Publications

Yildiz, Ezgi (forthcoming), “A Court with Many Faces: Judicial Characters and Modes of Norm Development in the European Court” European Journal of International Law (Read here)

It is well established in the literature that international courts make law. Yet, there is no systematic analysis of how adjudication refashions the trajectory that a norm could take. This article addresses this gap by combining legal analysis with social science methods. It takes a closer look at the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) and provides a framework for understanding how court rulings develop norms – i.e. adjustment of norms’ content or scope. The framework is composed of a typology of court characters (arbitrator, entrepreneur, and delineator) and the distinct modes of norm development that each character typically generates (incremental/inconspicuous, pronounced, and peripheral development).

Yildiz, Ezgi (forthcoming), “Enduring Practices in Changing Circumstances: A Comparison of the European Court of Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights” Temple International and Comparative Law Journal (Read here)

What explains the difference between court practices? This article attempts to address this question by looking at the relation between legal cultures and practices through the lenses of practice theory. In particular, it focuses on public hearings as distinct courtroom practices at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR). I examine the inclusiveness of their public hearings, assessing the extent to which victims and civil society groups may actively participate in the hearings.

Yildiz, Ezgi (forthcoming ) “Understanding the Interpretative Evolution of the Norm Prohibiting Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment under the European Convention,” in Language and Legal Interpretation in International Law, eds. Anne Lise Kjær and Joanna Jemielniak (Oxford University Press)

Explains the changes in the understanding of the norm against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment. Although this norm embodies a core right that is well-settled under international law, its contents have evolved over time. Traces its evolution taking the European human rights system as a reference point.

Yildiz, Ezgi  (2019) “Extraterritoriality Reconsidered: Functional Boundaries as Repositories of Sovereignty and Jurisdiction,” in The Extraterritoriality of Law: History, Theory, Politics, eds. Daniel S. Margolies, Umut Özsu, Maïa Pal and Ntina Tzouvala (Routledge)

Explores how the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has approached extraterritorially-committed violations of human rights. Traditionally, the ECtHR has been wary of extending the application of the European Convention of Human Rights beyond the territories of European countries. Examines the varyingly strict criteria that the ECtHR devised for ensuring accountability for human rights violations perpetrated beyond the territorial boundaries of European states

Yildiz, Ezgi  (2016) “Norm in Flux: The Development of the Norm Against Torture under the European Convention from a Macro Perspective,” iCourts Working Paper Series No. 45

Gives an account on how the European Court of Human Rights’ jurisprudence has transformed the norm’s nature and scope. Analyzes the preparatory works and conducts large-scale content analysis on the relevant case law for the period between 1948 and 2006.

Yildiz, Ezgi  (2015) “Judicial Creativity in the Making: The Pilot Judgment Procedure a Decade After Its Inception,” Interdisciplinary Journal of Human Rights Law 8(1): 81-102 (Read here)

Investigates the procedure’s creation through the prism of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties. Analyzes its subsequent institutionalization and application in the case law. Illustrates the structural changes generated by the procedure, and examines the reasons undermining the effectiveness of its operation.

Yildiz, Ezgi (2014) Review of the European Court of Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era: Universality in Transition by James Sweeney (Routledge, 2013), Swiss Political Science Review, 20(1): 179-181.

Reviews James Sweeney’s book, the European Court of Human Rights in the Post-Cold War Era: Universality in Transition.

Yildiz, Ezgi  Between Forbearance and Audacity: The European Court Refashioning the Norm against Torture (In preparation)

International courts are one of the usual suspects of change in the international legal order. We know that international courts shape existing norms with a view to meet changing times and societal needs. Yet, is this transformation always progressive? What are the conditions under which international courts may effectuate progressive legal change? This book addresses these questions by looking at the way the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) has refashioned the norm against torture and inhuman or degrading treatment under Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights (the Convention).

I explain norm change at two levels. First, on the micro level, I review how the Court delivers justice to victims who are seeking protection under the prohibition of torture. Second, on the macro level, I analyze how such transformative decisions have changed what it means to torture someone or to subject them to inhuman or degrading treatment. More specifically, I unveil the change process that the norm against torture went through within the European human rights regime by focusing these key questions: what changed about the norm, how and why did the change unfold, and what are its implications?

In order to show what changed about the norm, I take the definition provided in the European Convention as the baseline. Then, I systematically analyze the Court’s case law on Article 3 to trace how the norm’s reach has extended to issues that are not traditionally associated with Article 3. I study this phenomenon by combining social science methods and legal analysis. I carry out a systematic analysis of all Article 3 judgement for the period between 1967 and 2016, which amounts to 2,414 judgments. I support this analysis with 36 semi-interviews I carried out in and around the Court in 2014. I have spoken to current and former judges, officials from the Court registry as well as activists and lawyers affiliated with civil society groups in Strasbourg, France; Geneva, Switzerland; London and Essex, the United Kingdom, and via Skype. The interviews have revealed not only how the Court functions but also what motivates it to refashion norms in a progressive manner – and what motivates it not to.