Separating Normalcy from Emergency: The Jurisprudence of Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights

Alan Greene
2011 German Law Journal  
The European Convention of Human Rights (ECHR) is as much a political as it is a legal document. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) constantly walks the delicate tight rope between vindicating human rights and respecting the sovereignty of contracting states. This balancing act is particularly sensitive when a situation of "exceptional and imminent danger" exists. In such instances of national security the state may need to act in a manner beyond the parameters of normalcy in order to
more » ... malcy in order to neutralize the threat and protect both itself and its citizens. Article 15 of the ECHR therefore allows states to derogate from its obligations under the convention when a state of emergency is declared. On foot of a notice of derogation, a state has more discretion and flexibility to act accordingly to respond to a threat without being constrained by its obligations under the treaty. However, it is also in these conditions that human rights are at their most vulnerable as the state's response may encroach severely on individuals' rights and the liberal-democratic order of the state.
doi:10.1017/s2071832200017557 fatcat:jvfr3tnt2jaojeehtdv3evc3uy