The Nationalist Challenge to Human Rights Courts: On Resilience and Conflict Management of the ECtHR

International courts find themselves in the center of the current backlash against international law. In most cases, the backlash against international courts manifests itself in severe challenges to the authority of a court in public discourse, through its politicization, and the non-implementation of judgments. Human rights courts as agents of counter-majoritarian interests are particularly prone to nationalist attacks. In extreme cases, this might lead to the complete shutdown of an international court, as in case of the SADC tribunal. However, even the ECtHR has been faced with nationalist criticism since its foundation, and still developed into a powerful tribunal. I will first analyze what made the ECtHR resilient against nationalist attacks, in particular by focusing on its adaptational capacity. Second, I will examine how the ECtHR as part of the Council of Europe deals with current nationalist challenges by focusing on cases involving democratic and autocratic state parties.