Chapter 9: Rethinking effectiveness: authoritarianism, state violence and the limits of the European Court of Human Rights
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What are the possibilities and limitations of effective supranational adjudication of authoritarian regimes engaged in violence against minorities in the name of counter-terrorism? This chapter addresses this question by taking the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) engagement in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict as a case study. Through a historically grounded account, it shows that the ECtHR’s ineffectiveness vis-à-vis Turkey is not only a compliance problem, as depicted in conventional scholarship. Rather, it also owes to the ECtHR’s reluctance to make full use of its adjudicatory powers in its judicial oversight and the Council of Europe member states’ failure to activate the available political enforcement and sanctioning mechanisms against Turkey. The chapter calls for a differentiated approach, in scholarship and in the practice of human rights courts, vis-à-vis authoritarian regimes engaged in gross violations against minorities.

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