The European Court of Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era:
Universality in Transition examines transitional justice from the
perspective of its impact on the universality of human rights,
taking the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights as
its detailed case study. The problem is twofold: there are
questions about differences in human rights standards between
transitional and non-transitional situations, and about differences
The European Court has been a vital part of European democratic
consolidation and integration for over half a century, setting
meaningful standards and offering legal remedies to the
individually repressed, the politically vulnerable, and the
socially excluded. After their emancipation from Soviet influence
in the 1990s, and with membership of the European Union in mind for
many, the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe flocked to
the Convention system. The voluminous jurisprudence of the European
Court of Human Rights can now give us some clear information about
how an international human rights law regime can interact with
transitional justice. The jurisprudence is divided between those
cases concerning the human rights implications of explicitly
transitional policies (such as lustration), and those that involve
impacts upon specific democratic rights during the transition. The
book presents a close examination of claims by states that
transitional policies and priorities require a level of deference
from the Strasbourg institutions. The book proposes that states
claims for leeway from international human rights supervisory
mechanisms during times of transition can be characterised not as
arguments for "cultural" relativism, but for transitional
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