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New Issue: Nordic Journal of Human Rights, Volume 39, Issue 1

The Nordic Journal of Human Rights has published the first issue of Volume 39. The following legal developments, articles and book reviews can be found in the new issue:

Legal Developments

Victims at the Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court – Juan-Pablo Perez-Leon-Acevedo

The Central African Republic’s Special Criminal Court (SCC), the latest hybrid criminal tribunal, may be considered an important legal development concerning victims of mass atrocities in international criminal justice mechanisms. Yet there is no academic commentary on victims at the SCC; this piece seeks to fill the gap. First it considers restorative justice as a general framework for victims’ roles and rights in criminal justice in contexts of mass atrocities. Second, victim matters at the SCC are examined. Overall, this paper argues that provisions on victims’ roles and rights contained in SCC instruments are consistent with restorative justice and international law, but that there are major challenges ahead.


Nordic Experiences in the UN Human Rights Council: A Tour d’Horizon of 2019 with Iceland and Denmark – Katja Creutz

The importance of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) is growing for the Nordic states. Despite the existence of a rotation principle for Nordic representation, in 2019 two Nordic states, Iceland and Denmark, exceptionally both had a seat in the HRC. This article seeks to evaluate that unique situation by taking stock of their respective experiences in the Council, their human rights priorities, as well as Nordic cooperation in general. During a time in which human rights are being challenged worldwide by autocratic states and developments such as COVID-19, it is essential to improve our understanding of what the Nordic countries, as principled supporters of human rights, can bring to the table.

Balancing Socio-economic Rights: Confronting COVID-19 in South Africa’s Informal Urban Settlements – Marius Pieterse

In the context of a stand-off between housing rights advocates and the South African government over the appropriate way to safeguard the right to health in the country’s urban informal settlements during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, this article reflects on some of the strengths and weaknesses of the local understanding of human rights. It argues for a holistic understanding of interdependent rights that allows for a reconciliation of seemingly competing concerns, for renewed engagement with rights’ positive and participatory dimensions, and for the cross-fertilisation of concepts and mechanisms associated with their separable jurisprudential development.

Protecting Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Through a Holistic Principle-Based Approach – Kamrul Hossain & Rosa Maria Ballardini

This article examines the legal complexity concerning protection of traditional knowledge (TK) held by Indigenous Peoples. Despite the significance of this knowledge, current legal frameworks fall short of offering a comprehensive protection regime respectful of key ethical principles that are central for Indigenous Peoples. To map the currently available solutions offered for protecting TK rights, this article primarily examines three legal regimes – intellectual property rights (IPR), human rights, and biodiversity – but also looks at some national solutions. It also suggests a principle-based approach to protecting and accessing TK that amalgamates the regime of human rights with the concepts of private property and exclusivity via mainstreaming values.

The Principle of Immediacy Versus the Efficiency of Criminal Proceedings: Do Changes in the Composition of the Trial Panel Violate the Right to a Fair Trial? – Veljko Turanjanin

The author discusses the issue of changes in the composition of the trial panel as an element of the principle of immediacy, and the consequences that such changes have on a fair trial. Special consideration is given to the question of the relationship between the principle of immediacy and the efficiency of criminal proceedings, as one of the postulates of modern legislation. The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly dealt with the question of a change in the composition of the panel, but the question of whether the path it is taking is safe and well-founded remains open.

Book Reviews

Colonialism in Global Perspective, by Kris Manjapra – Thamil Venthan Ananthavinayagan

Human Rights Unbound: A Theory of Extraterritoriality, by Lea Raible – Isabella Risini

Reclaiming Everyday Peace: Local Voices in Measurement and Evaluation after War, by Pamina Firchow Yuliia Mysak

Sexuality & Transsexuality under the European Convention on Human Rights: A Queer Reading of Human Rights Law, by Damien Gonzalez-Salzberg – Juho Aalto

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