Logo law and pluralism
Logo Università Bicocca

Hassan v. the United Kingdom, No. 29750/09, ECtHR (Grand Chamber), 16 September 2014


Application of the European Convention on Human Rights in the context of an international armed conflict. Lack of a formal derogation under Article 15 ECHR.

Normative references

Art. 15 ECHR
Art. 5 ECHR


Even in situations of international armed conflicts, the safeguards under the European Convention on Human Rights continue to apply, albeit interpreted in harmony with international law and international humanitarian law. As a consequence, Contracting States’ obligations set out under Article 5 ECHR must be accommodated with the provisions of the third and fourth Geneva Conventions, that allow additional powers of detention for security reasons. The exercise of these powers does not require contracting States to lodge a formal derogation under Article 15 ECHR. However, a statement concerning the State’s intention to modify its commitments under the Convention is needed, not being for the Court to assume it.
(The case originated in an application lodged by an Iraqi national, who alleged the unlawful arrest and detention of his brother by British forces during the invasion of Iraq. Among others, the complaint was grounded on the lack of formal derogation under Article 15 ECHR. The Court accepted the Government’s argument that the lack of a formal derogation does not prevent the Court from taking account of the context and the provisions of international humanitarian law when interpreting and applying Article 5 ECHR. On this basis, the Court found no violation of Article 5 ECHR).