Monday, 30 April 2007

Rescuing the Court

One way to save the European Court of Human Rights from collapsing was to agree on urgent changes to the Court proceedings, allowing for more vigorous screening of cases, streamlined handling of repetitive cases showing the same basic failings on the national level and a sort of de minimis clause to weed out less significant violations of applicants’ rights.

These measures were agreed in May 2004 between the member States of the Council of Europe in the form of Protocol No. 14 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, amending the control system of the Convention.

But, in order to enter into force Protocol No. 14 needed the ratification of every member State of the Council of Europe; 45 out of 46 members actually ratified the amending Protocol, but sadly the Russian Parliament did not.

The result in this case is a steadily deteriorating situation for the Human Rights control mission of the Court.

Protocol No. 14 is one more example of the fragility of institutions and procedures based on the rule of unanimity in international relations.

Ralf Grahn