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Τhe thrill of NFTs: The trendy hybrid assets and their legal implications

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Article by Panayiotis Antoniades* Introduction: The thrill of NFTs NFTs (Non-fungible tokens) have recently burst into an astonishing online hype. The marketplace of these assets encompasses eager capital holders that are willing to spend great amounts for the purchase of assets, yet in a profoundly unorthodox way. NFTs have revolutionized the way assets are perceived, transformed the media and collectible art industries, and justifiably caused a lot of doubtful conversations regarding their future. From the notorious JPG file of Beeple’s collage, Everydays: The First 5000 Days, sold for $69 million, to Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s first-ever tweet "just setting up my twttr" that auctioned for a charitable cause for $2.9 million. NFT and Blockchain Technology NFTs are digital certifications of ownership of a unique digital asset. The code of the NFT is encrypted on a blockchain, a shared database, which records transactions on a digital decentralized led

Dismissal of a public-sector employee for having “Liked” Facebook posts: Violation of her right to freedom of expression

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Ιn Chamber's judgment in the case of Melike v. Turkey (application no. 35786/19) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The case concerned the dismissal of Ms Melike, a contractual employee at the Ministry of National Education, for having clicked “Like” on various Facebook articles (posted on the social networking site by a third party).  The authorities considered that the posts in question were likely to disturb the peace and tranquillity of the workplace, on the grounds that they alleged that teachers had committed rapes, contained accusations against political leaders and related to political parties.  The Court noted that the content in question consisted of virulent political criticism of allegedly repressive practices by the authorities, calls and encouragement to demonstrate in protest against those practices, expressions of indignation about th

Legal Officer at the International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna, Austria)

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International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna, Austria) seeks to recruit a Legal Officer (IAEA Legislative Assistance Programme). The Office of Legal Affairs, which reports directly to the Director General, provides legal services of the highest possible standards to the Director General, the Secretariat and to the organs and bodies of the IAEA, as well as to Member States, regarding the implementation of the IAEA's activities. The Nuclear and Treaty Law Section provides legal advice and support to the Office of the Director General and the Secretariat in the areas of nuclear safety and security (including civil liability for nuclear damage), nuclear energy, nuclear applications and technical cooperation. It is also responsible for the IAEA's depositary function as well as the IAEA's legislative assistance programme, providing advice and training regarding legislative frameworks governing the safe and peaceful uses of nuclear energy to Member States. Under the guidance of

Presume innocence for all, until proven guilty – it is a right (FRA Report)

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Presumption of innocence is a core right in criminal justice. Yet, prejudice, bias and practices like presenting defendants in handcuffs undermine this right in many European countries, finds the latest report of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). FRA calls on EU countries to respect the rights of all defendants, regardless of their background. “All defendants have the right to be presumed innocent until an independent court finds them guilty. But our in-built biases, and what we see or read, can affect our perception of guilt,” says FRA Director Michael O’Flaherty. “EU countries need effective measures to safeguard the rights of all defendants to a fair trial and equal access to justice.” FRA’s report ‘Presumption of innocence and related rights – Professional perspectives’ looks at how EU countries in practice apply the rights to be presumed innocent, to remain silent and to be present at trial. FRA identifies problems in safeguarding these rights and calls on EU countri

75th anniversary of the International Court of Justice : Watch the virtual tour of the Peace Palace in the Hague

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On the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the International Court of Justice, a virtual tour of the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court, is now available here .  The President of the Court, H.E. Judge Joan E. Donoghue, delivered a video message to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Court. Watch it here The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN). It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946. The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands). Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America). The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies. The Court is composed of 15 judges,

'Ne bis in idem' principle can preclude the arrest, within the Schengen Area and the European Union, of a person who is the subject of an Interpol notice (ECJ)

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ECJ - Judgment in Case C-505/19 WS v Bundesrepublik Deutschland (12.5.2021): The principle prohibiting the duplication of proceedings can preclude the arrest, within the Schengen Area and the European Union, of a person who is the subject of an Interpol notice. This is the case where the competent authorities are aware of a final judicial decision, taken in a State that is a party to the Schengen Agreement or a Member State, which establishes that that principle applies. In 2012, the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) published, at the request of the United States and on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the authorities of that country, a red notice in respect of WS, a German national, with a view to his potential extradition. Where a person who is the subject of such a notice is located in a State affiliated to Interpol, that State must, in principle, provisionally arrest that person or monitor or restrict his or her movements. However, even before that

Τhe appeal against a decision rejecting asylum and the principle of effectiveness

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By Giorgos Kazoleas, Lawyer The positive impact of the application of the principle of effectiveness reflects a significant recent ruling by the European Court of Justice. The decision concerns immigration law and in particular the right of the asylum seeker to appeal against the decision rejecting his application. The ECJ considers that the applicant may rely on circumstances subsequent to the rejection in his appeal and that the national court should take them into account. According to the Judgment [1]  , it is for each Member State to lay down procedural rules for legal actions that would safeguard that effective judicial protection. The Court recalls that the Dublin III Regulation 4 provides that a person who is the subject of a transfer decision is to have the right to an effective remedy against that decision and that that remedy must cover, inter alia, the examination of the application of that regulation. According to article 27 of the Regulation  (EU) No 604/2013 [2]

Parliamentary Assembly of CoE concerned about new proposed laws on ‘undesirable organisations’ in Russia

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The rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) for follow-up to  Resolution 2362 (2021)  on "Restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States", Alexandra Louis (France, ALDE), has expressed concern over two new draft laws aimed at widening the scope of application of the Russian law of 23 May 2015 on "undesirable organisations". "The application of the law on ‘undesirable organisations’, criticised by the Venice Commission and the Assembly, has already led to the closure of some 30 international NGOs in the Russian Federation. It is all the more worrying that two new draft laws have recently been tabled in the State Duma to widen the scope of its application. If adopted, the implementation of new provisions of the law would further shrink the space for civil society in Russia. These new draft laws run counter to the recommendation made by the Assembly last January in its Resolution 2362 (2021), urging Council o

The money laundering risk of Golden Passports

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By Christina Poursanidou, Lawyer Following the financial crisis of 2009, most of the European countries in order to boost their weakened economies, have introduced policies, which allow foreign investors to make large and passive investments, in exchange of an easy (almost immediate) route to citizenship or residence of the investors. Such schemes are definitely not a new trend, since even from the 1980s UK and USA offered residence in exchange for sizable investments. Usually these policies are defined as Citizenship by Investment (CBI) or  Residency by Investment (RBI), “Golden Visas” or “Golden passports”. Undoubtedly,  such policies have a positive impact on the introducing country, but simultaneously could carry significant risk of economic crime. At that point, let’s discuss the intentions of the parties. On the one hand, the country introducing a golden passport policy aims at its economic growth. Basically, the country offers a passport in order to receive a huge investment fro

Protocol No. 15 amends the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms

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Protocol No. 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights brings significant amendments in Convention’s provisions. The ratification shall trigger into force of the Protocol as such, in respect of all the Council of Europe member States on 1 August 2021. This protocol brings some changes to the European Convention on Human Right’s provisions regarding the functioning of the European Court of Human Rights : Adding a reference to the principle of subsidiarity and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation to the Preamble of the Convention; Shortening from six to four months the time limit within which an application must be made to the Court; Amending the ‘significant disadvantage’ admissibility criterion to remove the second safeguard preventing rejection of an application that has not been duly considered by a domestic tribunal; Removing the right of the parties to a case to object to relinquishment of jurisdiction over it by a Chamber in favour of the Grand Chamber; Replacing t

In prison 37-year-old in Greece because he did not wear a mask against Covid-19

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A 37-year-old man will serve 2/3 of the total sentence of 60 days imposed on him by the District Criminal Court in Serres, Greece, because he did not wear a protection mask against coronavirus. In particular, the court, after finding him guilty of violating the measures to prevent infectious diseases, ordered that the accused man should serve 40 days in prison, while the rest of the sentence (20 days) was decided to be suspended. The case was tried with the "act of committing an offence" procedure, while as it became known, the man is said to have committed the same crime during the previous period. According to Article 100 of the new Greek Penal Code, if a person is sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years, the court, if it deems it necessary to assess part of the deprivation of liberty in order to prevent him from committing other criminal acts, may order the execution of that part, the duration of which may not be less than ten days nor more than three month

Failure to enforce sentence imposed on sex offender breached ECHR

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In Chamber judgment on 13.4.2021 in the case of E.G. v. Republic of Moldova (application no. 37882/13) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights and a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private life).  The case concerned a sexual assault on the applicant in February 2008, and in particular the failure to enforce the sentence imposed on one of her three attackers. The offender in question had been granted an amnesty while the authorities were still looking for him and he had never served his sentence. The benefit of this amnesty had subsequently been annulled. However, the period of about one year during which he had benefited from the amnesty had enabled him to leave Moldova, shortly before the last annulment decision.  The Court found that the sexual assault on the applicant had constituted a serious breach of her right to protec

The legal basis of measures adopted by the Eurosystem to deal with sovereign debt-crisis in the Europe

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By Evlampia Tsolaki, Lawyer "…Every person is a much better judge of what is good for him than any President, Governor or Congressman. When the government starts telling people what they should do with their money, they are telling people how to mind their own business. This will make a bigger mess than that which they tried to correct…" ADAM SMITH, THE WEALTH OF NATIONS PREFACE   The current financial crisis has fundamentally challenged the predominant economic orthodoxy of "laissez faire-laissez passer" by unearthing rather turbulently its structural weaknesses. Contrary to the rosy expectations cultivated systematically all over the world in order to encourage every single individual to live his own myth based on the systemic practice of excessive borrowing by any possible means, the absolute dedication to that dogma has led to a massive financial bubble, culminating in a striking and shocking failure. Unfortunately, in the very same vein, states have been infect

European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority is inviting applications for a position as Legal Expert

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The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) is an independent European Union Authority established on 1 January 2011 by Regulation (EU) No. 1094/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010. For its offices in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, EIOPA is inviting applications for a position as Legal Expert. The successful candidate will be a member of the Legal Team, within EIOPA’s Corporate Affairs Department, which consists of three teams: the Legal Team, the Institutional Relations, Strategy and Implementation Team and the Communications Team. Place of employment Frankfurt am Main, Germany Monthly basic salary 3,555.98 EUR Applications should be submitted to recruitment@eiopa.europa.eu, specifying in the subject the reference number above. Deadline for application is 23:59 CET on 10 May 2021 Read the Vacancy Note here photo by  Janine Bolon  from   pixabay . com

First ECtHR judgment on compulsory childhood vaccination: No violation of the Convention

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In its Grand Chamber judgment in the case of Vavřička and Others v. the Czech Republic (applications no. 47621/13 and five other applications) the European Court of Human Rights held, by a majority (sixteen votes to one), that there had been no violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private life) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  In the Czech Republic there is a general legal duty to vaccinate children against nine diseases that are well known to medical science. Compliance with the duty cannot be physically enforced. Parents who fail to comply, without good reason, can be fined. Non-vaccinated children are not accepted in nursery schools (an exception is made for those who cannot be vaccinated for health reasons).  In the present case, the first applicant was fined for failure to comply with the vaccination duty in relation to his two children. The other applicants were all denied admission to nursery school for the same reason.  The Court pointed out that, under its

Covid-19 is worsening human trafficking – states should take action, warn Council of Europe experts

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The Covid-19 pandemic is having a worrying impact on human trafficking across Europe and states should do more to prevent it, according to the latest annual report from the Council of Europe’s Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings ( GRETA ). “The effects of the pandemic have made victims of human trafficking even more vulnerable,” said GRETA President Helga Gayer. “Frontline NGOs have reported delays in people being formally identified as victims of trafficking, which seriously affects their access to safe accommodation, healthcare and much-needed support whilst also putting them at risk of further abuse,” she added. “Traffickers have made the most of the situation, exploiting the precarious financial situation of many of their victims. Furthermore, whilst the authorities are reporting increased sexual exploitation and criminal activity online, stretched resources and delays in the justice system are hampering efforts to bring traffickers to account and t

The phenomenon of “De-risking”

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By Christina Poursanidou, Lawyer During the last years the AML regulations have become stricter, forcing the banks and payment institutions to pay closer attention to compliance. The harsh consequences of non-compliance, such as the annulment of operating licenses of institutions, the criminal prosecution against their executives, billion-dollar fines and the reputational risk has led to the phenomenon of “De-risking”. According to the European Banking Authority (EBA), “De-risking refers to a decision taken by firms to refuse, or to terminate, business relationships with some categories of customers that they associate with higher ML/TF risk.”. Ιn depth, it has been noticed instead of applying a risk based approach for each customer individually, in a comprehensive and proportionate basis, the banks and financial institutions tend to exit entire categories of customers and terminate relationships with high risk clients, such as residents of certain countries, PEPs, charities and cert

Basic Attributes of Transnational Law and CISG

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By Evlampia Tsolaki, Attorney at Law The conception of "transnational" law by its spiritual father Philip Jessup (1)  has heralded a completely new scientific legal realm in order to suggest an unconventional for that time approach to legal problems arisen beyond national borders. However vague normatively and thus rather controversial theoretically, that term has been gradually established at its beginnings (2) in the trade area as "transnational commercial law" for describing the law governing the cross-border transactions. It has been proven that the term has been conceptually very precisely chosen in order to imply that contrary to the well-known traditional areas of national and international law and besides them, there is an intrinsic need for mapping a completely undiscovered field where individual persons, either natural or legal personalities, operate outside the protective national net. The exploration of this unknown land is the aim of this paper in order

Rule of Law: European Commission refers Poland to the European Court of Justice and asks for interim measures

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The European Commission decided to refer Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union regarding the law on the judiciary of 20 December 2019, which entered into force on 14 February 2020. The Commission also decided to ask the Court of Justice to order interim measures until it has issued a final judgment in the case. The Commission considers that the Polish law on the judiciary undermines the independence of Polish judges and is incompatible with the primacy of EU law. Moreover, the law prevents Polish courts, including by using disciplinary proceedings, from directly applying certain provisions of EU law protecting judicial independence, and from putting references for preliminary rulings on such questions to the Court of Justice. In addition, the Commission considers that Poland violates EU law by allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court – the independence of which is not guaranteed – to take decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they e