Guaranteeing the authority and effectiveness of the European Convention on Human Rights
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Assembly debate on
24 January 2012 (4th Sitting) (see Doc. 12811, report of the Committee
on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: Ms Bemelmans-Videc).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 24 January 2012 (4th Sitting).See also Recommendation 1991 (2012).
1. The Parliamentary Assembly pays
tribute to the extraordinary contribution that the European Court
of Human Rights (“the Court”) has made to the protection of human
rights in Europe. In so doing, it recognises the subsidiary nature
of the supervisory mechanism established by the European Convention
on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”), notably the fundamental
role which national authorities, namely governments, courts and
parliaments, must play in guaranteeing and protecting human rights.
2. The Assembly reiterates that the right of individual application,
which lies at the heart of the Convention machinery, has to be preserved
in essence, and that the Court must be in a position to process
applications within a reasonable time, while maintaining the quality
and authority of its judgments. It follows that priority must be
given to difficulties encountered in States which do not appropriately
implement Convention standards. Therefore, the Court should be encouraged
to continue to prioritise cases in line with its recently adopted policy.
3. From this, it transpires that, in order to ensure the long-term
effectiveness of the Convention system, there is a need to strengthen
and enhance the authority of Convention rights at national level
(including the res interpretata authority
of the Court’s case law), to improve the effectiveness of domestic
remedies in States with major structural problems, and to ensure
rapid and effective implementation of the Court’s judgments. National parliaments
can play a key role in stemming the flow of applications submerging
the Court by, for instance, carefully examining whether (draft)
legislation is compatible with Convention requirements and by ensuring
that States promptly and fully comply with the Court’s judgments.
In this connection, the Assembly reiterates its call for parliaments
to establish appropriate internal structures to ensure rigorous
and regular monitoring of States’ compliance with international
human rights obligations (Resolution
on national parliaments: guarantors of human
rights in Europe) and, in particular, effective parliamentary oversight
of the implementation of the Court’s judgments (Resolution 1516 (2006)
the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights,
As the post-Interlaken debate on the future of the Convention
system does not sufficiently take into account the role of parliaments
(Resolution 1823 (2011)
paragraph 5.2), the Assembly, as well as national parliaments, must
ensure that they are provided with an opportunity to scrutinise
reports which member States have been required to submit to the
Committee of Ministers on national implementation of relevant parts
of the Interlaken and Izmir declarations.
6. Finally, the authority and effectiveness of the Convention
system are contingent on the political will and commitment of member
States to provide the Organisation with the appropriate financial
means to implement its human rights mandate. The difficult budgetary
predicament in which the Council of Europe finds itself must be
given urgent attention in member States, especially the legislative
branches of State authority, given the latter’s decisive role in
the determination of State budgetary appropriations.