A Look at the European Court of Human Rights Case Law on Moral Issues and Academic Freedom

Author:Julia Laffranque
Pages:34-46
SUMMARY

Ethics is constantly topical, and times of economic crises, issues of migration and refugees, and threat of terrorism are no exception. In almost all cases brought before it, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg faces morally oriented issues to some extent. The article examines key dimensions of ethics as addressed by it (the common ethical grounds and European values on which the decisions are often based; areas of differences in ethical grounds in cases... (see full summary)

 
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34 JURIDICA INTERNATIONAL 26/2017
Julia Laffranque
Judge, European Court of Human Rights*1
Visiting Professor, University of Tartu
A Look at the European Court
of Human Rights Case Law
on Moral Issues and
Academic Freedom
Introduction
Moral issues are present in very many aspects of life and are involved in choices we make. Ethics is a subject
that leaves no one of us indi erent and is constantly topical. This is true also in times of economic crises, in
dealing with issues of migration and refugees and in coping with the threat of terrorism.
In almost all cases brought before it, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, the Court) in
Strasbourg faces more or less morally oriented issues. There are hardly any problems of life that have not
been dealt with in the ECtHR case-law. More than 800 million people from the 47 member states of the
Council of Europe can potentially turn to the Court in Strasbourg for help. As of 31 March 2017 there were
87,850 applications pending before the European Court of Human Rights. Most applications currently are
from Turkey (in the aftermath of the coup d’état attempt, as well as of the curfew situation in south-eastern
Turkey), Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and Russia, but quite many also arrive from Italy, Georgia, Azerbai-
jan, Poland and Armenia.
The present article will concentrate only on a few aspects of the case law of the European Court of
Human Rights related to moral and ethical issues and will not go into depth on the more comprehensive,
philosophical and social dimensions of this phenomenon. Firstly, the di erent dimensions of ethics at the
European Court of Human Rights in general will be analysed. Secondly, some central topics related to moral
issues in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights will be examined, and thirdly, more precisely,
some of the judgements of the ECtHR that have dealt with academic freedom will be touched upon. Finally,
a few concluding observations will be provided.
The article does not express any o cial opinions of the European Court of Human Rights and represents the author’s personal
views.
https://doi.org/10.12697/JI.2017.26.04

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