Published: 27 Jun 2017

EHRAC Bulletin Summer 2017

EHRAC Bulletin

Crimean Tatars in Simferopol attend a memorial service marking the 70th anniversary of the deportation of Tatars from Crimea. Photograph: Max Vetrov/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to the 27th issue of the EHRAC Legal Bulletin

At the start of this year, Russia began the process of decriminalising domestic violence, and on 7 February 2017 the decision was signed into law. This deliberate step backwards in the protection from, and prevention of, domestic violence is discussed by Jessica Gavron (EHRAC Legal Director) in our leading article, as she explains why domestic violence should be treated differently from ‘stranger violence’. Jessica also speaks to Mehriban Zeynalova (Founder, Clean World Public Union), who runs a shelter for women in Baku (Azerbaijan), mainly victims of trafficking and domestic violence. Paul Johnston (a domestic homicide review consultant and trainer from the UK) provides expert analysis and advice about how to conduct a domestic homicide review, noting that effective reviews are essential in enabling professionals to learn the lessons of the past and better protect victims in the future.

Reprising the theme of effective investigations, Nino Jomarjidze (Lawyer, Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association) argues that, despite a series of judgments from the European Court of Human Rights, Georgian authorities have failed to ensure institutional and practical independence of investigative bodies. Alice Donald (Senior Lecturer, Middlesex University Law School) explores the roles of national parliaments and other institutions in ensuring human rights protection, and how existing domestic processes can be improved. Turning to human rights protection on the international level, Anne-Katrin Speck (Research Associate, Middlesex University Law School) provides a summary of the European Court’s Annual Report for 2016, highlighting recent trends and some of the challenges facing the Court in coming years.

Two articles tackle the issue of systemic discrimination against ethnic groups. Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea over three years ago, widespread harassment and repression of the Crimean Tatar population has become commonplace, as Ayder Muzhdabaev (Crimean Tatar journalist and activist) describes. Louisa Madsen (LLM student, Middlesex University Law School) reviews Open Society Justice Initiative’s impact report on strategic litigation and related advocacy efforts on desegregation of Roma pupils in schools in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Greece. As the report indicates, strategic litigation before international courts is a means of effecting concrete change to discriminatory and abusive practices – including all of the issues discussed in this edition of the Bulletin – as well as providing redress for victims.