• B. V. Ostrovska V. M. Koretsky Institute of State and Law


The legal and bioethical problem of legalizing involuntary passive euthanasia as a practice of ending a person’s life, which in particular is in a minimal conscious state and with disabilities, on the example of the case Lambert and Others v. France of the European Court of Human Rights, is explored in this article. Due to the differences between the national legislation of the states on the regulation of euthanasia and given the lack of the international consensus on this issue, as well as the unified position of the judges on the legality of its application in the context of protecting the right to life on the basis of Art. 2 and 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950, the need to ensure adequate medical care and treatment guaranteed by the state in order to maintain/prolong a person’s life (first of all, artificial hydration and nutrition, mechanical ventilation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, blood transfusions, dialysis, etc.), and subsequent rehabilitation, as well as palliative care as an alternative to euthanasia, is emphasized. Mandatory compliance with the principle of prohibition of discrimination against person based on health status is stressed. The consequences of using involuntary passive euthanasia, including the need to bring to legal liability, are analyzed.
Keywords: involuntary passive euthanasia, "decent" death, right to life, European Court of Human Rights, discrimination.

1. About the ECLJ (n.d.) <>
2. Case of Lambert and others v. France (2015) 5 June 2015, Appl. No. 46043/14. <>
3. Case of Pretty v. the United Kingdom (2002) 29 April 2002, Appl. No. 2346/02. <>
4. Clarke R. (2017) The "Conscience of Europe?": Navigating Shifting Tides at the European Court of Human Rights. Kindle Edition. <>
5. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol (2006) adopted by the General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/106 on 13 December 2006, opened for signature on 30 March 2007. <>
6. Dr. John and Barbara Willke (2003) Why Can’t We Love Them Both? Questions and Answers About Abortion. Hayes Publishing Co. 2nd edition.
7. Examen des rapports soumis par les États parties conformément à l’article 35 de la Convention (2011) Observations finales du Comité des droits des personnes handicapées. Espagne. CRPD/C/ESP/CO/1. 19 Octobre 2011.
8. General Comment No. 12 The right to adequate food (Art.11 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) (1999) adopted by the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its twentieth session on 12 May 1999. <>
9. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) adopted by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976. <>
10. Joint partly dissenting opinion of judges Hajiyev, Šikuta, Tsotsoria, De Gaetano and Gritco (2015) <{%22itemid%22:[%22001-155352%22]}>
11. L’appel de 70 médecins: «Il est manifeste que Vincent Lambert n’est pas en fin de vie» (2018) Figarо. 18 avril 2018. <>
12. Loi № 2005-370 du 22 avril 2005 relative aux droits des malades et à la fin de vie (2005) <>
Actual problems of international relations. Release 141. 2019
13. Myjer Е. The Conscience of Europe: 50 Years of the European Court of Human Rights (2010) Strasbourg: Council of Europe; London: Third Millennium Publishing, 2010. <>
14. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) adopted on 13 December 2006, entered into force on 3 May 2008. [<>
15. Puppinck G. (n.d.) About the ECHR: full interview with Boštjan M. Zupančič. <>
16. Puppinck G. (2019) Affaire Vincent Lambert: après la décision de l’ONU, l’État français au pied du mur, Valeurs actuelles. 7 mai 2019. <>
17. Puppinck G. (2019) Par-delà la mort, l’affaire Vincent Lambert continue, Valeurs actuelles. Jeudi, 8 Decembre 2019 <>
18. Recommendation 1418 (1999) Protection of the human rights and dignity of the terminally ill and the dying (1999) adopted by the Assembly on 25 June 1999 (24th Sitting). <>
19. The U.N. demands France not to euthanize Vincent Lambert (n.d.) <>
20. Vincent Lambert: his mother’s moving testimony at the UN in Geneva (n.d.) <>
21. Vincent Lambert: ouverture d’une enquête en recherche des causes de la mort (n.d.) <>
22. Vincent Lambert: request for interim measures rejected (2019) Press Release issued by the Registrar of the Court. European Court of Human Rights. ECHR 180 (2019).
23. Viviane Lambert: At the Human Rights Council for her son Vincent (n.d.) <>
24. Withdrawal of Vincent Lambert’s treatment: Court denies request for suspension (2019) Press Release issued by the Registrar of the Court. European Court of Human Rights. ECHR 161 (2019).
25. Медведєв В. (2019) "Людина та її мозок: чи доречна тотожність на облямівці життя?" [A man and his brain: is identity possible in the edge of life?] Правове регулювання темпоральних меж життя людини: матеріали засідання "круглого столу", м. Київ, 22 жовтня 2019 р., укладач Я.О. Триньова. К., 2019. С. 59-72.
26. Островська Б. В. (2019) ""Якість" життя та "гідна" смерть: біоетична проблема застосування евтаназії в контексті права, медицини, філософії та релігії" ["Quality" of life and " decent " death: bioethical problem of application of euthanasia in the context of law, medicine, philosophy and religion], VIІІ Міждисциплінарні гуманітарні читання: матеріали міжнародної наукової конференції (Київ, 21 листопада 2019 р.). С. 121-125.
27. Островська Б. В. (2017a) "Евтаназія vs права на життя: проблема прав людини" [Euthanasia vs Right to Life: Human Rights Problem], Наукові записки Інституту законодавства Верховної Ради України. 2017. № 3. С. 47-53.
28. Островська Б. В. (2017b) "Практика Європейського суду з прав людини щодо захисту права на життя у біоетичних питаннях" [The practice of European court of human rights on protecting the rights to life in bioethical issues], Держава і право. Серія: "Юридичні науки": зб. наук. праць / Ін-т держави і права ім. В. М. Корецького НАН України. Київ: Вид-во «Юридична думка», 2017. Вип. 75. С. 20–30.

Author Biography

B. V. Ostrovska, V. M. Koretsky Institute of State and Law

PhD (Law), Doctorate, Senior Researcher of International and Comparative Law Department, Expert of UNESCO Chair "Human Rights, Peace, Democracy, Tolerance and International Understanding" at National University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy"