This article gives an introduction to the binding effect of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (the European Court) as regulated in article 46(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It then analyses how the German Constitutional Court in a decision 14 October 2004 (Görgülü) foresaw that the binding effect of judgments from the European Court was to be understood in German law. The decision from the German Constitutional Court came shortly after the European Court in the case of Görgülü v. Germany found that Germany both had and was violating article 8 of the ECHR. The German Constitutional Court had ample opportunities to discuss what impact the decision from the European Court should have in Germany. The author makes some comparisons with the situation in Norway and concludes that the Constitutional Court not necessarily is to be followed.
Key words: Binding effect of judgments, ECHR article 46, Görgülü v. Germany
In his influential book The Law of Peoples, John Rawls extends some of his central thoughts on a reasonably just constitutional democracy to the international community. This article argues that Rawls’s theory of international justice is at odds with important elements of liberal political theory. One of the main reasons for this incompatibility is that Rawls applies an implausible concept of tolerance. This concept threatens to undermine the justification of liberalism itself, including the freedom of speech.
Key words: Human Rights, Law of Peoples, Rawls, Tolerance
The article focuses on the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) and the Special Court for Sierra Leone. It looks particularly at how the issues of justice and peace are mirrored in the statutes and working of the tribunals. The two African tribunals are compared with the ICC as to the latter’s relationship to issues of war and peace on the one hand and to Africa on the other. The article opens with an account of UN Security Council practice relating to justice and peace since the early 1990s when criminal justice emerged as an organizing principle of international action.
Key words: criminal accountability, International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Special Court for Sierra Leone, international justice
Norway is influenced by European developments in the area of freedom, security, and justice due to formal cooperation agreements and for geopolitical reasons. The Schengen cooperation agreement and the Dublin cooperation agreement both have consequences beyond their individual scope. In some ways they constitute a Norwegian “backdoor” into the EUs work on the creation of a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). Application of the Dublin Regulation which regulates which country should be responsible for an asylum request, makes it, for example, a prerequisite for Norway to know how the EU Member States interpret the concept of “refugee” and “subsidiary protection” in accordance with the Qualification Directive. Equally important, EU-Member States should have knowledge about Norwegian legislation and practice before returning asylum seekers to Norway. This should permit Norwegian contributions into the evaluation process having recently started. Improvements to CEAS are necessary. A comprehensive approach to European cooperation is logical.
Keywords: Common European Asylum System (CEAS), Schengen-cooperation, Dublin-cooperation, Norway
The article is a shortened version of the author’s evaluation as a critic during Pamela Slotte’s defence of her PhD-thesis at Åbo Akademi, Finland in December 2005. It examines her presentation of different human rights concepts in some legal documents and by a selection of theorists and her analysis of the global ethics-paradigm by Hans Küng. It discusses her own understanding of human rights and her focus on the ethical responsibility and obligation of the individual and on the legitimatizing of such rights by ethical and/or religious elements.
Key words: human rights, moral/ethics, religion, ethical and juridical legitimacy, Hans Küng, global ethics