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Elena Abrusci

Research Associate

Thesis Title

  • Fragmentation and convergence in Regional and International Human Rights Law

I am a Research Associate with the Rights Lab's monitoring and evaluation project, the Rights Compass. Before joining the Rights Lab, my research focused on the issue of convergence and judicial fragmentation within International Human Rights Law.

The proliferation of regional and international human rights instruments and bodies, the lack of a clear hierarchy among sources and bodies and the wide margin of interpretation left to judicial and quasi-judicial bodies contribute to establish a fertile ground for the arising of contrasting judgments from the adjudicatory bodies, thus determining judicial fragmentation.

The aim of my PhD thesis was to assess the current extent of the phenomenon of judicial fragmentation in the case-law of the three main regional human rights bodies (the European Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the African Court -and Commission- of Human and People's Rights) and of the UN Human Rights Committee. Moreover, through the analysis of previous phenomenon of fragmentation now fully solved, my research attempted to identify the factors and elements that cause judicial fragmentation or, otherwise, judicial convergence. This analysis is not limited to the legal sphere, thus identifying also extra-judicial factors like negotiations and mediation as well as political equilibrium and relations between Courts and States and cultural and social variables.




- "Universality of Human Rights but different judicial protection: the issue of Indigenous Land Rights before Regional Human Rights Courts" paper presented at the LINK16-Postgraduate Research Conference at the University of Nottingham (03/06/2016)

- "Does Judicial Fragmentation Mean Crisis for International Human Rights Law?" paper presented at the Inaugural Postgraduate Conference in International Law and Human Rights "International Law and Human Rights in Crisis?" at the University of Liverpool (14-15/06/2016)

- "Indigenous Property Rights before Regional Human Rights Courts: causes and consequences of Judicial Fragmentation" paper presented at the HRC Postgraduate Human Rights Research Conference at the University of Essex (06/07/2016)

- "A tale of convergence? Sexual orientation issues in the case-law of regional human rights bodies and UN HRC" paper to be presented at the INTRAlaw Human Rights Colloquium "Interaction between human rights: 50 years after the Covenants" organised by the Department of Law of Aarhus University, Denmark (29-30/09/2016)

Public Engagement Activities

PGR Rep for the School of Social Sciences in the UoN Post-Graduate Sounding Board


UoN Vice-Chancellor Scholarship for Research Excellence
Ermenegildo Zegna Founder’s Scholarship

Other Networks