The jurisdiction ratione temporis of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to the obligation to investigate (art. 2-right to life). Theory and practice: from De Becker v. Belgium to Canales Bermejo v. Spain

Author:
Javier Chinchón Álvarez

Abstract:
Since 2009, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled in a number of cases dealing with the nature of the procedural obligation to investigate under Article 2 of the Convention, that is, whether it operates independently of the substantive obligation or not, whether there is a continuing obligation under Article 2 or not and, in particular, the scope of the Court’s temporal jurisdiction. The interpretation provided by the Court in such decisions has introduced a number of new, vague requirements that are not readily incorporated within the general theory on this matter. Moreover, it is by no means easy to identify the arguments upon which these requirements are formally justified.

Taking as starting point the general principles of international law concerning the non-retroactivity of treaties, continuing acts and jurisdiction ratione temporis, this article examines and assesses the European Court’s approach on these issues, by conducting an analysis of the following cases: Šilih v. Slovakia (GC), Varnava and others v. Turkey (GC), Antonio Gutiérrez Dorado and Carmen Dorado Ortiz v. Spain, and Janowiec and others v. Russia. A number of other relevant decisions are also taken into account, including the landmark decisions from De Becker v. Belgium and from the more recent case of Canales Bermejo v. Spain.

Index:
1. A MODO DE INTRODUCCIÓN.—2. PUNTO DE PARTIDA: MARCO GENERAL SOBRE EL PRINCIPIO DE IRRETROACTIVIDAD DE LOS TRATADOS, LOS HECHOS CONTINUADOS Y LA COMPETENCIA RATIONE TEMPORIS.—3. LA ACTUAL CONSTRUCCIÓN REALIZADA POR EL TRIBUNAL EUROPEO DE DERECHOS HUMANOS RESPECTO A LA OBLIGACIÓN PROCESAL DE INVESTIGAR.—3.1. La formulación de la Gran Sala en el caso Šilih c. Eslovenia.—3.2. La aplicación a los hechos de desaparición forzada de persona: la decisión de la Gran Sala en el caso Varnava y otros c. Turquía.— 3.3. Del desarrollo posterior de la doctrina sentada en los casos Šilih y Varnava y otros hasta su aplicación conjunta en el caso Antonio Gutiérrez Dorado y Carmen Dorado Ortiz c. España.—3.4. La necesidad de asegurar que las garantías y los valores en los que se funda el CEDH estén protegidos de una manera real y eficaz: el caso Janowiec y otros c. Rusia.— 4. PUNTO DE LLEGADA: EL CASO CANALES BERMEJO C. ESPAÑA. VALORACIÓN FINAL.

Keywords:
Antonio Gutiérrez Dorado and Carmen Dorado Ortiz v. Spain; Article 2 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms; continuing acts; enforced disappearance; European Court of Human Rights; Janowiec and others v. Russia; jurisdiction ratione temporis; procedural obligation to investigate; right to life; Šilih v. Slovakia; Varnava and others v. Turkey;

Issue:
REDI Vol. LXVI 1 2014

Section:
Studies

Pages:
125-158

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