Journal Article

Litigating Modern Day Slavery in Regional Courts

Helen Duffy

in Journal of International Criminal Justice

Volume 14, issue 2, pages 375-403
Published in print May 2016 | ISSN: 1478-1387
Published online April 2016 | e-ISSN: 1478-1395 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jicj/mqv079
Litigating Modern Day Slavery in Regional Courts

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Despite the clear and absolute prohibition under international law, modern day slavery remains prevalent, and shrouded in impunity, across the globe. This article explores the role of human rights litigation before regional human rights courts and bodies in responding to this phenomenon, providing a survey of cases adjudicated by the European Court of Human Rights, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the ECOWAS Court and the Inter-American Commission and Court of Human Rights. Given the gravity and scale of the problem, cases to date have been remarkably scarce, reflecting the multiple challenges facing victims and others seeking to give effect to the law. Cases thus far have nonetheless served to expose facts surrounding modern slavery practices and the inadequacies of state protection. They have also contributed to the development of slavery-based jurisprudence, including clarifying the obligations of states in respect of individual criminal accountability. The article anticipates a burgeoning of regional and international litigation in this field in the future as we seek to narrow the gulf that currently exists between some of the oldest and firmly entrenched rules of international law and their implementation in practice.

Journal Article.  14288 words. 

Subjects: Criminal Law ; International Law ; International Criminal Law ; International Humanitarian Law ; Transnational Crime

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