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Conference "International Human Rights Obligations of the Postcommunist Countries: Cases of the Czech Republic and Slovakia"

On 15 October 2015, the research team, under the auspices of the Faculty of Law, Masaryk University, in cooperation with the Central and Eastern European Law Institute (CEELI) and the Czech Society for European and Comparative Law organised a conference International Human Rights Obligations of the Postcommunist Countries. The conference, held in the premises of Villa Grébovka, aimed to bring together representatives of academia, executive, legislative and judicial power interested in the problematic of human rights commitments, their application and the conditions under which states take on new obligations. 

Conference consisted of four panels dealing with Core questions of the international human rights treaties within the realm of international law (I), Negotiation and ratification of international human rights treaties (II), International human rights treaties in national legal order (III) and International human rights treaties and national actors (IV).

The members of the team presented tentative findings of the project International Human Rights Obligations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia (Hubert Smekal and Jozef Janovský), Particularities of International HR Treaties within the International Law (Petr Kilian), Reservations to International Human Rights Treaties (Vladimír Týč), Human Rights Treaties in the Czech Constitutional Order and the Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court (Ivo Pospíšil) and finally, International HR treaties in the case law of the Czech Supreme and Supreme Administrative Court (Katarína Šipulová, co-authored by Jan Petrov).

The findings of the conference are to be published in 2016.   


Berkeley Comparative Anti-Discrimination Law Virtual Study Group

On 21 September 2015, Hubert Smekal and Jozef Janovský  delivered a presentation "Understanding International Human RIghts Commitments" Control Mechanisms, Legitimacz and Domestic Change" At UC Berkeley School of Law seminar. Presented paper: http://ohrh.law.ox.ac.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Smekal-et-al_Understanding-Int-HR-Commitments-1.pdf

 

EU Charter in the case law of the Supreme court and lower courts. 

Katarína Šipulová presented at the conference co-organised by the Czech Society of European Comparative Law and Ministry of Foreign Affairs "EU Charter of Fundamental Rights: 5 Years On or One Human-Rights Catalogue is not Enough" in Prague in May 2015. 

 

„Ideology, veto players and international human rights commitments in post-communist regimes“ Follow-up

Jozef Janovský a Hubert Smekal presented an updated version of “Ideology, veto players and international human rights commitments in post-communist regimes” at the prestigious MultiRight Seminar under the PluriCourts consortium in Oslo in December 2014. Final version of the draft was introduced by Katarína Šipulová at the follow-up conference “International Courts and Domestic Politics” in Oslo in January 2015.

 

Publishing activities in 2014

The members of the project team contributed to two books in 2014with their chapters dedicated to the grant. First, Vladimír Týč and Linda Janků published a chapter on reservations to international human rights treaties in a book on Interpretation and application of international treaties by Pavel Šturma and Zuzana Trávníčková (http://www.pfuk-shop.cz/shop_prf/e-products.nsf/d518191a510a4d20c125679e0034a674/8fdb0364e8b5dacfc1257d47002edc74?OpenDocument). Second, Hubert Smekal and Ivo Pospíšil wrote chapters covering issues such as social-science research on human rights, human rights in IR and constitutional review and human rights which were published by Wolters Kluwer in a book called Human Rights in International Politics (eds. Pavel Dufek and Hubert Smekal) (http://obchod.wolterskluwer.cz/cz/lidska-prava-v-mezinarodni-politice.p1947.html). 

 

International Courts and Domestic Politics


Katarína Šipulová, Jozef Janovský and Hubert Smekal attended the conference "International courts and domestic politics" on September 11-12, 2014 in Copengahen with paper on  Ideology, veto players and international human rights commitments in post-communist regimes: The cases of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

 

Ideology, veto players and international human rights commitments in post-communist regimes: The cases of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Šipulová Katarína – Janovský Jozef – Smekal Hubert 

What motivates states to ratify international human rights treaties remains an unanswered question in political science. Many tentative explanations for the observed variance in ratification patterns have been proposed; some are based on intrinsic characteristics of the treaties (the substance of the protected rights and the control mechanism), others are tied to external factors (having originated either from pressure of the international community or in the domestic political system). Yet the empirical evidence supporting the proposedhypotheses remains unsatisfactory. We aim to contribute to this discussion by providing a new systematic examination of the commitment practices in two post-communist countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. While both countries have experienced very similar international development, propelled by the same international incentives and constraints, their internal political experience differs significantly. This case selection allows us to focus on how domestic political factors and treaty characteristics interact to determine the commitment behaviour.

We focus on two particular research questions. First, building upon a vast analysis of coalition programmes, we examine whether Czech and Slovak governments claiming to protect certain human rights are more likely to act accordingly and aim to adopt related international human rights commitments. Second, drawing on Tsebelis’s conceptions of institutional veto playocus on how domestic political factors and treaty characteristics interact to determine the commitment behaviour.atification patterns have been proposed; some are based on intrinsic characteristics of the treaties (the substance of the protected rights and the control mechanism), others are tied to external factors (having originated either from pressure of the international community or in the domestic political system). Yet the empirical evidence supporting the proposedhypotheses remains unsatisfactory. We aim to contribute to this discussion by providing a new systematic examination of the commitment practices in two post-communist countries: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. While both countries have experienced very similar international development, propelled by the same international incentives and constraints, their internal political experience differs significantly. This case selection allows us to fers and policy change, we assess the impact of various actors in the domestic political arena on the willingness of the states to commit to human rights treaties. We explore whether the key influence lies within the government, the parliament or the president, all of whom are involved in the ratification process. Answers to the both questions are based on a quantitativeanalysis of the Czech and Slovak ratification process of 192 human rights treaties and are complemented by a closer look at a few of the most influential cases.


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