Firmer measures to be taken with states not complying with ECHR judgments

Дата: 02 October 2015
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The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) adopted the resolution calling to strictly demand that the governments of state comply with judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The resolution had to be adopted due to considerable problems in compliance with the ECHR decisions in nine member states of the Council of Europe. Among them are Ukraine, Italy, Turkey, Russia, Romania, Poland and others, reads the document, authored by Dutch politician Klaas de Vries.

As Deutsche Welle reports, about 11,000 judgments of the ECHR remain not complied with. As the report notes, which was basis of the resolution, “the structural problems in the legal systems of some countries cause a large number of such suits.” According to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe [the executive body of the Council of Europe overseeing execution of the ECHR rulings], Russia has not complied with 1,474 judgments, while Ukraine has not executed 1,009 judgments. In total, the Russian citizens have to wait 9.7 years for execution of the ECHR judgment, while Ukrainians have to wait 7.4 years.

The document states that since the last such resolution was adopted “Ukraine has showed almost no progress” in execution of the ECHR judgments. “This can be partially explained by recent dramatic events in the country, annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation and escalation of the conflict in the east,” the document reads. However, it is further stressed that, despite these circumstances, “Ukraine is legally bound to comply with the ECHR judgments.”

Among the most frequent problems that make Ukrainians seek truth in the ECHR are non-compliance with domestic judgments, excessive duration of legal procedures, poor conditions in prisons, bullying in law enforcement agencies and unfair court “caused by lack of independent and impartial judges” in the country.

The resolution “Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights” offers a new mechanism, which, according to the authors, will effectively exert pressure on the governments which avoid executions. The document proposes to apply Article 46 of the Convention on Human Rights. According to it, The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe may appeal to the ECHR regarding the country’s observance of the commitment to execute all the Court’s judgments.

If the court decides that the state has violated it, then the Committee of Ministers shall decide on punishment for the state infringer. “Thus the Council of Europe may use this article to impose tougher sanctions on the countries that do not execute the ECHR decisions,” the document says. The most radical of them is expelling the state from the Council of Europe.

In addition, the PACE suggests that the Committee of Ministers will work more closely with civil society in monitoring the execution of the ECHR decisions, and calls on the national parliaments to exert pressure on their governments, reminding them of the commitment to comply with the judgment.

A large number of unexecuted court judgments undermines the trust of citizens of the Council of Europe member states in the ECHR. German member of Parliament Axel Fischer said this during the debate that preceded the vote.

We cannot let this happen, and, being the parliamentarians, should time after time appeal to our governments, urging them to comply with the judgment,” he said.

The author of the resolution, Klaas de Vries, also stressed that not the Committee of Ministers, but the national governments are responsible for the execution of judgments.

If you find criticism of your country in my report, tear this page out of the resolution, show it to your country’s justice minister, and explain that inactivity is not an option. The ECHR judgments must be executed, otherwise, the government will face big problems,” the rapporteur proposed to his colleagues in the PACE, adding that this method has a good chance of success.

As reported, Ukraine intends to issue securities to execute the judgments of the European Court in favor of the citizens of Ukraine.

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