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Launch of the Conflict Resolution Seminars Series

Clinic Coordinator

11 Jan 2023

Professor Rick Lawson on 'The European Court of Human Rights reading between the lines'

Institutions for Conflict Resolution / Conflictoplossende Instituties (COI) is a research collaboration between Utrecht University, Leiden University, and Radboud University Nijmegen and a partner of the Radboud Law Clinic. As part of its activities, the COI research group organises seminars throughout the year for researchers interested in current and innovative topics relating to institutions for conflict resolution. The seminars feature international speakers who present their work, followed by Q&A and discussion. Themes include the evolving role of judges in preventing and resolving conflicts, the role of alternative avenues and non-public actors, and how societal challenges such as climate change or digitalisation affect institutions for conflict resolution. Seminars are hosted on a rotating basis at each of the three universities, and are delivered in a hybrid format: online via Microsoft Teams and in-person, on campus at the host institution.

The series will kick off with a lecture by Prof Rick Lawson at Leiden University. Prof Lawson will be speaking about developments in the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg is an ‘institution for conflict resolution’ par excellence. Not only does it deal with thousands of cases per year, coming from 46 countries across the continent; in doing so it also seeks to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law at the national level - crucial preconditions for the peaceful resolution of conflicts by domestic institutions. In the course of more than 60 years, the Court has decided leading cases that gave shape and substance to the freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and so on. In recent years, the Court is confronted with a new kind of cases. They revolve around the question whether there were ulterior motives behind the authorities' actions. Mr. Navalny is arrested time and again when he wants to address his supporters. Is this simply an attempt to maintain public order, or is there a purpose behind these actions, for instance to silence a political opponent of the regime? A Polish judge is disciplined. Should the Court zoom in on the penalty imposed on him, or should it review the case in the broader context of the 'rule of law crisis' prevailing in the country? Similar questions arise in the case of SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation). Cases like these have led to the 'rediscovery' of Article 18 of the ECHR. But they may also draw the Court -- whether it likes it or not -- into highly politically sensitive grounds.

Register here to attend the seminar: Online Event Page | Eventbrite

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