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What are the requirements of evidencing illegal expulsions at the European Court of Human Rights?

In September 2020, Cyprus started to forcibly return Syrian and Lebanese nationals who arrived by boat to its coast line. As of May 2021, Lebanese General Security has proceeded to systematically detain all individuals who are returned by the Cypriot police – at times proceeding also to deport some of these pushback victims to Syria. The nature of the Cypriot expulsion proceedings, as well as detention conditions in Lebanon make it very difficult for victims of illegal expulsions to prove that they have been pushed back. In view of these developments and potential new litigation cases for this pushback corridor, this dissertation will examine the requirements of evidencing illegal expulsions at the European Court of Human Rights. Questions on which the project may focus include: How can individuals prove they have been expelled? What timeframes apply when the applicant is seeking an emergency measure under Rule 39 of the Court in order to prevent the pushback to take place? How does the Court distribute the burden of proof between the applicant and the state? How willing is the ECtHR to draw evidence from Third Party Interventions? Can we identify trends in ECtHR case law with regards to the kinds of facts that states deny and which thus litigators have to provide evidence for? This project will be supervised by Dr Jill Alpes.


This is the selection process of prof. Marie-Bénédicte Dembour:

Places will be allocated on a first-come first-serve basis.

Students interested in a particular topic are welcomed to contact Prof Dembour by email (mariebene.dembour[@]

  • English


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