Document Type : Article


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Law, Damghan University, Damghan, Iran

2 Associate Professor of Public Law, Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran

3 Ph. D. Student in Criminal Law and Criminology, Department of Criminal Law and Criminology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


The European Court of Human Rights in several sentences has compared life imprisonment with Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights about prohibition of torture; the judges with the passage of time has gone from a conservative point of view to a progressive point of view and they have considered life imprisonment in opposition to the principles about prohibition of torture, inhuman and degrading treatments. In this research, with a descriptive and deductive analysis, we will understand that European Court criteria for not interpreting life imprisonment under Article 3 of European Convention on Human Rights are: the relationship of proportionality between crime and penalty, the provision not only in the rules and norms but also in the practice of the release of the prisoner in the future, the license to leave prison on parole also for those convicted for crimes related to public security and the ban of extradition to third countries that do not respect the parameters set by the European Court. This point of views if without doubt increase the safeguard of human rights of life imprisonment’s convicted, on the other hand can be a problem for the defense of public order in Convention’s Member States.




    1. A) Books
    2. Buyse, A., & Hamilton, M. (2011). Transnational Jurisprudence and the ECHR: Justice, Politics and Rights. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    3. Christoffersen, J. & Rask Madsen, M. (2011). The European Court of Human Rights between Law and Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
    4. De Weck, F. (2017). Non-Refoulement Under the European Convention on Human Rights and the UN Convention Against Torture. Leiden, Brill.
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    6. Public International Law and Policy Group NL (Report) (2016). The Legality of Life Imprisonment: Comparative Analysis of International, European and Dutch Law. Prepared by the Public International Law & Policy Group.
    7. Van Zyl Smit, D. (2013). Punishment and Human Rights, SAGE Handbook of Punishment and Society. edited by: Jonathan Simon and Richard Sparks, First Published.
    8. Van Zyl Smit, D., & Appleton, C. (2018). Life imprisonment: A policy briefing, Penal Reform International. University of Nottingham, Nottingham.
    9. Van Zyl Smit, D., & Appleton, C. (2016). Life Imprisonment and Human Rights. Oñati International Series in Law and Society, Bloomsbury UK.
    10. Viven Stern, B. (2007). Alternatives to the death penalty: the problems with life imprisonment, speech to the Second World Congress against the Death Penalty. Montreal, 6 October 2004, published by Penal Reform Briefing, No 1.


    1. B) Articles
    2. Campaign to End Life Imprisonment (2018). The Facts of Life Sentences,, 1-4.
    3. Gumboh, Esther (2017). A Critical Analysis of Life Imprisonment in Malaw. Journal of African Law, 61( 3), 443 – 466.
    4. Stone Sweet, A. (2012). The European Convention on Human Rights and National Constitutional Reordering. Cardozo Law Review, 33(5), 1859-1868.


    1. C) Cases
    2. Ireland v. United Kingdom, 18-1-1978, n. 5310-71.
    3. Kafkaris v. Cyprus, 12-2-2008 (A), n. 21906-04.
    4. Kudla v. Poland, 26-10-2000, n. 30210-96.
    5. Mayeka and Mitunga v. Belgium, 12-10-1989, n. 13178-03.
    6. Öcalan v. Turkey, 18-3-2014 (A), n. 10464-07.
    7. Saadi v. Italy, 28-2-2008 (B), n. 37201-06.
    8. Selmouni v. France, 28-7-1999, n. 25803-94.
    9. Streicher v. Germany, 10-2-2009, n. 40384-04.
    10. Törköly v. Hungary, 5-4-2011, n. 4413-06.
    11. Trabelsi v. Belgium, 7-10-2014 (B), n. 140-10.
    12. Vinter and Others v. United Kingdom, 17-1-2012, n. 66069-09.
    13. Vinter and Others v. United Kingdom, Grand Chamber, 9-7-2013, n. 3869-10.
    14. Viola v. Italy, 13-6-2019, n. 77633-16.



    1. A) Libri
    2. Fungardi, S. (2014). Fine pena mai. Il cosiddetto ergastolo ostativo tra diritto interno e giurisprudenza della Cedu. Università di Milano, Tesi di Laurea Magistrale in Giurisprudenza.
    3. Martino, P. (2014). I giudici di common law e la (cross) fertilization. Rimini, Maggioli.
    4. Mezzetti, Luca & Pizzolo, Calogero (2013). Diritto processuale dei diritti umani.Rimini, Maggioli.
    5. B) Articoli
    6. Lobba, P. (2017). Punire la tortura in Italia. Spunti ricostruttivi a cavallo tra diritti umani e diritto penale internazionale. Diritto penale contemporaneo, 10, 181-250
    7. Ranalli, D. (2015). L’ergastolo nella giurisprudenza della Corte europea dei diritti dell’uomo. Rassegna penitenziaria e criminologica, 1, 289-315.
    8. Scotti, V. R. (2015). Fra overruling e conferme giurisprudenziali. La Corte di Strasburgo e il caso Öcalan c. Turchia. Diritto pubblico comparato ed europeo, 3, 239-248.
    9. Zagato, L. (2006). L’eccezione per motivi di emergenza nel diritto internazionale dei diritti umani. DEP, 5-6, 137-156.


    References In Persian:

    1. A) Articles
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    3. Jafari, A. (2008). HIV and Human Rights in the Rules of HCHR. Medical Law Journal, 2(4), 107-127 (In Persian).
    4. Jalali, A. (2022). The Interpretation of the Expulsion of Foreigners in the Framework of the Prohibition of Torture in the Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. Public Law Studies Quarterly, 51(4), 1603-1621 (In Persian).
    5. Jalali, M., & Soodbar, S.(2020). The Impact of European Court of Human Rights on National Legal Order. Comparative Law Review, 11, (1), 59-79 (In Persian).
    6. Razavifard, B. (2012). Efficiency and non-Efficiency of Imprisonment in International Criminal Law. Research Journal of Criminal Law, 1(1), 181-203 (In Persian).
    7. Zamani, S., & Nesari, E. (2012). Problems About Life Imprisonment in the light of International Penal Law. Journal of Teachings of Criminal Law, 3(1), 79-100 (In Persian)