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Showing posts from 2021

Implementing ECHR judgments: New thematic factsheet on children’s rights

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The Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has published a  new factsheet  focusing on cases related to children. The factsheet summarises measures reported by 29 member states to safeguard and protect children’s rights in response to 62 different judgments from the Strasbourg court. It includes sections on protecting children from ill-treatment, detention, access to a court, children’s rights in family law matters and their protection from discrimination. This is the sixth in a series of thematic factsheets on changes which have been brought about through the implementation of ECHR judgments. Previous factsheets cover constitutional matters, effective investigations, freedom of religion, the environment and the independence and impartiality of judicial systems. Factsheets are already available in several different languages and further translations are planned. (coe.int) The recent factsheet is available here

The struggle for truth against time and limitation period on the occasion of two paternity court cases

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By George Kazoleas, Lawyer Two recent cases, one by the European Court of Human Rights and the other by the Athens Court of First Instance with similar facts, show once again that justice can dispel the darkness once caused by human deceit to obscure and distort real facts. Against time and limitation Time, was essentially the reason why the courts in Serbia denied the 50-year-old Peda Boljevic to know the truth about who his biological father was. Until 2011 he believed that A was his real father but when he died, Boljevic discovered in old court rulings around 1970 that A could not be his biological father. So, at the beginning of 2012, he started a lawsuit with his mother, invoking the old decisions but also with the argument that then there was no DNA test, but today this could be done based on a court decree. The courts in Serbia, both the court of first instance and the court of appeals, rejected his application as lapsed, after so many years. In particular, such requests f

New President and Vice-President of the International Court of Justice

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On 8.2.2021, Judge Joan E. Donoghue (United States of America) was elected President of the International Court of Justice by her peers, and Judge Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation) was elected Vice-President, each for a term of three years. Biographies of President Donoghue and Vice-President Gevorgian, who have been Members of the Court since 9 September 2010 and 6 February 2015, respectively, can be found on the Court’s website, under the heading “Members of the Court”/“CurrentMembers”. Following the elections held on 12 November 2020 by the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council to fill the five seats which were due to fall vacant on 6 February 2021 (see press release No. 2020/33), the composition of the Court is now as follows: President : Joan E. Donoghue (United States of America) Vice-President:   Kirill Gevorgian (Russian Federation) Judges: Peter Tomka (Slovakia), Ronny Abraham (France), Mohamed Bennouna (Morocco), Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade (

UNICEF is seeking to recruit a Legal Affairs Specialist

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UNICEF is seeking to recruit a Legal Affairs Specialist (Administrative Law Specialist), P-4, Administrative Law Unit, Office of the Executive Director, Budapest The post is located in the Administrative Law Unit (ALU) within the Office of the Executive Director. ALU is principally responsible for advising the Deputy Executive Director, Management, on all administrative-law related matters, including on requests for management evaluation of administrative decisions brought by staff members under the UN Staff Rules and on all matters relating to possible misconduct and the disciplinary process. ALU represents the Secretary-General in proceedings before the United Nations Dispute Tribunal (UNDT) in all cases involving UNICEF staff members. As part of its functions, ALU assists in the development and updating of relevant administrative policies, such as UNICEF's disciplinary and prohibited conduct policies. It also advises on matters relating to the internal justice system in genera

Attacks on abortion rights and breaches of the rule of law in Poland

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On Wednesday 24.2.2021 (13.45 – 15.15), Members of the European Parliament will discuss women’s rights and the rule of law in Poland with Commissioner Dalli and civil society representatives. The  hearing  is jointly organised by the  Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs  and the  Women’s Rights and Gender Equality  committees. It will focus on the impact of measures and attacks on women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights in Poland, such as the right to access healthcare, the right to privacy, and the right to education. The hearing will also examine how various communities still face discrimination, in conjunction with the deteriorating situation of the rule of law. In the first session, MEPs will exchange views with  Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli . The second part will feature: Wojciech HERMELIŃSKI, attorney, former Judge of the Constitutional Tribunal, Chair of the National Electoral Commission from 2014 to 2019, Marta LEMPART, Leader of the Polish Women

Dominic Ongwen declared guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Uganda (ICC)

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On 4 February 2021, Trial Chamber IX of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or "Court") found Dominic Ongwen guilty for a total of 61 comprising crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed in Northern Uganda between 1 July 2002 and 31 December 2005. The verdict may be appealed by either party to the proceedings within 30 days after the notification of the Judgment. ICC Trial Chamber IX, composed of Judge Bertram Schmitt, Presiding Judge, Judge Péter Kovács and Judge Raul Cano Pangalangan, analysed the evidence submitted and discussed before it at trial and found, beyond any reasonable doubt, that Mr Ongwen is guilty of the following crimes: attacks against the civilian population as such, murder, attempted murder, torture, enslavement, outrages upon personal dignity, pillaging, destruction of property and persecution; committed in the context of the four specified attacks on the Internally Displaced Persons camps ("IDP camps") Pajule (10 Octo

Low-Level Offences and Procedural Rights in Europe (online event)

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Online Event: "Low-Level Offences and Procedural Rights in Europe" on Thursday, 4 Mar 2021 17:00 - 18:30 CET. During the COVID-19 pandemic, police and prosecution pursued punishment of violations of COVID-related measures. These prosecutions fell heavily on people of colour, people experiencing homelessness or poverty, or other groups that are often targeted by policing. Prosecutions for such "minor offences" do not always have "minor" consequences: they have very serious consequences for people, including incarceration. Yet under domestic and European law people charged with low-level offences are not granted the same procedural protections as people charged with more serious offences—often because the law assumes that these offences do not carry serious consequences. In this session, we will learn about how low-level offences are punished in Europe, the procedural deficiencies and/or lack of protections available to people being tried of low-level case

Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs): What and Why?

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By Christina Poursanidou, Lawyer Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) are considered as high-risk individuals for financial institutions and obliged entities, which justifies the application of additional Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CFT) preventive measures with respect to business relationships with them. But who is considered as a PEP and why being a PEP poses a risk? The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has defined a PEP as an individual who is or has been entrusted with a prominent public function, while the Article 3 par. 9 of the 4th EU AML Directive (AMLD) repeats the definition of the FATF and provides a list of particular political positions, which make somebody a PEP. It is crucial to note that both FATF and EU have included in the scope of PEPs, the family members and close associates of PEPs, which means that not only the persons with have been entrusted with prominent public function are considered as high-risk, but also their family member

EU Court of Justice: five judges and an advocate-general appointed

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The representatives of the governments of the member states appointed on 19.2.2021 four judges and an advocate-general to the Court of Justice and a judge to the General Court. Court of Justice The nominations are part of the partial renewal of the composition of the Court of Justice, since the terms of office of 14 judges and 6 advocates‑general will expire on 6 October 2021.  Mr Miroslav Gavalec (Slovakia) and Ms Octavia Spineanu-Matei (Romania) have been appointed judges to the Court of Justice for a first term of office. The terms of office of Mr Niilo Jääskinen (Finland) and Mr Lars Bay Larsen (Denmark) as judges of the Court of Justice have been renewed. The term of office of Ms Juliane Kokott (Germany) as advocate-general of the Court of Justice has been renewed. The four judges and the advocate-general of the Court of Justice have been appointed for a term of office starting on 7 October 2021 and expiring on 6 October 2027. The appointing decision will enter into

6 PhD Positions -Academy For European Human Rights Protection

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The University of Cologne is one of the largest and most research-intensive universities in Germany, offering a wide range of subjects. With its six faculties and its interfaculty centres, it offers a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and internationally outstanding profile areas, supported by the administration with its services. The Academy for European Human Rights Protection, which is currently being established under the direction of Prof. Dr. Dres. Angelika Nußberger M.A., invites applications for 6 positions for PhD students at the Academy for European Rights Protection. The position is available at the earliest possible date on a part time basis (19,92 hours per week/50%). It is limited to a term of two years. If the applicant meets the relevant wage requirements and personal qualifications, the salary is based on remuneration group 13 TV-L of the pay scale for the German public sector. Online applications until February 28, 2021 More information at  academicposi

ECtHR grants an interim measure in favour of Aleksey Navalnyy and asks the Government of Russia to release him

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Aleksey Navalnyy’s current application before the Court was lodged on 20 January 2021 under Article 34 of the European Convention on Human Rights. On the same date the applicant made a request to the Court under Rule 39 of the Rules of Court related to his detention, asking for his release.  On 21 January 2021, the Court decided to suspend the examination of the Rule 39 request until receipt of the following information from the Government:  1. In view of the arguable allegation of a near-lethal attack on the applicant in August 2020 with the use of chemical nerve agent, and the fact that the perpetrators had not been established by the Russian authorities, did the risk to the applicant’s life persist?  2. If so, what measures were being taken by the Russian authorities to safeguard his life and wellbeing, in particular while in custody?  3. Furthermore, were the conditions of detention and the treatment of the applicant subject to regular independent monitoring in line with European s

International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Geneva, Switzerland is seeking to recruit a Thematic Legal Adviser

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International Committee of the Red Cross, based in Geneva, Switzerland is seeking to recruit a Thematic Legal Adviser. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) works worldwide to provide humanitarian assistance to people affected by conflict and armed violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and at the same time promote respect for international humanitarian law. It is an independent and neutral organization, and its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. ICRC works closely with National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and with their International Federation in order to ensure a concerted, rational and rapid humanitarian response to the needs of the victims of armed conflict or any other situation of internal violence. It directs and coordinates the international activities conducted in these situations. The main role of the Unit of the Thematic Legal Advisers, which is part of the Legal Division, is to contribute to the role of t

More than a third of ECHR's judgments since its establishment concerned Turkey, Russia & Italy

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The document "The ECHR in facts and figures 2020" has been published on the Court’s website. Αccording to the report, approximately 62,000 applications were pending before a judicial formation of ECHR at 31 December 2020. Neerly a quarter of these applications had been lodged against the Russian Federation. The number of applications allocated to a judicial formation in 2020 exceeded the number disposed of judicially during the year. Almost half the judgments concerned 3 of the 47 member States, namely the Russian Federation (185), Turkey (97) and Ukraine (86). Nearly a quarter of all the judgments delivered by the Court concerned the Russian Federation. Of the total number of judgments delivered in 2020, the Court found at least one violation of the Convention by the respondent State in 87% of the cases. Since the Court was established in 1959, the Court has delivered 23,406 judgments. More than a third of them have concerned 3 member States: Turkey (3,742), the Russian Fede

ICC Court releases updates to its Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of Arbitration under the 2021 ICC Arbitration Rules

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The International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce has released updates to its Note to Parties and Arbitral Tribunals on the Conduct of Arbitration under the ICC Rules of Arbitration, effective 1 January 2021. Last updated in 2019, the  Note  provides parties and arbitral tribunals with practical guidance concerning the conduct of arbitrations under the ICC Rules and summarises the practices of the ICC Court. The updates were discussed by the Bureau of the ICC Court, further to proposals made by ICC Court President Alexis Mourre and the ICC Court Secretariat. Mr Mourre said: “Consistent with the  2021 ICC Arbitration Rules  and our evolving practices, the updated Note reflects the Court’s continuous efforts to increase the efficiency of ICC arbitrations, provide further transparency and offer excellent services to our users around the world”. The salient points of the updated Note are as follows: a. The Note reflects a number of practice points aris

More than 1600 lawyers have been arrested in Turkey since 2016's coup attempt

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The Arrested Lawyers Initiative published the fifth edition of its report named ‘Mass Prosecution of Lawyers in Turkey‘. According to the latest version of the report, since 2016’s coup attempt more than 1600 lawyers have been arrested and prosecuted while 615 lawyers have been remanded to pretrial detention. So far, 450 lawyers have been sentenced to a total of 2786 years in prison on the grounds of membership of an armed terrorism organization or of spreading terrorist propaganda.  15 of the persecuted lawyers are presidents (or former presidents) of their respective provincial bar associations. Report presents that all of the persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror-linked offenses; the two main accusations imputed to them are membership of an armed terrorist organisation, and forming and leading an armed terrorist organisation. Lawyers have particularly been targeted due to the identity or affinity of their clients. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rig

Digital disconnection: Regulating remote working on an EU level

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By Efi Thoma, Senior Legal Advisor One of the most fundamental EU principles is safeguarding a healthy work-life balance. EU law and specifically the pertinent directive on working hours, is based on the doctrine that work environment is being regulated in order to ensure that employees work maximum 48 working hours per week , enjoy minimum 11 consecutive hours of daily rest , and a t least 4   weeks paid annual leave per year . The new working conditions adopted in Europe and around the globe in the direct aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak have focused on remote working for the majority of the employees. However, teleworking has never been so popular before and used at such extensive levels. Recent research has shown that 27% of people who work from home worked outside working hours , and employees who regularly telework are more than twice as likely to work more than the maximum working hours set down in the EU’s working time directive than those who don’t , resulting

Importance and Effectiveness of EU Register of Beneficial Ownership

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By Christina Poursanidou, Lawyer Money laundering scandals during the last years have created much uncertainty about the effectiveness of the EU-Anti-Money Laundering Directives (AMLDs) and the presumption that transparency over the companies structure will lead to the the prevention of future similar cases. Despite the fact that World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), as well as Financial Action Task Force (FATF) were discussing the need of bringing to light the companies’ ultimate beneficial owners, the EU legislators made the creation of the Register of the Beneficial Ownership of legal entities mandatory for each Member State. More specifically, according to the Article 30 of the 4th AMLD “Member States shall ensure that corporate and other legal entities incorporated within their territory are required to obtain and hold adequate, accurate and current information on their beneficial ownership, including the details of the beneficial interests held.” Similarly, in order to

Criminal gang based in Ireland suspected of 4 Million money laundering

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On 10 February 2021, the Criminal Asset Bureau of the Irish National Police (An Garda Síochána) took action against a criminal gang suspected of large-scale money laundering.  Fund transfers in excess of €4 million were identified from other jurisdictions to Irish bank accounts linked to members of this criminal network. The gang is believed to have made this money from illegal activity across Europe.  The search operation in the cities of Tipperary and Kilkenny involved searches of 4 residential properties and 1 business premises, as a result of which €100 000 in cash and a car worth €75 000 were seized. A total of 16 bank accounts linked to members of the crime group were also frozen. The accounts contained cumulative funds of €540,000.  Such results were made possible thanks to the model of non-conviction based forfeiture operated by the Irish Criminal Assets Bureau. In this case, Europol’s European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) pieced together the intelligence provide

Trafficking: Ιncrease in the number of child victims - Covid-19 exposed more people to the risk of trafficking

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The share of children among detected trafficking victims has tripled while the share of boys has increased five times in the past 15 years. Girls are mainly trafficked for sexual exploitation, while boys are used for forced labour, according to the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on 2.2.2021. In 2018 about 50,000 human trafficking victims were detected and reported by 148 countries. However, given the hidden nature of this crime, the actual number of victims trafficked is far higher. The Report shows traffickers particularly target the most vulnerable, such as migrants and people without jobs. The COVID-19-induced recession is likely to expose more people to the risk of trafficking. “ Millions of women, children and men worldwide are out of work, out of school and without social support in the continuing COVID-19 crisis, leaving them at greater risk of human trafficking. We need targeted action to stop crimin

A euro area Member State can oblige its administration to accept payments in cash, but can also limit that payment option on public interest grounds

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In its Judgment in Joined Cases C-422/19 and C-423/19 (Johannes Dietrich and Norbert Häring v Hessischer Rundfunk) the European Court of Justice ruled that a euro area Member State can oblige its administration to accept payments in cash, but can also limit that payment option on public interest grounds. Such a limitation may in particular be justified where payment in cash is likely to involve the administration in unreasonable expense because of the very high number of persons liable to pay. Two German citizens who were liable to pay a radio and television licence fee in the Land of Hesse (Germany) offered to pay it to Hessischer Rundfunk (Hesse’s broadcasting body) in cash. Invoking its regulations on the procedure for payment of radio and television licence fees, which preclude any possibility of paying the licence fee in cash, [1] Hessischer Rundfunk refused their offer and sent them payment notices. The two German citizens brought an action against those payment notices and th

Refusal to allow a prisoner lawyer to consult Internet sites on legal matters was unjustified (ECtHR)

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In ECtHR  judgment in the case of Ramazan Demir v. Turkey (application no. 68550/17) the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been a violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression: freedom to receive information and ideas) of the European Convention on Human Rights.  The case concerned the prison authorities’ refusal to grant a request for access to certain Internet sites, lodged by Mr Demir in the course of his pre-trial detention in Silivri Prison in 2016. Mr Demir, a lawyer, wished to access the Internet sites of the European Court of Human Rights, the Constitutional Court and the Official Gazette, with a view to preparing his own defence and following his clients’ cases.  The Court considered that since prisoners’ access to certain sites containing legal information had already been granted under Turkish law for the purposes of training and rehabilitation, the restriction of Mr Demir’s access to the above-mentioned sites, which contained only legal infor