70 Years of Human Rights and the Rule of Law

XIX. Walter Hallstein-Kolloquium

5th and 6th March 2020

Goethe University
Campus Westend
IG-Farben Building - Room IG-1.134
Norbert-Wollheim-Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt am Main

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Programme (pdf): Click here...

On 4th November 2020, the 70th anniversary of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) will be celebrated. For 60 years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has been watching over its application. The Council of Europe, the ECHR’s umbrella organization, had its 70th anniversary on 5th May 2019. These jubilees are reason enough to take a closer look at how these institutions contributed to make human rights and the rule of law a common matter.
Their work had diverse impacts on furthering European integration. In its beginnings, the Council of Europe was thought to be the organization from which the European Union should originate. Its task “to achieve a greater unity between its members for the purpose of safeguarding and realizing the ideals and principles which are their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress”, as it is stated in Art. 1 of its statute, has been incorporated in the EU’s catalogue of aims and values. The ECHR’s human rights have been the basis for the European Court of Justice’s case law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
The work of the so-called Venice Commission, another body of the Council of Europe, is tightly connected with the rule of law framework under which the European Commission monitors critical constitutional developments in EU member states. (The procedures under this framework have been discussed at the 16th Walter Hallstein-Symposium in 2017.) The Council of Europe as well as the European Union recently have been confronted with tendencies of renationalization and an emphasis on interests of national governments in the politics of several European states. An increase in reservations concerning the validity of the ECHR and judgements of the ECtHR can be observed on the level of high courts in some European states. These tendencies, although different in their causes, seem to fit into a global political climate and rough times for individual rights and the rule of law.
At the 19th Walter Hallstein-Symposium the central question will therefore be, in how far these observations can be validated by looking at the practice of the involved institutions. It might be possible to di-vide their history, as is the case with other international institutions, into different phases (such as foundation, consolidation, expansion, backlash). However, this question cannot be answered by an abstract historical periodization, but rather by taking a closer look at the central individual elements of the European Council’s system of values. Therefore, after a reminder of the origins of the ECHR, the different protection systems (ECtHR, systems established by other treaties, Venice Commission) will be discussed individually in the light of the highly sensitive cross-sectoral fields of procedural rights flowing from the rule of law and rights of refugees and migrants. The second day will be devoted to the Venice Commission and the ECtHR, which will be discussed on a panel of judges of national constitutional courts and the ECtHR.



Thursday, 5th March 2020

Rolf van Dick, Goethe-University Frankfurt
Stefan Kadelbach, Center for European Integration and International Economic Order

The Origins of Human Rights Protection in the Council of Europe
Wilfried Loth, University of Duisburg-Essen


Treaty Monitoring in the Council of Europe
Thomas Giegerich, University of Saarbrücken


Coffee Break

Procedural Rights and Article 6 ECHR
Stefanie Schmahl, University of Würzburg


Refugees, Asylum, Migration
Jurgen Bast, University of Giessen


Friday, 6th March 2020

The Council of Europe and the Rule of Law – The Venice Commission
Veronika Bilkova, University of Prague/Venice Commission


Coffee Break

Past and Future of the European Convention of Human Rights and its Protection System - Progressive Development or Backlash?
Christoph Grabenwarter, Vice-President at the Constitutional Court, Vienna
Doris König, Judge at the Federal Constitutional Court, Karlsruhe
Angelika Nußberger, Formerly Vice President and Judge at the European Court of Human Rights, Cologne
Paulo Pinto de Albuquerque, Judge at the European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg

General Discussion

Concluding Remarks
Rainer Hofmann, Center for European Integration and International Economic Order

Presented by:
Wilhelm Merton Center Center for European Integration and International Economic Order, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft and Research Center "Normative Orders" of Goethe University


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