Application of the principle of legality, right to a fair trial and other protected rights in core international crimes cases

Selected case-law of the European Court of Human Rights
11 October 2023|PUBLICATION
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This report outlines the most prominent cases in which the European Court of Human Rights evalu­ated the application of Article 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Article 7 provides that ‘no one shall be held guilty of any criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at the time when it was committed’. The decisions presented in this report confirmed that the retroactive applica­tion of domestic criminal law is, in certain cases, possible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide.

Furthermore, the report delves into other pro­tected rights under the ECHR, examining the ap­plication of universal jurisdiction in regard to the right to a fair trial, along with the duty of a state to effectively investigate these crimes, and fair trial guarantees for the purpose of extradition.

The aim of this report is to offer national author­ities comprehensive expertise on the matter and encourage them to explore the legal possibility of conducting investigations and subsequent pros­ecutions of core international crimes even if the acts in question have been committed prior to the implementation of the relevant provisions in their national legislation.




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