Grand Chamber to hear oral arguments in Hanan v Germany

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights will today hear oral arguments in the case of Hanan v. Germany.

The case concerns an investigation into a NATO airstrike in the Kunduz region in Afghanistan in September 2009. Mr. Hanan’s sons, aged 12 and 8, as well as other civilians, were killed in the bombing raids, which had been ordered by a member of the German armed forces operating in the region.

After the 2009 airstrike and the resulting casualties, Germany conducted an investigation into the death of Mr. Hanan’s children. Mr. Hanan has submitted that the investigation was in breach of Article 2 of the European Convention (the right to life) and that Germany also breached its Article 13 obligations regarding the right to effective remedies. The case will also provide the Strasbourg Court with an important opportunity to revisit its jurisprudence on jurisdiction and attribution. The Grand Chamber has agreed to hear the case as a matter of exceptional importance.

The Governments of Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as the Human Rights Centre of the University of Essex, the Open Society Justice Initiative, the Institute of International Studies of the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore di Milano and Rights Watch UK were given leave to intervene in the procedure before the Court, in accordance with Rule 44 § 3 (a) of the Rules of Court.

Can Yeginsu and Anthony Jones are being led by Sam Wordsworth QC  for Rights Watch UK in its third-party oral intervention in the case. Rights Watch has also lodged written submissions in the case, available here.

Rightswatch UK has focussed its submissions on three areas:

  1. Jurisdiction: The extent of the State’s jurisdiction in respect of its human rights obligations regarding the targeted use of force outside its territory;
  2. The duty to investigate: The nature and scope of a State’s duty to investigate violations of the right to life; and
  3. The duty to provide effective remedies: The nature and scope of a State’s duty to provide effective remedies for rights violations, including the existence of a right to truth and its impact on the adequacy of remedies for rights violations.

The hearing will be webcast from 8.15 am (GMT) and available to watch here from 1:30 pm (GMT).