AbstractNumerous governments have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by declaring states of emergency and restricting individual liberties protected by international law. However, many more states have adopted emergency measures than have formally derogated from human rights conventions. This Editorial Comment critically evaluates the existing system of human rights treaty derogations. It analyzes the system's problems, identifies recent developments that have exacerbated these problems, and proposes a range of reforms in five areas—embeddedness, engagement, information, timing, and scope.
AbstractThis introduction provides an overview of thirteen essays selected in response to a worldwide call for papers for an Agora on "The International Legal Order and the Global Pandemic." The essays in the Agora consider some of the most pressing challenges, as well as potential opportunities, that COVID-19 is creating for the international legal order. The specific topics addressed include the role of international organizations such as the World Health Organization, state responsibility, human rights, financial regulation, and international trade. Contributors were invited to address the theme from a historical, institutional, doctrinal, normative, critical, or geopolitical perspective, or a mix of perspectives.
Abstract Judges and scholars have long debated whether the European Court of Human Rights (the ECtHR or the Court) can only expand, never diminish, human rights protections in Europe. Recent studies have found that political backlashes and national-level restrictions have influenced ECtHR case law. However, analysing whether the ECtHR is shifting in a regressive direction faces an empirical challenge: How can we observe whether the Court is limiting rights over time if it has never expressly overturned a prior judgment in a way that favours the government? We gain traction on this question by analysing all separate and minority opinions of the ECtHR Grand Chamber between 1998 and 2018. We focus on opinions asserting that the Grand Chamber has tacitly overturned prior rulings or settled doctrine in a way that favours the respondent state, which we label as 'walking back dissents'. We find that walking back dissents have become significantly more common in the last decade, revealing that some members of the ECtHR themselves believe that the Grand Chamber is increasingly overturning prior judgments in a regressive direction.
AbstractThis article introduces a Thematic Section and theorizes the multiple ways that judicializing international relations shifts power away from national executives and legislatures toward litigants, judges, arbitrators, and other nonstate decision-makers. We identify two preconditions for judicialization to occur—(1) delegation to an adjudicatory body charged with applying designated legal rules, and (2) legal rights-claiming by actors who bring—or threaten to bring—a complaint to one or more of these bodies. We classify the adjudicatory bodies that do and do not contribute to judicializing international relations, including but not limited to international courts. We then explain how rights-claiming initiates a process for authoritatively determining past violations of the law, identifying remedies for those violations, and preventing future violations. Because judicializing international relations occurs in multiple phases, in multiple locations, and involves multiple actors as decision-makers, governments often do not control the timing, nature, or extent to which political and policy decisions are adjudicated. Delegation—and the associated choice of institutional design features—is thus only the first step in a chain of processes that determine how a diverse array of nonstate actors influence politically consequential decisions.