22 June: Expert meeting about the case of Kononov v. Latvia

The Kononov case concerns war veteran Vasily Kononov. After World War II he was highly decorated by the Soviet Union for his role in the fight against Nazi Germany. However, in the 1990s – after Latvia had regained its independence – Mr. Kononov was prosecuted for war crimes. As the first of a series of 'ILS seminars', this expert meeting focused to the recent judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Kononov v. Latvia.

Mr. Kononov, who was eventually convicted by the Latvian courts, claimed a breach of the legality principle and filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights. In 2008 a Chamber of the Court found in his favor – albeit with 4 votes to 3 – a violation of Article 7 ECHR. On 17 May 2010, however, the Grand Chamber reversed that ruling and found that no breach of Article 7 had occurred. This judgment led to fierce reactions at the political level (see the attachment); at the same time it gives rise to various highly interesting legal questions. From the perspective of our research programme Interaction between legal systems (ILS), attention has gone to the interplay between human rights law and international criminal law.

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13:30 Welcome of participants; tea
14:00 Opening and introduction the seminar - prof. R.A. Lawson (prof. European Human Rights Law, Leiden)
14:10 Reflections on the Kononov case: historical and political perspectives - prof. F. Feldbrugge (prof.em. Russian Law, Leiden)
14:35 The Kononov decision and the Radbruch Formula - prof. Th. Mertens (prof. Legal Philosophy, Leiden/Nijmegen)
15:00 Discussion
15:30 Tea break
15:50 The legality principle and the prosecution of war crimes - judge A. Orie (ICTY)
16:10 The application of international criminal law by human rights courts - dr L.J. van den Herik (ass.prof. Public International Law, Leiden)
16:30 Discussion
17:00 Closing of the seminar, followed by a reception

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Date and location

The seminar took place on Tuesday 22 June 2010, in the Faculteitskamer Rechtsgeleerdheid, Academiegebouw, Rapenburg 73, Leiden.


Last Modified: 26-10-2010