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Koen Lemmens

Koen Lemmens
Human Rights
Tiensestraat 45 - box 3441
3000 Leuven
Belgium

tel: +32 16 32 54 34
contact

Biography

Prof. Dr. Koen Lemmens (born 1976) studied law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He obtained his law degree ("Licentiaat in de Rechten") in 1999 (magna cum laude). In 2003, he obtained his PhD at the European University Institute (Florence, Italy) with a thesis on "La presse et la protection juridique de l'individu: attention aux chiens de garde! Pour un exercice responsable de la liberté de presse à l'aune de la Convention européenne des droits de l'homme et de la Constitution belge". Koen Lemmens began his academic career teaching an introductory course on comparative law (2004-2011) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where he also taught legal theory (2008-2011) and comparative constitutional law (2007-2012). He also taught at the University of Antwerp (2008-2012).

Currently, Koen Lemmens is a professor of human rights law at K.U.Leuven and teaches press law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. He is also teaching in the E.Ma-programme in Venice, Italy.

He is an attorney at the Brussels bar, specialized in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights and the Belgian Constitutional Court. Koen Lemmens is also a member of the scientific committee of several legal journals.

Areas of specialization

  • Human Rights
  • (Comparative) Constitutional Law
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Religion/State relation
  • Law and Literature

Publications

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  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2018. Irreligious Cartoons and Freedom of Expression: A Critical Reassessment. Human Rights Law Review; 2018; Vol. 18; iss. 1; pp. 89 - 109
    LIRIAS1839725
    description
    © The Author(s) [2018]. In a recent article, Neville Cox argued that there is no right under international human rights law to publish 'irreligious' cartoons. Secondly, he questioned the very idea of such a right. Finally, he argued that, given the fact that there is no international right to publish irreligious cartoons and that the message spread by the cartoons was akin to hate speech, the 'real' reason for the international solidarity with Charlie Hebdo may have been 'Islamophobia'. In this article, I will argue that Cox may be right in holding that there is no international right to 'irreligious speech', but I will question his reasoning. Secondly, I will argue that, under robust free speech theory, arguments in favour of suppressing anti-religious speech are highly questionable. Finally, and irrespective of the two previous points, I will argue that Cox's conclusion is mere speculation, and there are no compelling arguments for adhering to it.
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Published
  • presentation
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. De ontwikkeling van internationale mensenrechten.
    LIRIAS1839742
    description


    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Noot. European Human Rights Cases; 2017; Vol. 18; iss. 10; pp. 566 - 569
    LIRIAS1839747
    description

    Publisher: Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten
    Published
  • media
    Vrielink, Jogchum; Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Verbod op jihad-propaganda is even nuttig als chocoladen theepot. De Morgen; 2017; iss. 27; pp. 27 - 27 Publisher: De Persgroep Publishing
    LIRIAS1839718
    description


    Published
  • media
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Hoofddoek bij politie: 'Religieuze symbolen zijn ook aan anderen gericht' (op website). Knack Magazine; 2017 Publisher: Vlaamse Tijdschriften Uitgeverij
    LIRIAS1839721
    description


    Published
  • media
    Vrielink, Jogchum; Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Las Vegas is Lourdes niet. De Morgen; 2017; pp. 38 - 40 Publisher: De Persgroep Publishing
    LIRIAS1839723
    description


    Published
  • presentation
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Recht en literatuur: voor juristen met tunnelvisie.
    LIRIAS1839736
    description


    Published
  • presentation
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Vrijheid meningsuiting politici.
    LIRIAS1839735
    description


    Published
  • presentation
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Paradox vrijheid van meningsuiting.
    LIRIAS1839734
    description


    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. The dark side of ‘Zwarte Piet’: A misunderstood tradition or racism in disguise? A legal analysis. The International Journal of Human Rights; 2017; Vol. 21; iss. 2; pp. 120 - 141
    LIRIAS640649
    description
    © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. There is a passionate debate going on in the Netherlands and Flanders on the figure of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). Zwarte Piet is a character that is part of the tradition of ‘Sinterklaas’1: Piet is the black valet of Sinterklaas. Because of the stereotyped depiction of Sinterklaas’ companion (black face, thick rouged lips, curly hair, golden earrings, pageboy dress) it is argued that Zwarte Piet is a form of racism. Activists advocate, therefore, that Zwarte Piet be abolished or that he lose at least his characteristic features, associated with colonialism and slavery. In this article I will argue that understanding the Sinterklaas tradition is very complicated. There is no consensus on the appearance and the origins of Zwarte Piet, the tradition has changed over time and there seems to be (minor) geographical differences between the various European regions (in this article, the focus is on the Netherlands and Flanders). As a consequence, multiple readings and interpretations of the Zwarte Piet figure are possible. Both the opponents of Zwarte Piet and his defenders have good arguments to back their interpretation of the tradition. Under these circumstances, it is not for the law to decide which interpretation should prevail: in dubio, pro libertate. A solution can only be found through societal debate.
    Publisher: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd
    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Noot. European Human Rights Cases; 2017; iss. 3; pp. 172 - 175
    LIRIAS1839724
    description

    Publisher: Nederlands Juristen Comité voor de Mensenrechten
    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2017. Is vrijheidsbeneming gemakkelijk staand te houden?. Vigiles: Tijdschrift voor Politierecht; 2017; Vol. 2016; iss. 5; pp. 218 - 222
    LIRIAS1839681
    description

    Publisher: Politeia
    Published
  • bookreview
    Lemmens, Koen; 2016. Nihil novi sub sole. The not so special protection of fundamental rights in Europe (Book review). European Constitutional Law Review; 2016; Vol. 12; iss. 3; pp. 564 - 568
    LIRIAS1839705
    description


    Published
  • bookreview
    Lemmens, Koen; 2016. Fundamental Rights in Europe. Challenges and Transformations in Comparative Perspective. European Constitutional Law Review; 2016; Vol. 12; iss. 3; pp. 564 - 568 Publisher: Cambridge University Press (CUP)
    LIRIAS640660
    description


    Published
  • media
    Lemmens, Koen; 2016. Zwarte Piet: je weet niet wat je ziet. De Standaard; 2016; iss. 15; pp. 40 - 40
    LIRIAS1839704
    description


    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2016. Je suis anonyme. Qui est reponsable de mes dires?. Revue du Droit des Technologies de l'Information; 2016; iss. 61; pp. 127 - 138
    LIRIAS1839706
    description


    Published
  • media
    Geenens, Raf; Lemmens, Koen; Rummens, Stefan; Sottiaux, Stefan; 2016. Walen blokkeren continent? Naast de kwestie. De Standaard; 2016; iss. 21; pp. 42 - 43
    LIRIAS1838344
    description


    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2016. Liegen, moraal en recht: een verrassend complexe driehoeksverhouding. Karakter: Tijdschrift van Wetenschap; 2016; Vol. 55; pp. 9 - 11
    LIRIAS1839684
    description

    Publisher: Academische Stichting Leuven
    Published
  • journal-article
    Lemmens, Koen; 2016. Noot: Strafvermindering als compensatie voor privacyinbreuk. Tijdschrift voor Jeugd en Kinderrechten; 2016; iss. 2; pp. 188 - 193
    LIRIAS1839686
    description

    Publisher: De Boeck & Larcier
    Published
  • Valcke, Peggy; Lemmens, Koen; Ombelet, Pieter-Jan; Wetzels, Daan; Daerden, Christophe; Kimpe, Nathalie; Poelmans, Kristien; Van Sande, Paulien; Arrazola de Onate, Maxim; Wauters, Evelien; 2016. Final Report of the ELSA International Legal Research Group on Freedom of Expression – Protection of Journalistic Sources. Publisher: ELSA & Council of Europe; https://legalresearch.elsa.org/foe/
    LIRIAS1712005
    description
    The topic of new LRG is Protection of Journalistic Sources.There have been a large number of cases in which public authorities in Europe have forced, or attempted to force, journalists to disclose their sources. The European Court of Human Rights has reiterated that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights safeguards not only the substance and contents of information and ideas, but also the means of transmitting it. The press has been accorded the broadest scope of protection in the Court’s case law, including with regard to confidentiality of journalistic sources. “Protection of journalistic sources is one of the basic conditions for press freedom. … Without such protection, sources may be deterred from assisting the press in informing the public on matters of public interest. As a result the vital public-watchdog role of the press may be undermined, and the ability of the press to provide accurate and reliable information be adversely affected. … [A]n order of source disclosure … cannot be compatible with Article 10 of the Convention unless it is justified by an overriding requirement in the public interest.” (Goodwin v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 27 March 1996, § 39). The Council of Europe has found that violations are more frequent in member states without clear legislation. Moreover, in cases of investigative journalism, the protection of sources is of even greater importance. To shed light on this issue, ELSA has partnered with the Media and Internet Division of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law in the Council of Europe to understand how journalistic sources are being protected in each Member-State.

    Published