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The European Court of Human Right's Engagement with International Humanitarian Law

Rova, Lovisa LU (2015) JURM02 20151
Department of Law
Abstract
International human rights law and international humanitarian law are traditionally two distinct branches of law, one dealing with the protection of individuals, the other with the conduct of parties to an armed conflict. There is today a recognition that international human rights law is applicable in situations of armed conflict, in parallel with international humanitarian law. The aim of this Master thesis is to determine the significance of international humanitarian law that the European Court of Human Rights gives to it.

At the outset the historical relationship between the bodies of law is explained and briefly the conceptual difference between international human rights law and international humanitarian law addressed. The... (More)
International human rights law and international humanitarian law are traditionally two distinct branches of law, one dealing with the protection of individuals, the other with the conduct of parties to an armed conflict. There is today a recognition that international human rights law is applicable in situations of armed conflict, in parallel with international humanitarian law. The aim of this Master thesis is to determine the significance of international humanitarian law that the European Court of Human Rights gives to it.

At the outset the historical relationship between the bodies of law is explained and briefly the conceptual difference between international human rights law and international humanitarian law addressed. The thesis further undertakes an examination of the selected judgments and decisions, and systematizes the patterns of the use of international humanitarian law. The empirical research demonstrates that the European Court of Human Rights does interpret the relationship in diffent ways depending on the context and that the interpretation to some extent has changed over time. More specifically, the Court has in situations amounting to internal armed conflicts only applied the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols, without any clear reference to IHL, although awarding some flexibility in the application of the convention with regard to the situation's character. In international armed conflicts the Court has found that the provisions should, to some extent, be interpreted and applied in the light of the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law. This marks a difference from its earlier case law where the Court did not consider the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols to be the prevailing body of law in situations of international armed conflicts.

The thesis contends that Court’s approach to international law reflects the specific nature of the European Convention on Human Rights as a regional human rights instrument. The fragmentation of international law in the European Court of Human Rights' jurisprudence, with reference to international humanitarian law, appears, to some extent, inevitable. But recent cases may suggest otherwise in relation to international armed conflicts. In this connection, it is suggested that the European Court of Human Rights must continue to adhere to the the object and purpose of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols when delivering its forthcoming judgements in order not to water down its provisions but to preserve to a maximum degree of the full enjoyment of the rights and freedoms guaranteed therein, caution must be taken as it is foremost human rights that might lose something in the process. (Less)
Popular Abstract (Swedish)
Mänskliga rättigheter och internationell humanitär rätt har traditionellt betraktats som två skilda rättsområden. i dag är mänskliga rättigheter emellertid universellt tillämpliga, även under väpnade konflikter. Syftet med denna uppsats är att undersöka i vilken utsträckning Europadomstolen tillämpat eller tagit hänsyn till internationell humanitär rätt i sina domar.

Vad som visas är att Europadomstolen i sina avgörande implicit skiljer mellan olika typer av väpnade konflikter. I förhållande till internationella väpnade konflikter tillämpar domstolen Europakonventionen i ljuset av internationell humanitär rätt, detta till skillnad från konflikter av annan karaktär i vilken endast Europakonvention utgör grunden för domstolen avgöranden,... (More)
Mänskliga rättigheter och internationell humanitär rätt har traditionellt betraktats som två skilda rättsområden. i dag är mänskliga rättigheter emellertid universellt tillämpliga, även under väpnade konflikter. Syftet med denna uppsats är att undersöka i vilken utsträckning Europadomstolen tillämpat eller tagit hänsyn till internationell humanitär rätt i sina domar.

Vad som visas är att Europadomstolen i sina avgörande implicit skiljer mellan olika typer av väpnade konflikter. I förhållande till internationella väpnade konflikter tillämpar domstolen Europakonventionen i ljuset av internationell humanitär rätt, detta till skillnad från konflikter av annan karaktär i vilken endast Europakonvention utgör grunden för domstolen avgöranden, även om en viss flexibilitet tillämpas. Den utveckling som kan ses i förhållande till internationella väpnade konflikter kan möjligen bidra till en minskad fragmentering av internationell rätt. Samtidigt är det viktigt att Europakonventionens innehåll inte urvattnas. (Less)
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author
Rova, Lovisa LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20151
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
International humanitarian law, European Court of Human Rights, European convention on human rights
language
English
id
5434787
date added to LUP
2015-10-08 15:01:35
date last changed
2015-10-08 15:01:35
@misc{5434787,
  abstract     = {International human rights law and international humanitarian law are traditionally two distinct branches of law, one dealing with the protection of individuals, the other with the conduct of parties to an armed conflict. There is today a recognition that international human rights law is applicable in situations of armed conflict, in parallel with international humanitarian law. The aim of this Master thesis is to determine the significance of international humanitarian law that the European Court of Human Rights gives to it. 

At the outset the historical relationship between the bodies of law is explained and briefly the conceptual difference between international human rights law and international humanitarian law addressed. The thesis further undertakes an examination of the selected judgments and decisions, and systematizes the patterns of the use of international humanitarian law. The empirical research demonstrates that the European Court of Human Rights does interpret the relationship in diffent ways depending on the context and that the interpretation to some extent has changed over time. More specifically, the Court has in situations amounting to internal armed conflicts only applied the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols, without any clear reference to IHL, although awarding some flexibility in the application of the convention with regard to the situation's character. In international armed conflicts the Court has found that the provisions should, to some extent, be interpreted and applied in the light of the relevant provisions of international humanitarian law. This marks a difference from its earlier case law where the Court did not consider the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols to be the prevailing body of law in situations of international armed conflicts. 

The thesis contends that Court’s approach to international law reflects the specific nature of the European Convention on Human Rights as a regional human rights instrument. The fragmentation of international law in the European Court of Human Rights' jurisprudence, with reference to international humanitarian law, appears, to some extent, inevitable. But recent cases may suggest otherwise in relation to international armed conflicts. In this connection, it is suggested that the European Court of Human Rights must continue to adhere to the the object and purpose of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the Protocols when delivering its forthcoming judgements in order not to water down its provisions but to preserve to a maximum degree of the full enjoyment of the rights and freedoms guaranteed therein, caution must be taken as it is foremost human rights that might lose something in the process.},
  author       = {Rova, Lovisa},
  keyword      = {International humanitarian law,European Court of Human Rights,European convention on human rights},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The European Court of Human Right's Engagement with International Humanitarian Law},
  year         = {2015},
}