At a time when the euro crisis publicly engulfs the European identity in a political and ontological crisis, out of the public eye the European Court of Human Rights has commenced its deliberations on Vinter and Others v. United Kingdom following a hearing on the 28th of November 2012. The case concerns the compatibility of life long imprisonment with Article 3 (freedom from torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment) of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. I argue that this case is timely for a number of reasons. While the abolition of the death penalty in Europe is celebrated as an expression of a European penal consciousness that itself can be seen as a trait of the European identity, in its wake the use and length of life sentences, including indeterminate prison sentences for public protection, show an alarming upward trend. This upward trend has taken place along many notable successes in the legalisation of prisoners’ human rights as the European Court of Human Rights and national courts show greater willingness than ever before to scrutinise matters pertaining to prison policy and practice and prisoner treatment. Drawing on prison studies on the effects of life imprisonment, my own data from interviews with lifers in England & Wales and The Netherlands and relevant human rights based prison case law, I build an argument for the abolition of life long imprisonment in Europe and for a principled qua restrained approach to the use of life and indeterminate prison sentences. My claim is that, like the abolition of the death penalty, they too need to be part of the European (penal) consciousness - a consciousness that identifies with principles and values as important as the rule of law and human rights.
Thomas Kronschläger and Eva Sommer
Ever since the implementation of the LHC at CERN, visions of apocalyptical scenarios, involving ‘black holes’, ‘dark matter’, ‘strange matter’ and so forth, were propagated by the media. The field in which CERN is operating has been raising concerns and anxieties, leading to several lurid newspaper articles in many European countries; it even resulted in an action for injunction at the European Court of Human Rights, filed by a private institution. In an interdisciplinary qualitative approach, drawing on Keller’s methodology ‘sociology of knowledge approach to discourse’ (SKAD), the public discourse on CERN’s LHC will be analysed. Using a sample of journalistic texts, underlying patterns will be classified, categorised and analysed separately. The SKAD approach seems to be suitable for analysis here, given the problem of distribution of knowledge appears to be a relevant factor.
violate the European Convention on Human Rights. The victory before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in the Lautsi judgment of a variegated coalition of actors ranging from the strong alliance between the Vati- can and the Italian Government to the Russia of the New Orthodoxy as
medical law and ethics. Combined with the emphasis on quality of life, autonomy results, Keown argues, in an instability of the law at the end of life. Proposals, whether adopted as in the Netherlands and Oregon, or merely contemplated, as in Britain and the European Court of Human Rights, to relax laws
in 1892. Although international law has changed over time to become more accommodating to refugees and asylum-seekers, states and international law continue to affirm the core elements of the above view. For example, in 2005 the European Court of Human Rights argued that: “[a]s a matter of well
Eric R. Boot
be the subject of debate. Dennis Thompson refers to this as ‘partial secrecy’ (Thompson, Dennis F. 1999. Democratic Secrecy. Political Science Quarterly 114: 181–193). 43 Examples include the case law of the European Court of Human Rights ( EC t HR ) (e.g., EC t HR (Grand Chamber). Guja v