Faculty Journal Articles and Book Chapters

The Relationship between the European Court of Human Rights and the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation: Conflicting Conceptions of Sovereignty in Strasbourg and St Petersburg

ORCID (Links to author’s additional scholarship at ORCID.org)



Russia eagerly ratified the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in 1998. Twenty years later, the chair of its Constitutional Court now expresses resentment at the subordination of Russian sovereignty. A new law expands his Court’s jurisdiction to deny effect to judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, an unprecedented power that has already been used twice. This article analyses this law and its application in its first two years. Both the claim of ‘subordination’ and the Russian response to it, in law and practice, rest on weak legal ground. But Russia’s action also raises deeper theoretical and practical questions for the ECHR as a ‘living instrument’ subject to the ‘evolutive’ interpretations of the Strasbourg Court. If other member states mimic Russia’s response to these issues, a European human rights system premised on the final interpretive authority of an international court could come to its end.

Publication Title

European Journal of International Law

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Digital Object Identifier (DOI)