Philip Leach: ECHR and the Right to Life

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Professor Philip Leach is the lead counsel in the ECHR case of Makuchyan and Minasyan v. Hungary and Azerbaijan. He spoke to EVN Report about the May 26 Chamber judgment, which found Azerbaijan in procedural violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case involved the 2012 extradition to Azerbaijan of Ramil Safarov, who murdered Lt. Gurgen Margaryan in Budapest, Hungary in 2004. Safarov received a hero’s welcome in Baku, was granted a presidential pardon, received an apartment, was promoted to Major and received eight years worth of backpay.

Phillip Leach is a professor of Human Rights Law at Middlesex University and the director of the European Human Rights Advocacy Center.

What we talked about:

- The core of the case lodged at the ECHR is about the right to life and what authorities should do after a fatal incident. 

- Right to life requires a proper, effective and timely investigation of an incident; that is often a problem.

- There was a proper investigation in Hungary: the perpetrator was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to life.

- When there are flaws in the case, from investigation to prosecution to conviction to sentence, right through to the implementation of the sentence, the victims can say, in a human rights context, that this does not sufficiently protect their right to life; that is what the Court found in relation to Azerbaijan by releasing Ramil Safarov, instead of requiring him to carry out the sentence.

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