited in the previous paragraph, which should be reflected in the amount of compensation awarded to the applicant. This finding cannot be changed by the fact that the outcome of the present case, in which eight out of ten defendants were eventually convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, was, as pointed out by the Government, favourable to the applicant.

85.  Therefore, the Court considers that the compensation awarded to the applicant by the domestic courts did not constitute sufficient redress and thus she may still claim to be a “victim” of a breach of Article 3 of the Convention.

Forthcoming judgment against Slovenia

The European Court of Human Rights will on 23 January 2014 deliver an important judgment in case of W. v Slovenia (no.24124/06) on internal domestic remedial measures for violation of Article 6. Here is the summary :

The applicant, Ms W., is a Slovenian national who was born in 1971 and lives in Maribor (Slovenia). The case concerns criminal proceedings against a group of men who raped her in April 1990, when she was 18 years old. Charges of rape, aiding and abetting rape and sexual assault, respectively, were brought against ten men in September 1990. In November 1990 they were acquitted, based on the findings, in particular, that Ms W. had not seriously resisted sexual intercourse and that she had changed her testimony during the proceedings. On appeal, the second-instance court quashed the judgment in April 1991, finding that the facts had been insufficiently established, and remitted the case. Subsequently there were long delays in the proceedings, since two of the defendants had left the country and could not be found. After the proceedings against the two missing men had been severed into separate cases, six of the remaining defendants were convicted, of rape and aggravated rape respectively, and sentenced to imprisonment for between eight months and one year in a judgment of June 2002, eventually upheld by the Supreme Court in July 2007. The missing defendants were eventually found and extradited to Slovenia in 2003 and 2004 and they were convicted of aiding and abetting rape and of aggravated rape, respectively, and both sentenced to imprisonment of eight months by judgments which became final in August 2004 and June 2006. Relying, in substance, on Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), Ms W. complains in particular that the long delays in the criminal proceedings were in breach of the State’s obligation to effectively prosecute the criminal offences committed against her. While she was awarded compensation at national level for the distress she suffered as a result of the lengthy proceedings, she considers that the amount of 5,000 euros paid to her cannot be regarded assufficient redress.