Political speech is free. At the same time, one should be aware that it transmits powerful messages to people who feel represented. Political correctness prevented the dissemination of racist allegations in the second half of the 20th century, and beyond. In recent decades, this kind of political correctness has been labelled by populistic politicians as the tyranny of a corrupt elite who claim to represent the "real" opinion of the majority. They also suggest that intolerant views have been suppressed through the spiral of silence – even though the contrary: denigrating speech on minorities is known to silence and intimidate those. My hypothesis is that the representation of extremist views by persons in the political power grows the popularity of those views.
Blogsite of the Institute for Legal Studies
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic does not only take human lives, but it overburdens the healthcare system, jeopardizes the economy, and leads to the virulence of rumours and fake news. At the same time, we are also witnessing the spread of hatred. Bias motivated incidents and crimes against people with South-East Asian descent are spreading in Europe, and hate crimes occur against Europeans and Americans in Africa. Elderly people who are said to be the most vulnerable from the virus and those who are sick are also stigmatized and harassed.
The Responsibility to Protect Principle and State Negligence in Disease Prevention of International Concern
In the context of the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 epidemic, over the course of the last several months, individual states and the World Health Organization expressed varying opinions about what constitutes good practice and responsible conduct in handling a pandemic of this kind. As World Health Organization (WHO) Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus reiterated in his daily press briefing on March 16, 2020: “Countries must test. They can't fight this blindly. They need to find cases and isolate them. (...) They must be able to test all suspected cases.” That is exactly what many countries either fail to do or do not even strive to accomplish, even as they are already relaxing restrictive measures aimed at curbing the epidemic.
It can be asserted as a fact that the coronavirus (COVID-19) as a pandemic, namely a disease originated from an epidemic occurring worldwide, generated an entirely new type of danger for mankind probably not known before. At the time of writing there is no suitable remedy for this danger, neither medical, nor by any other means.
The Covid-19 pandemic is not only a public health crisis but also a serious challenge for international and domestic politics and for the global economy. The official data shows that the pandemic, as of April 17th, 2020, has already claimed more than 145.000 lives among 2,2 million confirmed cases (for up-to-date information see here). While so far most of the governments have seen an increase in popular support (for example, the approval rating for Giuseppe Conte has gone up by 27%, while for Angela Merkel by 11%, for addition details see here), this trend may soon revert when the economic and social effects of the pandemic will become more apparent. Most of the experts expect to see a deep recession in 2020. For example, the International Monetary Fund, in its latest World Economy Outlook, forecasts that the global economy will shrink by 3%, making the current situation the worst recession since the Great Depression. The advanced economies will be the most affected, with an average contraction of 6.1%, including 5.9% in the United States and 7.5% in the Euro Zone.
The use of public money in the political decision-making process has always been a controversial issue. The intervention of the state may easily distort the political competition among the different parties and candidates, and is also capable of undermining the open public debate. A special form of the state’s intervention is when the government itself launches its own propaganda-campaign, dubbing it ‘public information campaign’. In the following blogpost I shortly analyze the nature of the publicly founded state propaganda carried out by the Hungarian government between 2015 and the general elections of 2018.
What in fact do we value, is it a matter or manifestation? If we consider manifestation to be morally and legally relevant than it is more than crazy to argue that something so small as an electron has inner life and that we should radically rethink our understanding of matter. Why should we bother with truth of matter if it cannot oblige us?
Recently the European Court of Human Rights (“Court”) delivered a decision in the case Paradiso and Campanelli v. Italy. The applicants - who were Italian nationals - after unsuccessful in vitro fertilisation treatments decided to try resorting to assisted reproduction techniques and to a surrogate mother in Russia. The child was born in Moscow in 2011 and arrived to Italy a few months later. The Italian authorities refused to register the Russian birth certificate and the child was removed from the applicants. The Court reduced its analysis to the notion of “private life”, inherent in the Article 8 of the European Convention. What is really striking with the reasoning is the omission of the Court to recognize the relevance of the international law instruments designed against human trafficking.
The European Court of Human Rights (the ‘ECtHR’ or ‘the Court’) has excessive jurisprudence on prison conditions, especially regarding the minimum personal space of inmates. The case law culminated in the recent judgement of Muršić, which was decided last October by the Grand Chamber. In this decision the Court addressed the inconsistencies in its jurisprudence regarding the minimum acceptable space. In the Muršić decision the Court ruled that if the personal space goes below 3 square meters, there is a strong presumption of a violation of Article 3 and the judgement resolves important other contradictions also. It was not totally consistent in the recent practice of the Court whether the decisive space is 3 or 4 m2 or that the personal space below this amount is in itself a violation or not. The origin of the 3 m2 threshold was also not clear from the case law of the Court. In this essay I will review the Court’s pre-Muršić case law on minimum personal space and draw attention to the inconsistencies, then I summarize the findings of Muršić.
The United States has been a champion of free trade and economic globalization for many years. It was one of the architects of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and a founding member of the World Trade Organization. However, the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States has the potential to dramatically change this picture. The new president has repeatedly blamed the current international trade arrangements for destroying jobs in the American industry sector. He promised to redesign the existing trade bargains. But are those plans realistic? How will such moves change the international trade landscape?
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between European Union and Canada was nearly to fail after the Wallonia parliament has made steps to block its domestic ratification in October this year. The obstinate resistance of Wallonia illustrates well, how the legal, political and social context of trade policy have completely changed in the last decades and it gives the Member States a warning that trade agreements no longer can be concluded behind closed doors.
Today, in the middle of May, with 29% or resondents still undecided, Remain and Leave are head to head in the referendum vote intention poll of polls showing 50-50%. Another poll suggested that 28% of voters will be swayed by “national” considerations, such as migration, while a mere 15% will decide on account of economic reasons.
The ECJ upholds the ECB’s bond buying programme: Preliminary reflections on the judgment of the Court in the Case C-62/14
On 16 June 2015 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued its much awaited judgment in the Gauweiler case (Case C-62/14). The judgment was expected with great interest for at least two reasons: for the ECJ’s position on the validity of the ECB’s bond buying programme ‘OMT” and the interpretation of the Treaties in that regard, and secondly, for its potential implications for the relation between the ECJ and the German Constitutional Court (GCC) from which the reference originated in January 2014 (Order of 14 January 2014, BvR 2728/13).
The regulation of whole life sentences varies in the Member States, however there seems to be a European consensus on granting some form of a meaningful review for possible conditional release from life imprisonment after the expiry of a long-term period spent in prison. Hungary was among the few Member States of the EU and the Council of Europe to have a sanction regime including whole life sentences without the possibility of review for conditional release, until the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter: ECtHR, Court or Strasbourg court) ruled on the matter and in Magyar v Hungary (Application no. 73593/10, 20 May 2014) declared the Hungarian life imprisonment regime to be in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter: ECHR or Convention). Last week the Kúria, the supreme court of Hungary had to remedy the human rights violation done to the whole life prisoner winning the Strasbourg case. In the review procedure Mr. Magyar was sentenced to life imprisonment with a possibility of conditional release after 40 years the earliest. In the present blog post the judgment will be analyzed in light of the ECHR and the attached case-law.
The regulation of whole life sentences varies in the Member States, however there seems to be a European consensus on granting some form of a meaningful review for possible conditional release from life imprisonment after the expiry of a long-term period spent in prison. Hungary was among the few Member States of the EU and the Council of Europe to have a sanction regime including whole life sentences without the possibility of review for conditional release – until the the European Court of Human Rights (hereinafter: ECtHR, Court or Strasbourg court) ruled on the matter and declared the Hungarian life imprisonment regime to be in violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter: ECHR or Convention). As a response to the judgment, the legislative introduced a novel Pardon Committee proceeding that could have been scrutinized by the Hungarian Constitutional Court, but it missed this opportunity. A brief analysis of Hungary’s obligations flowing from the Strasbourg judgment and the new Pardon Committee proceeding will be offered in this blog post.