Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Ensuring the viability of the Strasbourg Court: structural deficiencies in States Parties

Doc. 13087: collection of written amendments | Doc. 13087 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The Parliamentary Assembly considers that the viability of the human rights protection system based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”) falls within the scope of the shared responsibility, alongside the Committee of Ministers, of both States Parties and the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”). However, it is the primary responsibility of States Parties to ensure that the Convention is applied effectively at national level.
2The Assembly recalls its previous work on this subject, in particular its resolutions and recommendations on the implementation of the Court’s judgments, including Resolutions 1516 (2006) and 1787 (2011) and Recommendations 1764 (2006) and 1955 (2011), and its Resolution 1856 (2012) on guaranteeing the authority and effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights.
3The Assembly deplores the fact that the Court is still overloaded with a large number of repetitive cases revealing widespread dysfunctions in national legal orders. Most of them relate to structural issues identified by well-established case law, such as the excessive length of judicial proceedings, chronic non-enforcement of domestic judicial decisions, deaths and ill-treatment attributable to law enforcement officials and lack of effective investigation thereof, unlawful detention on remand and its excessive length. In addition, there are specific systemic/structural deficiencies in States Parties. Some of them only exist within one national legal system.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 3, add the following words : "The judge from the relevant State Party should be empowered to identify cases raising important and systemic legal issues so as to prioritize them and secure their prompt consideration in order to terminate a continuing violation."

4The Assembly confirms (as underlined in Resolution 1787 (2011)) that Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine face major structural problems leading to worrying delays in the execution of the Court’s judgments. However, in order to ensure the viability of the Strasbourg Court, States Parties which have a high proportion of complaints in relation to their population size should not be excluded from the scope of the investigation into structural deficiencies.

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 4 with the following paragraph:

The Assembly confirms (as underlined in Resolution 1787 (2011) that inter alia Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine (in alphabetical order) face major structural problems requiring prompt execution of the Court's judgements. The Assembly notes also the progress achieved in respect of some of these countries.

22 January 2013

Tabled by the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights

Votes: 89 in favor 2 against 4 abstentions

In amendment 4, replace the words "(in alphabetical order) face major structural problems requiring prompt execution of the Court's judgements" with the following words: "face major structural problems which lead to delays in the execution of the Court's judgements."

5The Assembly insists on the fact that, where the Strasbourg Court has identified major and complex structural deficiencies in States Parties, regular and stringent national supervision must be ensured to adequately deal with them, in addition to their examination by the Committee of Ministers under the latter's “enhanced supervision procedure”.

At the end of paragraph 5, add the following sentence: "The supervisory procedure of the CM should be able to effectively address structural problems leading to worrying delays in the execution of the Court's judgements but also effectively promote those states that diligently comply with the individual or general measures stemming from the Court's judgements."

6The Assembly is deeply concerned about this situation, which undermines the effectiveness of the Convention system and prevents the Court from focusing on new and important questions of interpretation and application of the Convention.
7The Assembly therefore calls on States Parties to:
7.1strengthen their efforts to execute fully and rapidly the Court’s judgments, including through the implementation of the Interlaken Declaration and Action Plan of 19 February 2010 as well as the Izmir Declaration of 27 April 2011 and the Brighton Declaration of 20 April 2012, and in particular:
7.1.1set up, as a matter of priority, comprehensive strategies aimed at solving structural problems, and co-ordinate these strategies at the highest political level;
7.1.2rapidly provide action plans to the Committee of Ministers;

In the paragraph 7.1.2, after the words "the Committee of Ministers" insert the following words: "for its prompt and effective examination".

7.1.3consider establishing a national body responsible solely for the execution of the Court’s judgments, in order to avoid a conflict of responsibilities with the agent representing the government before the Court;

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 7.1.3 with the following paragraph:

"consider strengthening resources and competences related to the execution of the Court's judgment of the agent representing the government before the Court or if appropriate establishing a national body responsible solely for the execution of the Court's judgements, in order to increase the effectiveness;"

7.2amend legislation according to standards stemming from the case law of the Court and ensure that the Convention is implemented by all relevant national authorities;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.2, after the words "the Court" insert the following words: ", ensure mechanisms for verifying the compliance of new legal acts with the Convention".

7.3put in place effective domestic remedies, primarily in areas affected by structural problems;
7.4take comprehensive measures with a view to raising awareness of the Convention standards as interpreted by the Court. In States Parties with major structural problems, these measures could consist, in particular, in:

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.4, second sentence, delete the words "In State Parties with major structural problems,"

7.4.1creating a publicly available database containing the Court’s case law, including judgments pertinent to the State Party concerned in official translation;
7.4.2improving legal education with a view to deepening knowledge about the Convention among legal professionals;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7.4.2, after the words "legal professionnals" add the following words: "and the relevant authorities".

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 7.4.2, insert the following paragraph:

"establishing non-governmental permanent centres for potential applicants in order to advise them on Convention standards;"

7.5strengthen national authorities’ co-operation with civil society, bar associations, experts and national human rights institutions.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 7.5, insert the following paragraph:

"strengthen legal guarantees of independence of the Court's judges and secure their immunity by: - providing them and their families with diplomatic immunity ad vitam, including immunities, exemptions and facilities accorded to diplomatic envoys and to national judges of the highest level; - securing that, after the replacement of a judge on the Court, the former judge be entitled to a similar position, if he or she has not yet reached retirement age; - including a judge's term of office at the Court onto his or her national employment record in judicial or other occupation; - securing that, when the former judge reaches retirement age, he or she is entitled to a pension equivalent to that of judges of the highest courts or that of state agents of a similar position."

8The previous work of the Assembly has shown the need for an increased role of national parliaments in monitoring the effective implementation of the Convention standards at national level. The Assembly therefore:
8.1reiterates its call on States Parties to put into practice the basic principles for parliamentary supervision in this field, as set out in its Resolution 1823 (2011) on national parliaments: guarantors of human rights in Europe;
8.2invites parliaments to ensure that their committees monitoring compliance with human rights obligations are actively involved in the execution of the Court’s pilot judgments and other judgments revealing structural problems;
8.3invites the members of the Assembly, in their capacity as national parliamentarians, to question regularly their governments regarding execution of the Court’s judgments.

BDraft Recommendation

1The Parliamentary Assembly, referring to its Resolution …. (2013) on ensuring the viability of the Strasbourg Court: structural deficiencies in States Parties, urges the Committee of Ministers to continue to use all available means to ensure the viability of the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) and to that effect recommends that it:
1.1consider further developing the Court’s HUDOC database into a comprehensive database of the Court’s case law, including cases pending before the Court and its own database on information concerning the implementation of its judgments; the latter database should also include information on the Court’s recourse to the “pilot judgment” procedure and supervision procedures undertaken by the Committee of Ministers;
1.2continue to afford priority treatment to the implementation of the Court’s pilot judgments and other judgments revealing structural problems;
1.3consider the possibility of regularly providing statistical analyses with respect to progress made in the elimination of structural deficiencies, as identified by the Court and the Committee of Ministers;

In the draft recommendation, after paragraph 1.3, insert the following paragraph:

"ensure appropriate staff resources to the Secretariat dealing with the execution of judgments;"

2The Assembly reiterates its call in Recommendations 1764 (2006) and 1955 (2011) on the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, to increase pressure and take firmer measures in cases of dilatory and continuous non-compliance with the Court’s judgments by State Parties.