The construction of trust through the recognition of truth in the ECtHR jurisprudence

The knowledge of historical truth is closely related to the development of confidence in institutions of modern States and to the strengthening of the rule of law. Truth-seeking can foster trust by officially recognizing the suffering of the victims, restoring their dignity and preserving their memory. An institutionalized effort to establish the truth is a concrete attempt to understand long-term patterns of oppression and initiate a new political project around truly shared values. In this process, international Courts play a crucial role: they can disclose to victims and communities at least fragments of truth about the circumstances of crimes or massive human rights violations; legally, they have catalysed the recognition of the right to truth. The paper will be divided into two parts. The first one will explore the foundations of the right to truth; the second one will deepen the nexus between the right to truth and the trust in public institutions in the case-law of the ECtHR.

ECHR’s jurisprudence and equal treatment of religious denominations

Although it is undisputed that freedom of religion is one of the foundations of a democratic society, the ECHR’s jurisprudence shows that the concrete enjoyment of this right by the religious minorities is often critical. In many Countries, the religious denominations are required to be preventively recognized by the administrative Authorities in order to have access to specific regulations. Sometimes, these groups need also to subscribe an agreement with such Authorities, which entitles them to enjoy various privileges. For these reasons, it is clear that any discriminatory treatments performed by the Administration are suitable to affect the minority groups’ religious freedom. This could eventually lead to a lack of trust in public Institutions. Inside this framework, the Strasbourg Court might play a crucial role, assessing whether any disparities of treatment are objectively and reasonably justified, on the base of neutral and impartial criteria.

The role of the ECtHR in building trust of minorities in democratic institutions: the right to education

In an increasingly composite and varied society, when ethnic, religious and cultural minorities are led to trust in national institutions, important objectives such as integration and peaceful coexistence of people can be achieved. The paper aims to analyze the role of the ECtHR in building trust of minorities in national institutions, with specific reference to the right to education. It will particularly focus on the negative and positive declinations of such a right, on the one hand as the right to non-interference by public institutions in the educational choices of parents and, on the other, as the right of access to education, in order to outline the extent of the positive obligations that it entails for the States, in relation to students of different nationalities or belonging to ethnic and religious minorities.

In courts we (still) trust? Constitutional tribunals and the ECtHR in a time of crises

The role traditionally recognized to constitutional courts as counter-majoritarian institutions becomes all the more crucial in contemporary pluralistic societies. However, citizens’ trust in judicial independence and impartiality is fundamentally challenged nowadays in those national legal orders undergoing constitutional and political crises. Over the last few years, a new wave of authoritarianism has resulted in an increasing erosion of the division of powers and the rule of law in countries like Turkey in the context of the Council of Europe. In this regard, several questions arise: what are the implications of such authoritative reforms for public (dis)trust in constitutional courts? How does the European Court of Human Rights address these phenomena at a supranational level? To what extent may the ECtHR’s case law, when dealing with such transitional frameworks, contribute to the enhancement of trust through the promotion of pluralism and the judicial protection of minorities?

Who’s afraid of pluralism? The new challenges of the European Border Regime in the ECtHR case-law

Vis-à-vis the progressive ‘permeability’ of European borders mining the unity of public powers as well as national sovereignty, the imperative of ‘re-territorialization’ invoked by national States highlights the attempt to restore the deteriorated relationship of mutual trust and reliance between domestic authorities and citizens. Such security-sensitive approach is thus applied so as to justify the adoption of extra-ordinary means and operations, in primis the construction of border fences, even at the cost of limiting or annihilating democracy-core value of pluralism and fundamental freedoms. This paper aims at analysing this thorny issue in the light of the most recent ECtHR’s case-law. More specifically, it intends to shed some light on the delicate role played in this field by the judges of Strasbourg, bound by their proclaimed mission to safeguard the individual’s fundamental rights, without nevertheless losing legitimacy before national authorities.