5 June 2013 | Seminar Fact Finding in Human Rights Litigation

On June 5th 2013 the Europa Institute of the Leiden University Law School hosts a seminar titled ‘Fact Finding in Human Rights Litigation: Perspectives on Questions of Evidence before the European Court of Human Rights’.


The theme of the seminar is inspired by cases concerning discriminatory violence before the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’ or ‘Court’). One of the classic examples in that regard is the famous Anguelova v. Bulgaria case (ECtHR 13 June 2002, Appl. No. 38361/97). This case concerned a man of Romani descent, who was captured by Bulgarian police officers, yet never came back alive. The mother of the victim was convinced that her son’s death and the lack of a meaningful investigation into that matter have been caused by racist motives on the side of the Bulgarian authorities and, subsequently, filed a complaint before the ECtHR. According to her, her son was not the only Roma in Bulgaria who had died at the hands of the State. The Court eventually rejected the complaint.

Cases like Anguelova raise the intricate and very specific question regarding proof of racist motives in cases before the ECtHR. In a broader context, the theme of discriminatory violence raises questions on the evidentiary system of the Court. What rules of evidence are applied by the ECtHR? What are the meaning and the background of the standard of proof ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that has been applied so frequently in the Court’s judgments? With what tasks and responsibilities are the parties faced when bringing forward evidence before the Court? These and other evidentiary questions in cases before the ECtHR will be discussed during this seminar.

Purpose of the seminar

The purpose of this seminar is to reflect and to comment on the Court’s evidentiary system from different, and perhaps overlapping or rather competing, perspectives. Principally, the Court’s procedures and the applicable law of evidence will be analysed by experts with practical experience in representing both parties, respectively the applicant and the State, before the ECtHR. In addition, views from the Bench and academic appraisals are offered. These matters will be discussed in light of broader questions regarding the nature of the Court’s proceedings. Often, the Court's procedure has been described as inquisitorial, yet is this really accurate and appropriate? Perspectives on the functions and goals of the Court will also inform the analyses. By way of conclusion, some concrete questions of evidence in cases of discriminatory violence are discussed.

This seminar is organised in the context of the Leiden Law School research programme "Interaction between legal systems’.


  • Philip Leach, Professor of Human Rights Law at Middlesex University London School of Law, solicitor and Director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC)

  • Roeland Böcker, Government Agent before the European Court of Human Rights

  • Egbert Myjer, Professor Emeritus of Human Rights at VU University Amsterdam, ICJ Commissioner and Former Judge at the European Court of Human Rights

  • Janneke Gerards, Professor of Fundamental Rights at Radboud University Nijmegen

  • Pinar Ölcer, Assistant Professor of Criminal Law and Criminal Procedure at Leiden Law School

  • Jasmina Mackic, PhD Candidate and Lecturer at the Europa Instituut at Leiden Law School

General information

Date: Wednesday 5 June 2013
Time: 13.30hr – 17.30hr
Location: Sterrewacht – Room C104 (De Sitterzaal), Kaiserstraat 63 2311 GP Leiden

Contact: Jasmina Mačkić, Tel: 0031 (071) 527 5868

Programme and registration


Registration is closed.

Last Modified: 03-06-2013