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More Women - But Which Women? The Rule and the Politics of Gender Balance at the European Court of Human Rights

Abstract : Building on the heightened attention that the optic of judicial selection receives in the world of international courts, this article focuses its attention on one particular criterion that is gaining in importance in that respect: gender. By choosing the European Court of Human Rights as a case in point, the article provides a unique analysis of the history of the 2004 Resolution of the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly that formulated a rule of gender balance on the list of candidates presented by states for the post of judge at the Court. It first unearths the dynamics that allowed the adoption of the rule as well as all of the fierce opposition it triggered as well as the ways in which counter-mobilization eventually prevailed and watered down the initial rule, with the help of states, the Committee of Ministers and the Court itself (which delivered its first advisory opinion on the topic in 2008). It then looks beyond the static analysis of the rule as a mere constraint and addresses in a more dynamic fashion the multiple interpretations, strategies and, ultimately, politics it opens up. By providing a unique qualitative, comparative and exhaustive analysis of the curriculum vitae of all the 120-odd women who were ever listed as candidates to the Strasbourg judicial bench (1959-2012), the article delivers original data and analyses both the features that women candidates put forth when listed for the job and the strategies of states with regard to the gender criterion. It concludes that while there is a strong proportion of candidates that support the notion that states do not differentiate according to gender or require different qualities from men and women candidates, there is a comparable proposition that contrarily indicates that the world of international judicial appointments is far from gender neutral.
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Submitted on : Monday, November 27, 2017 - 10:08:31 AM
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Stéphanie Hennette-Vauchez. More Women - But Which Women? The Rule and the Politics of Gender Balance at the European Court of Human Rights. European Journal of International Law, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2015, 26 (1), pp.195--221. ⟨10.1093/ejil/chv004⟩. ⟨hal-01648846⟩



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