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Norms and Praxis- Understanding the Evolution of Norms Restraining State Violence: A Look inside the European Court of Human Rights

Applicant Yildiz Ezgi
Number 149034
Funding scheme Doc.CH
Research institution Institut de Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement
Institution of higher education Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies - IHEID
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.09.2013 - 31.08.2015
Approved amount 138'594.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Political science
Legal sciences

Keywords (3)

Norms, human rights, constructivism, Europe ; torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, ; right to life, jurisprudence, the ECtHR

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Les standards en matière de protection des droits de l’homme ont évolué parallèlement à la transformation de la communauté internationale. Afin de mettre en lumière cette évolution en Europe, il convient d’examiner les arrêts de la Cour européenne des Droits de l’Homme (CEDH). En effet, en tant que juridiction supranationale, la CEDH non seulement reflète mais aussi guide cette évolution relative à la protection des droits de l’homme.
Lay summary

Contenu et objectifs du travail de recherche:

La CEDH, instrument efficace de protection des droits de l’homme, veille au respect de la Convention européenne des Droits de l’Homme, signée par les 47 États membres du Conseil de l'Europe. Cependant, le rôle de la CEDH va au-delà d’être un simple mécanisme d’appel. En effet,  les arrêts rendus par la CEDH clarifient le développement des normes des droits de l’homme.

Ainsi, dans le cadre de cette étude, je souhaite d’illustrer la manière dont les arrêts de la CEDH établissent des normes de protection des droits de l’homme. A cet égard, je me focalise notamment sur les affaires portant sur l’interdiction de la torture (article 3). Pour examiner l’impact des jugements rendus par la CEDH sur la construction et l’évolution des normes, j’analyse la manière dont ces jugements sont soumis à la portée du public et repris généralement en tant que comme recommandations et guides pratiques émanant des organes ou agences du Conseil de l’Europe.

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche:

Ce projet se veut à la fois explorateur  et interdisciplinaire. En premier lieu, je souhaite de mettre en avant l’évolution des normes basées sur des observations empiriques (analyses textuelles, entretiens et recherche de documents d’archive etc.). En deuxième lieu, je propose des explications sur la façon dont la CEDH opère et interagit avec les branches politiques du Conseil de l’Europe. Enfin, je tire des conclusions sur les effets normatifs des arrêts de la CEDH, ainsi que leurs effets juridiques. 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 01.10.2015

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
“Judicial Creativity in the Making: The Pilot Judgment Procedure a Decade After its Inception”
Yildiz Ezgi, “Judicial Creativity in the Making: The Pilot Judgment Procedure a Decade After its Inception”, in Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law, 8(1), xx-xxxx.
Understanding the Interpretative Evolution of the Norm Prohibiting Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment under the European Convention
Yildiz Ezgi, Understanding the Interpretative Evolution of the Norm Prohibiting Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment under the European Convention, in Kjær Anne Lise and Joanna Jemielniak (ed.), Oxford University Press , New York, Oxford , xx-xxx.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Danish National Research Foundation's Centre of Excellence for International Courts (iCourts) Denmark (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
ISA Annual Convention Talk given at a conference “Understanding the Evolution of the Norm Prohibiting Inhuman and Degrading Treatment under the European Convention” 18.02.2015 New Orleans , United States of America Yildiz Ezgi;
The 15th Roundtable for the Semiotics of Law Talk given at a conference “Understanding the Evolution of the Norm Prohibiting Torture and Inhuman or degrading treatment under the European Convention” 03.06.2014 University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen , Denmark Yildiz Ezgi;
ISA Annual Convention Talk given at a conference Reconfiguring the Normative Structure through Socialization: The Case of Eastward Expansion of the Council of Europe” 26.03.2014 Toronto , Canada Yildiz Ezgi;
Lunch Seminar Individual talk Understanding the Evolution of Standards: The Case of Inhuman and Degrading Treatment 12.03.2014 University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen , Denmark Yildiz Ezgi;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) A Discourse that Fuels Violence: AKP and Culture of Permissiveness Toward Violence against Women Lefteast International 2015

Awards

Title Year
Post-doctoral fellowship at the Carr Centre of Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School 2015

Abstract

This study gives an account on such normative transformation by looking at the specific example of how the norm against torture or inhuman and degrading treatment under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR, the Convention) has transformed over time. More specifically, it traces this development with references to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, the Court) -and prior to 1998 -the European Commission of Human Rights (the Commission), together referred as the Strasbourg institutions. This is because the rulings given by these interpretative bodies have been the vehicles of the normative transformation at issue. In so doing, it undertakes three important tasks:In part I, it introduces a framework of analysis that serve as a mid-range theory to understand how legal praxis shape norm development. This framework draws inspirations from the Structuration and Practice Theory of Giddens and Bourdieu, respectively and Latour’s analysis on legal practices. While these theories help one with conceptualizing the Convention system and situating it within the larger structure, the mechanics of the framework is built upon the observations gathered from the actual practices of the Strasbourg institutions. That is, it is also grounded in (i) an analysis of the case law in relation to the prohibition of torture, (ii) field work carried out at the Court, and (iii) expert interviews conducted with the judges and the staff of the Court, representatives of human rights groups and academicians who have either brought cases before the Court or intervened as third parties. Therefore, while this theory makes use of the heuristic frames introduced by these grand theories, it is primarily based on the empirical analysis that allows one to systematically assess the behavior of the Court. Hence, it is a theory grounded in data, and it is constructed via intermediate level reasoning (abduction). In other words, it combines insights gathered from deduction and induction, respectively. This theoretical framework serves as an intermediary to help “guide empirical inquiry,” by incorporating not only theoretical abstractions but also empirical testing. That is, it functions as a mid-range theory to understand the conditions shaping the Court’s interpretative preferences and the way it develops the norms. For this purpose, it brings the Court’s institutional identities into focus and shows how the Court’s various institutional identities guide its preferences when it comes to the norm development.In part II, it presents a macro level assessment on the development of the norm against torture within the Convention system. It shows how the scope and the content of the norm have changed overtime in parallel to a decrease in the society’s tolerance to state perpetuated violence. It offers a macro level analysis of the development of the norm against torture or inhuman and degrading treatment within the Convention system. It therefore analyzes the transformation of an accepted and internalized norm through the legal praxis of the Court. When the Convention was drafted in 1949, this norm was defined as a clear negative obligation, prohibiting the States from committing acts that violate the physical integrity of the victims. The norm, whose content was established with reference to the Nazi crimes committed during the Second World War, had a high threshold. At initial stages, the treatments or punishments with psychological impact were not effectively considered under this prohibition. However, in time the scope of the norm has been broaden and its content has been widened. The norm began to be formulated also in positive obligations terms. Part III provides a closer look at how the legal praxis of the Strasbourg institutions guided this transformation. This part of the study presents a micro level analysis on the norm development that is also an illustration of how this framework can be applied to assess the norm development. It traces the transformation of two obligations falling under the norm against torture or inhuman and degrading treatment. More specifically, it conducts a thematic analysis on the States’ positive obligation to family of the disappeared and the State’s negative obligation to refrain from imposing discriminatory measures on grounds of race and ethnicity. It demonstrates the normative transformation’s course for each obligation and explains which of the Court’s institutional identities have been more influential in this regard.
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