Vulnerability-based coercive obligations as an impetus for more victim-oriented perspectives

The European Court of Human Rights relies on the concept of vulnerability to provide special protection to certain persons and groups under various provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, including the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment in its Article 3. This presentation will interrogate the premise that vulnerability-based reasoning not only provokes a shift in perspective when it comes to coercive obligations, emphasizing the rights of victims, but that it creates a certain minimum content of protection that must be provided under domestic law. It will explore the Court’s use of vulnerability in formulating coercive obligations, along with whether the result of this process can be considered synonymous with a victim-oriented perspective, and evaluate how this affects States’ discretion with respect to the decision to enact and apply domestic criminal-law provisions in particular contexts.