This thesis aims to address the capacity of the diplomatic assurances (DAs) to manage the conflict between fundamental human rights and national security issues on the one hand, and whether the use of DAs may serve as a legal, political, and diplomatic tool towards certain agreed ends on the other hand.
Both the form and content of DAs vary significantly. Although they are the end-product of negotiations held at a bilateral level and an everyday means of inter-State functioning, their legal nature is disputed. Moreover, disagreements over the legal value of assurances and similar communications are not just isolated to academia. Disagreements occur there, but disagreements also play out between States on a case-by-case basis. Whether DAs are empty promises or legally binding bilateral agreements, or whether DAs remain political declarations without any legal effect and direct legal consequence, their nature may qualitatively change the situation of the individual in question. In the wake of the public debate regarding the involvement of several European countries in the so-called CIA rendition programmes, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has cultivated a framework for considering assurances on a case-by-case basis as it regards DAs as part of the “matrix” that it must consider in evaluating the claimed violation of the Convention.