Limits of Supranational Justice: The European Court of Human Rights and Turkey’s Kurdish Conflict

The Promise Institute for Human Rights joins author, Dilek Kurban, for a book talk on Limits of Supranational Justice: The European Court of Human Rights and Turkey’s Kurdish Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

With its contextualized analysis of the European Court of Human Rights’ (ECtHR) engagement in Turkey’s Kurdish conflict since the early 1990s, Limits of Supranational Justice makes a much-needed contribution to scholarships on supranational courts and legal mobilization. Based on a socio-legal account of the efforts of Kurdish lawyers in mobilizing the ECtHR on behalf of abducted, executed, tortured and displaced civilians under emergency rule, and a doctrinal legal analysis of the ECtHR’s jurisprudence in these cases, this book powerfully demonstrates the Strasbourg court’s failure to end gross violations in the Kurdish region. It brings together legal, political, sociological and historical narratives, and highlights the factors enabling the perpetuation of state violence and political repression against the Kurds. The effectiveness of supranational courts can best be assessed in hard cases such as Turkey, and this book demonstrates the need for a reappraisal of current academic and jurisprudential approaches to authoritarian regimes.

Discussants:

Michiel Pestman, Lecturer at UCLA Law and Partner at Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers

Aslı Ü. Bâli, Professor and Faculty Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law

Moderated by Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA Law

About the Author:

Dilek Kurban is a Fellow and Lecturer at the Hertie School in Berlin. She obtained her PhD from Maastricht University Faculty of Law in 2018. Her dissertation received the Erasmus Dissertation Prize 2019 in the Netherlands. She also holds a Juris Doctor (JD) from Columbia Law School and a Master in International Affairs (MIA) from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University. Her research interests include supranational human rights courts, state violence, legal mobilization and judicial politics, with a particular focus on authoritarian regimes and a regional focus on Turkey. She is the author of Limits of Supranational Justice: The European Court of Human Rights and Turkey’s Kurdish Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2020). Kurban’s research is also published in edited volumes and in peer-reviewed journals, including Human Rights Law Review and Columbia Human Rights Law Review. Her research received funding from Columbia University, the European Commission (the Marie Curie and FP programs) and Mercator Stiftung. During 2012-2019, as the Turkey expert of the Network of Independent Experts in the Non-Discrimination Field, she reported to the European Commission. Before transitioning to academia, during 2005-2013, she engaged in policy-oriented research at the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), most recently as the Director of its Democratization Program. During the same period, she wrote regular columns in Turkey’s leading newspapers and frequently appeared on international media to discuss her research and to comment on human rights and democratization in Turkey. Earlier in her career, Kurban worked as an Associate Political Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs in New York.

Co-sponsored by the UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies and UCLA Law International & Comparative Law Program

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