The use of Council of Europe treaties in the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. Research Division of the European Court of Human Rights; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The report is found under the Case-law research reports heading as "Use of Council of Europe treaties in the case-law of the Court." 

This document, which has been prepared by the Research and Library Division of the Court, contains a table listing references that have been made in the judgments and decisions of the Court to the Council of Europe treaties up to 30 June 2011. Fifty-six treaties have been cited in the Court’s case-law. The European Social Charter of 1961, revised in 1996, is the treaty that has been the most referred to.

The table covers conventions to which reference is made in any part of the Court’s judgments and decisions, including the parties’ submissions and dissenting opinions, as well as treaties that have been referred to only in passing or indirectly through other international instruments or decisions. Treaties which the Court itself has described as international law relevant to a particular case and/or on which it has relied in its reasoning form a majority in this list.

Council of Europe conventions and agreements opened for signature between 1949 and 2003 were published in the European Treaty Series" (ETS No. 001 to 193 included). Since 2004, this Series is continued by the Council of Europe Treaty Series (CETS No. 194 and following). The term “ECHR” (“CEDH” in French) refers to the European Convention on Human Rights. 

CEDAW. Case of Mukhina v. Italy. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


In 2001, Ms. Zhanna Mukhina, a Russian national currently residing and working in Italy, gave birth.  The father of the child, the author’s employer, refused to admit paternity and died shortly after the child’s birth.  In 2005, the author lost custody of her son ‘owing to the deterioration of her mental state and her inability to support the child.’  Subsequent appeals to regain custody of her son proved unsuccessful and, in 2009, the European Court of Human Rights declared a complaint from the author inadmissible.

In 2010, the author submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women claiming, without further substantiation, that Italy had violated her rights under article 16(f) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to ensure women and men ‘[t]he same rights and responsibilities with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship and adoption of children ….’

CEDAW. Case of Rivera v. Canada. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


In 2011, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered Rivera v. Canada (CEDAW/C/50/D/26/2010). In 2006, Guadalupe Herrera Rivera (GHR), a Mexican national, claimed asylum in Canada, along with her then husband and their two minor children.  Canadian authorities denied the claim on the basis that it lacked credibility.

In October 2008, ‘Assistance aux femmes’, acting on behalf of GHR, filed applications with Immigration Canada for a pre-removal risk assessment (PRRA) and on humanitarian and compassionate (H&C) grounds.  The H&C grounds application included information about GHR’s experiences of domestic violence, the inadequate protection in Mexico against such violence, and the risk of GHR experiencing further violence if deported to Mexico.

In September 2010, GHR submitted a communication to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) claiming that, if Canada deported her to Mexico, it would violate her rights under articles 1, 2(a)-2(d), 5(a) and 24 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).  GHR requested interim measures to prevent Canada from deporting her to Mexico while her communication was pending before the CEDAW Committee.

CEDAW. Case of Teixeira v. Brazil. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


On August 10 2001, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) issued its landmark decision on the Communication No. 17/2008. The case was filed by the organization Advocaci – Advocacia Cidada pelos Direitos Humanos and the Center for Reproductive Rights against the state of Brazil on November 30th 2007. This is the first decision establishing states’  international responsibility on preventable maternal death case within the UN Human Rights System.

CEDAW. Case of V.K. v. Bulgaria. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The author of the complaint, VK, alleged that she had been a persistent victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, and petitioned the Bulgarian courts to issue a protection order against him. VK was issued an interim order, but at the full hearing, the court refused to make a permanent order in accordance with its interpretation of national law on the basis that no domestic violence had taken place in the month prior to the initial hearing. The ruling was upheld on appeal. VK specifically alleged that the State had neglected its positive obligation under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women to protect her from domestic violence, and that it had not acted to ensure the necessary protection to avoid irreparable damage to her and her two children.

CEDAW. Case of V.P.P. v. Bulgaria. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


In 2011, the Committee on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women considered V.P.P v. Bulgaria (C/53/D/31/2011). V.P.P., a minor, was sexually assaulted by B.G., an adult man who lived in a neighbouring apartment building.  Bulgarian authorities waited two years before indicting B.G. for “sexual molestation of a minor”.  The District Court approved a plea bargain agreement that B.G. receive a three-year suspended sentence for pleading guilty.  B.G. continued to live next door to V.P.P. following the assault and no action was taken to ensure the ongoing safety of V.P.P.

The District Court rejected a request to file a civil claim for moral damages and a separate successful tort suit for 15,000 euros could not be executed with the mechanisms available under Bulgarian law.

 S.V.P. submitted a communication under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Optional Protocol) on behalf of her daughter claiming that Bulgaria had violated articles 1, 2(a)-2(c), 2(e)-2(g), 3, 5, 12 and 15 of CEDAW.  She claimed that Bulgaria had failed to:

  • act with due diligence to protect V.P.P. against sexual assault;
  • provide an effective remedy and address the health, rehabilitative and other needs of V.P.P.;
  • provide V.P.P. ongoing protection from B.G.; and
  • introduce specific legal and policy measures and health services to address violence against women and girls.
  • S.V.P. also claimed that Bulgaria’s response to her daughter’s assault reflected gender stereotypes related to violence against women and girls. 


CEDAW. Case of Abramova v. Belarus. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has found in Abramova v. Belarus (C/49/D/23/2009) that Belarus’ treatment of a woman detained under administrative arrest violated articles 2(a)-2(b), 2(e)-2(f), 3 and 5(a) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), read in conjunction with article 1 and the Committee’s General Recommendation No. 19 on violence against women.

CEDAW. Case of L. C. v. Peru. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract


L.C. was 13 years old when she was repeatedly raped by a 34-year-old man who lived in her neighborhood in an impoverished region near Peru’s capital city of Lima.  Her ordeal started in 2006, and by 2007 she learned that she was pregnant.  Desperate, L.C. attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of a building next door to her house.  Neighbors discovered her and rushed her to the hospital.  But even though doctors concluded that her spine needed to be realigned immediately—and even though abortion in Peru is legal where the mother’s health and life are at risk--they refused to operate on L.C. because she was pregnant. L.C. eventually suffered a miscarriage because of the severity of her injuries. Several weeks after the miscarriage, four months after she was told she needed surgery, L.C. underwent the spinal procedure. She was told shortly thereafter, however, that the surgery would have little to no effect and that she would remain paralyzed. On June 18, 2009, the Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for the Promotion and Defense of Sexual and Reproductive Rights filed a human rights petition on behalf of L.C. against Peru before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The petition charges that Peru’s failure to implement measures that guarantee a woman’s ability to obtain essential reproductive health services in a timely manner, particularly legal abortion, not only violates the Peruvian Constitution, but international treaty obligations. Among other remedies, L.C. is asking that the Peruvian government acknowledge the human rights violation; provide L.C. with reparations, including physical and mental rehabilitation; and issue necessary measures so that no other woman is denied her right to comprehensive healthcare and therapeutic abortion.

A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action. Equality Now; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This Guide provides step-by-step guidance for using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa at local, national, and regional levels. It explains how to bring women’s rights abuses that violate the Protocol before domestic courts and regional justice mechanisms like the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights; analyzes key cases related to women’s rights decided by the African Commission; and provides general strategies for activists.


Ending Violence Against Women and Girls - Evidence, Data and Knowledge in Pacific Island Countries. United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

This summary of current literature on violence against women and girls in Pacific Island Countries is designed to give practitioners a concise and comprehensive overview of current knowledge and analysis. The evidence presented in this second edition presents a compelling case for more action and investment in preventing and responding to violence against women. It is intended to inform leaders, legislators, policy and decision-makers in government, and programme designers in government and civil society. It is also intended to be a ‘living’ source of knowledge, and will be regularly updated to ensure its validity. Comments, feedback and additions are welcome to this important bank of knowledge on VAW in our region. 


Now E. A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action. New York: Equality Now; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Equality Now, in conjunction with Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), is delighted to announce the release of A Guide to Using the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa for Legal Action. The release of this manual comes 5 years after the Protocol came into force. “We hope African lawyers and women’s rights advocates find the manual useful and it gives them hands-on guidance on how best to apply the remarkable standards of the Protocol in cases of violations of women’s rights,” said Faiza Jama Mohamed, Nairobi Office Director of Equality Now, which convenes SOAWR, a coalition of 47 civil society organizations working to ensure that the Women’s Protocol is ratified and implemented across the continent.

Kleinsorge T. Legal protection of children from sexual exploitation: The “Lanzarote Convention” and the One in Five campaign. 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

It is estimated that one in five children fall victim to sexual violence – a serious human rights violation the Council of Europe has decided to combat through: 1. legislative harmonization - The Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (Lanzarote Convention) is the most advanced and complete standard in this field 2. awareness-raising and political action – The Council of Europe campaign ONE in FIVE to stop sexual violence against children and its parliamentary dimension aims to raise awareness of the full extent of sexual violence against children in our societies and promote appropriate policies to stop this violence
Hughes P, Fleetwood R ed. Violence Against Women: Protection and Prevention Through International Law. INTERIGHTS Bulletin. 2011;16 (3). Publisher's VersionAbstract

The articles in this Bulletin draw attention to the different ways in which violence against women can manifest itself and in so doing highlight its pervasiveness and the stark failure of many states to take action to prevent it from happening. Although ‘intimate-partner’ violence and sexual coercion are the most common types of violence affecting women and girls, in many parts of the world violence can take on special characteristics depending on different cultural and historical conditions. Some of those characteristics are examined in this Bulletin including the trafficking of women, the treatment of migrant domestic workers and violence against women in situations of armed conflict.

Dinkel C, Haile HA, Sarr A, Wiatrowski C, Biller D. Analysis of International Jurisprudence Involving Sexual and Other Gender-Based Violence During Conflict. Ithaca: Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic and Avon Global Center for Women and Justice; 2011. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The analysis that follows is the product of a project undertaken by the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice, in collaboration with the Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic. The research team analyzed jurisprudence involving sexual and other gender-based violence in cases before the following international war crimes tribunals and special courts: the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY); the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR); the Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) and the International Criminal Court (ICC). The purpose of this review is to highlight the development in each tribunal of jurisprudence involving the redress of gender crimes during conflict. The charts that follow present information relevant for further comparison and analysis of progress and persistent gaps in international law, with an aim towards contributing to the furtherance of effective prosecution and prevention of sexual and other gender-based violence. 

Violence Against Women In Africa: A Situational Analysis. UNESCA and ACGS; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The current report of the African Centre for Gender and Social Development provides a situation analysis of violence against women in Sudan combining it with information about the available legislative frameworks and legal institutions that could be used in order to combat it (p. 158-163).

The report indicates that most of the Sudanese women who become the victims of sexual violence are reluctant to report the commission of an offence for fear of the negative  reflection it may have on their families, and their own reputation. In addition, a victim failing to prove rape may instead be accused of adultery and sentenced to death.

The report also highlights the problems of the widespread practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Sudan, abduction of Sudanese women for slavery, and their trafficking to neighbor countries. Both the Sudanese police and military as well as Janjawid militiamen have been found to be involved in the commission of these offences. Attempts to bring perpetrators to justice before the International Criminal Court have failed as the Sudanese Government has resisted arresting the alleged offenders.

At the same time, with the support of the UNPF, civil society and international organizations, Sudanese government bodies have devised a number of national plans and strategies to combat violence against women, prevent FGM, assist the victims of violence, and contribute to the empowerment of women in general. Not all of these documents have been adopted as State policy. In a move towards implementation of the existing plans the Government of Sudan has established the Unit for the Suppression of Violence against Women and Children.

European Convention on Human Rights. Council of Europe; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, better known as the European Convention on Human Rights, was opened for signature in Rome on 4 November 1950 and came into force in 1953. It was the first instrument to give effect to certain of the rights stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and make them binding.

The importance of the Convention lies not only in the scope of the fundamental rights it protects, but also in the protection mechanism established in Strasbourg to examine alleged violations and ensure compliance by the States with their undertakings under the Convention. Accordingly, in 1959, the European Court of Human Rights was set up.

In the system as first set up, three institutions were given the task of ensuring compliance with the undertakings given by the Contracting States: the European Commission of Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. With the entry into force of Protocol No. 11 on 1 November 1998 the first two institutions were merged into a single Court, to which individual or State applications can be directly made alleging violations of the civil and political rights set forth in the Convention.

Since its adoption in 1950 the Convention has been amended a number of times and supplemented with many rights in addition to those set forth in the original text.

A practical guide to the UN Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Urban Justice Center; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Eleventh document

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) provides a new and exciting opportunity for advocates to hold the United States government accountable to all its human rights obligations and commitments. Similar to other human rights mechanisms, the UPR encourages advocates to engage in dialogue and challenge their governments to respect, protect and fulfill the broad range of human rights under the umbrella of international law and agreements.

The UPR is also a unique instrument available to United States advocates to advance economic and social rights such as the right to work, to housing, to health, etc; rights that are recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)one of the documents used in the UPRas well as several other human rights treaties.

Participation by advocates in the UPR is a key part of the process and can be effective at different levels. The Human Rights Project (HRP) at the Urban Justice Center employed its extensive experience and knowledge from engaging advocates in other human rights mechanisms to develop this UPR toolkit. 

Killander M. Interpreting Regional Human Rights Treaties. Social Science Research Network. 2010;(13) :145-169. Publisher's VersionAbstract

Whether included in national bills of rights or regional or global human rights treaties, human rights are often vague. They require interpretation. The article illustrates how regional human rights tribunals have largely followed the rules for treaty interpretation set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. In the interpretation of rights and their limitations the European Court has traditionally put greater emphasis on regional consensus than the Inter-American Court and the African Commission which often look outside their continents to treaties and soft law of the UN and the jurisprudence of other regional tribunals. However, there is a trend towards universalism also in the jurisprudence of the European Court. The article illustrates that the reasoning of the regional tribunals is sometimes inadequate. The quality of the reasoning of the tribunals is important as it provides states and individuals with predictability so that action can be taken to avoid human rights violations. Good reasoning may also help to achieve compliance with the decisions and societal acceptance on controversial issues.

Barrow A. UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820: constructing gender in armed conflict and international humanitarian law. International Review of the Red Cross. 2010;92 (877) :221-234. Publisher's VersionAbstract

*The full article is available through this link. This article may be available free of charge to those with university credentials.

While the Geneva Conventions contain gender-specific provisions, the reality of women’s and men’s experiences of armed conflict have highlighted gender limitations and conceptual constraints within international humanitarian law. Judgements at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) ad hoc tribunals have gone some way towards expanding the scope of definitions of sexual violence and rape in conflict. More recent developments in public international law, including the adoption of Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 focused on women, peace and security, have sought to increase the visibility of gender in situations of armed conflict. This paper highlights important developing norms on women, peace and security. Although these norms are significant, they may not be radical enough to expand constructions of gender within international humanitarian law. This leaves existing provisions open to continued scrutiny.

Case of A. v. Croatia. European Court of Human Rights; 2010. Publisher's VersionAbstract{"fulltext":["A%20v.%20Croatia%2055164/08"],"documentcollectionid2":["GRANDCHAMBER","CHAMBER"]}

Facts – Between November 2003 and June 2006, the applicant’s husband, who has been diagnosed as suffering from severe mental disorders with a tendency towards violent and impulsive behaviour, subjected the applicant to repeated psychological and physical violence including death threats and blows and kicks to the head, face and body. She was often abused in front of their daughter, who was herself the subject of violence on several occasions. The marriage ended in divorce in 2006. Between 2004 and 2009 various sets of criminal and minor-offences proceedings were brought against the husband and a number of protective measures were ordered. However, only some were implemented. For example, an eight-month prison sentence handed down in October 2006 following death threats was not served and the husband failed to undergo psycho-social treatment that had been ordered. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for making death threats against a judge.