Episode seventeen: What effects do we want human rights judgments to have?

If a human rights court knows that a state is going to resist a ruling of violation, should the court refrain from insisting that human rights have been violated and from ordering that the state change its ways? This episode contrasts how the Inter-American and European Courts approach this question.

 

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Yean and Bosico (discussed in the previous episode) had no tangible positive effect on the Dominican Republic. The state flatly refused to abide by the judgment of the Inter-American Court.

One might surmise that the European system works better. However, we need to consider the relatively lax implementation that characterises it. For example, foreigners whose expulsion was found by the European Court to breach their right to family life went on to see the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe condoning their expulsion – admittedly not for life but only for ten years. Still ten years is a long time.

The question arises: what kind of human rights system do we want?

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