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Abstract

In July 2011, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) issued its judgment in Al-Skeini v. United Kingdom. This case prompted the court to reconsider its conflicting lines of case law on the extraterritorial application of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR). In its decision, the court validated both the “effective control of an area” and “State agent authority” models of analysis, which had until Al-Skeini both been employed by the court at different times to analyze the ECHR’s extraterritorial application. Ultimately, however, the court ruled under an augmented version of the “State agent authority” model—adding a requirement that the state using force exercise some amorphous “public powers” over the extraterritorial area for ECHR Article 1 jurisdiction to attach. As a result, this decision, while greatly anticipated, has posed more questions for international lawyers as to the ECHR’s extraterritorial application than it has answered.