On April 22, 2015, the Central African Republic’s transitional parliament voted to adopt a law to create a Special Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been committed in the Central African Republic since 2003. In order for the Special Criminal Court to now be established, its acting president, Catherine Samba-Panza, must enact this law. [FIDH; Jurist]
Category Archives: international human rights
Last week, on May 12, 2015, in Gogitidze and Others v. Georgia, the European Court of Human Rights held that the confiscation of property from a former public official did not violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The applicants claimed that Georgia had violated their right to property under the First Protocol to the European Convention, and their right to a fair trial under the European Convention. In finding no violation of the right to property, the Court reasoned that the State had struck a fair balance between the means taken to confiscate the applicants’ assets and the public interest in combating State corruption. Regarding the right to a fair trial, the Court found that the applicants had waived their right to participate in proceedings by failing to appear at the trial. See ECtHR, Gogitidze and Others v. Georgia, no. 36862/05, Judgment of 12 May 2015. Read more
The Human Rights Council is close to concluding its 22nd Session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group which began on May 4 and will conclude on May 15, 2015 to examine 14 States’ human rights records. [OHCHR Press Release] During these Working Group discussions, UN Member States are reviewing the human rights practices of Belarus, Liberia, Malawi, Mongolia, Panama, Maldives, Andorra, Bulgaria, Honduras, the United States, Marshall Islands, Croatia, Jamaica, and Libya (listed in the order of their scheduled reviews). [OHCHR: Universal Periodic Review Timetable]
The Inter-American Court of Human Rights will have the opportunity to determine for the first time whether State regulations designed to uphold discipline within a military institution may punish sexual acts between persons of the same sex without violating the principle of equality and non-discrimination. In December 2014, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights filed an application to submit the case of Homero Flor Freire v. Ecuador to the Court. The case involves the discharge of Mr. Flor from the Ecuadorian army as punishment for allegedly committing sexual acts with a person of the same sex. In 2013, the Commission held that Ecuador had violated Mr. Flor’s rights to a fair trial, judicial protection, equal protection before the law, and non-discrimination. The Commission referred the case to the Court after Ecuador failed to comply with the Commission’s recommendations. [IACHR Press Release]
During its 72nd regular session in Geneva, which was held from April 20th through 29th, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention [hereinafter Working Group] adopted the final text of its draft “Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of Their Liberty to Bring Proceedings Before a Court.” [OHCHR: Working Group] See General Assembly, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention: United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on remedies and procedures on the right of anyone deprived of their liberty to bring proceedings before a court, UN Doc. A/HRC/30/xx, June 2015, 5 (hereinafter Basic Principles and Guidelines). In reference to the Basic Principles and Guidelines, Mads Andenas, the current head of the five-member Working Group, stated that the “right to have the detention reviewed in court without delay is a central element of everyone’s right to liberty and security.” [OHCHR: New Guidelines]
On March 31, 2015 the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) released its judgment in Helsinki Committee of Armenia v. Armenia, concerning the State’s denial of a non-governmental human rights organization’s (NGO) application to hold an event dedicated to mourning the death of a murder investigation witness at the police station. See ECtHR, Helsinki Committee of Armenia v. Armenia, no. 59109/08, Judgment of 31 March 2015.
The Committee against Torture (CAT) is currently holding its 54th session in Geneva which began on April 20 and will continue through May 15. According to the agenda, CAT is considering the State reports of Colombia, the Republic of Congo, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Romania, Serbia, Spain, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on their implementation of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the Convention). During the session, representatives from each State will engage in a dialogue with members of CAT regarding the list of issues, which consists of those topics the Committee had previously asked each State to address in its report to CAT. The Committee will also review reports submitted by civil society organizations and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) concerning the States’ implementation of the Convention. At the conclusion of the review process, the Committee will issue concluding observations for each State, containing its concerns and recommendations on each State’s implementation of the Convention.
This week, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) will commence its 86th session in Geneva, Switzerland. The session will take place from April 27 to May 15, during which time the CERD Committee will review the State reports of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Denmark, France, Germany, Guatemala, and Sudan. The Committee will also review reports submitted by civil society organizations and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) concerning the States’ implementation of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD).
On March 26, 2015, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a Resolution which establishes a mandate on the right to privacy in the digital age and creates a new Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy. UN Human Rights Council, Resolution 28/L.27, Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age, UN Doc. A/HRC/28/L.27, 24 March 2015. [UN Press Release] This resolution, which was adopted during the 28th regular session of the Human Rights Council, reaffirms the right to privacy; recognizes the global and open nature of the Internet; affirms that the right to privacy must be protected both online and offline; and, most significantly, creates the position of Special Rapporteur, or independent expert, for a period of three years to promote and protect this right. The resolution follows an earlier Resolution on the right to privacy in the digital age adopted by the General Assembly in December 2014. UN General Assembly, Resolution 69/166, The right to privacy in the digital age, UN Doc. A/RES/69/166, 10 February 2015. The Human Rights Council will appoint the Special Rapporteur at the 29th regular session of the Human Rights Council which will be held from June 15 to July 3, 2015.
Last month, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights issued its Annual Report 2014, summarizing the Court’s structure, jurisprudence, and activities throughout 2014. The Report discusses the Court’s functions, summarizes the status of cases before the Court, breaks down the Court’s budget, and describes additional activities the Court undertook in 2014. See Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Annual Report 2014. The majority of the Report focuses on the hearings that the Court held, cases that were submitted to the Court, and judgments that the Court delivered in 2014. See id. at 12–33, 39–66.