Nuhanovic Foundation

Reparations Database

Bill Bowring; What Reparation Does a Torture Survivor Obtain from International Litigation? Critical Reflections on Practice at the Strasbourg Court, The International Journal of Human Rights, Vol. 16 (5)





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Although the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is primarily a mechanism for the protection of individual human rights, many of the leading cases on violation of Article 3 have a collective or a structural dimension. In particular the author’s experience of many Kurdish and Chechen complaints against Turkey and Russia respectively is that they relate to the consequences of self-determination struggles and repressive state responses. A successful claimant at Strasbourg in most cases obtains a declaration that a violation has been committed by the government, and a sum of money in “just satisfaction”. Compared with the practice of the Inter-American Court, this is minimalist. The enforcement procedure through the Committee of Ministers, for general measures, is opaque and slow. The question remains: why do it? The author of this article concludes that claims must continue to be brought, not least because this will simultaneously maintain the pressure to improve the system.

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