The European Court of Human Rights is confronted with a massive backlog of cases, which undermines its effectiveness. As of late 2009, there were 119,300 cases pending before the Court.
The large majority of cases decided by and pending before the Court were brought against a small number of countries. In 2009, 74% of the Court’s judgments concerned only eight states. A factor contributing to the backlog is the high number of applications related to structural issues already identified and where a well-established case law exists. These repetitive or clone cases accounted for 73% of Court judgments in 2009. In addition to representing a disproportionate percentage of the total number of cases pending before the Court, the eight persistent defaulters are defendants in the bulk of repetitive cases. Five of these states have still each between 500 and 5,500 repetitive cases pending in Strasbourg.
Despite Recommendation 1764 (2006) – requesting that the Committee of Ministers increase pressure and take firmer measures in cases of continuous non-compliance with a European Court of Human Rights judgment due to either refusal, negligence, or incapacity to take appropriate measures – the unacceptable situation persists.
The Parliamentary Assembly should itself undertake and also insist on regular and stringent national parliamentary supervision of Strasbourg Court judgments to ensure that structural deficiencies are promptly and adequately dealt with.