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The implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Doc. 14340: collection of written amendments | Doc. 14340 | 28/06/2017 | Final version

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ADraft Resolution

1Since its Resolution 1226 (2000), the Parliamentary Assembly has been duty-bound to contribute to the supervision of the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”), on which the efficiency and authority of the human rights protection system based on the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”) depend. Primary responsibility for supervision of the implementation of Court judgments lies with the Committee of Ministers, in accordance with Article 46.2 of the Convention. However, the Assembly considers that it has a key role in this process, as it can encourage proactive involvement on the part of national parliaments.
2The Assembly recalls its previous work on this subject, in particular its Resolutions 2075 (2015), 1787 (2011) and 1516 (2006) and Recommendations 2079 (2015) and 1955 (2011) on the implementation of judgments of the Court and its Resolution 1823 (2011) on national parliaments: guarantors of human rights in Europe.
3Since last examining this question in 2015, it notes some progress in the implementation of Court judgments, notably the reduction in the number of judgments pending before the Committee of Ministers and the increased number of cases closed by final resolutions, including cases concerning structural problems such as excessive length of judicial proceedings, poor conditions in detention facilities and the lack of domestic remedies in this regard, non-enforcement of domestic judicial decisions and the unlawfulness or excessive length of detention on remand.
4The Assembly welcomes the measures taken by the Committee of Ministers to make its supervision of the implementation of Court judgments more transparent as well as the synergies that have been developed within the Council of Europe to make this process more rapid and effective.
5However, the Assembly remains deeply concerned about the number of judgments pending before the Committee of Ministers, even though all these judgements are not at the same stages of execution. It notes that there are nearly 10 000 such cases, and that the number of leading cases – revealing specific structural problems – awaiting execution for more than five years has increased. Nearly half of the cases under the “enhanced supervision” of the Committee of Ministers relate to violations of Articles 2 (right to life), 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman treatment) and 5 (right to freedom and security) of the Convention.
6The Assembly also notes that, even though considerable progress has been made since its Resolutions 1787 (2011) and 2075 (2015), Italy, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova and Poland have the highest number of non-implemented judgments and still face serious structural problems, some of which have not been resolved for over ten years.
7The Assembly further notes that some cases involving other States Parties to the Convention also reveal “pockets of resistance”, in particular concerning deeply ingrained political issues. The difficulties in implementing these judgments relate to the adoption not only of general measures (aimed at preventing fresh violations) but also of individual measures (aimed at restitutio in integrum for applicants) or payment of just satisfaction. Moreover, the Assembly observes that in some States Parties the execution of the Court's judgments is enveloped in bitter political debate as certain political leaders seek to discredit the Court and undermine its authority.
8The Assembly once again deplores the delays in implementing the Court's judgments, the lack of political will to implement judgments on the part of certain States Parties and all the attempts made to undermine the Court's authority and the Convention-based human rights protection system. It reiterates that Article 46.1 of the Convention sets out the legal obligation for the States Parties to implement the judgments of the Court and that this obligation is binding on all branches of State authority.
9Thus, the Assembly once again calls on the States Parties to fully and swiftly implement the judgments and the terms of friendly settlements handed down by the Court and to co-operate, to that end, with the Committee of Ministers, the Court and the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights as well as with other Council of Europe organs and bodies where applicable. For this co-operation to be fruitful, the Assembly recommends that the States Parties, inter alia:
9.1submit to the Committee of Ministers in a timely manner action plans, action reports and information on the payment of just satisfaction;
9.2pay particular attention to cases raising structural problems, especially those lasting over ten years;

28 June 2017

Tabled by Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Mr Algirdas BUTKEVIČIUS, Ms Eka BESELIA, Mr Frank SCHWABE, Ms Marianne MIKKO, Ms Nellija KLEINBERGA

Votes: 44 in favor 0 against 7 abstentions

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 9.2 with the following paragraph:

"pay particular attention to cases raising structural problems (pilot cases), especially those lasting over ten years as well as all attached cases;"

9.3provide sufficient resources to national stakeholders responsible for implementing Court judgments and encourage those stakeholders to co-ordinate their work in this area;
9.4provide more funding to Council of Europe projects potentially contributing to improved implementation of Court judgments;
9.5raise public awareness of issues arising under the Convention;
9.6condemn any kind of political statement aimed at discrediting the Court's authority;
9.7strengthen the role of civil society and national human rights institutions in the process of implementing the Court's judgments.
10Referring to its Resolution 1823 (2011), the Assembly calls on the national parliaments of Council of Europe member States to:
10.1establish parliamentary structures guaranteeing follow-up to and monitoring of international obligations in the human rights field, and in particular of the obligations stemming from the Convention;
10.2devote parliamentary debates to the implementation of the Court's judgments;
10.3question governments on progress in implementing Court judgments and demand that they present annual reports on the subject;
10.4encourage all the political groups to concert their efforts to ensure that the Court's judgments are implemented.
11The Assembly calls on the European Parliament to engage with the Assembly on issues related to the implementation of the Court’s judgments.
12In view of the urgent need to speed up implementation of the Court's judgments, the Assembly resolves to remain seized of this matter and to continue to give it priority.

BDraft Recommendation

1Referring to its Resolution … (2017) on the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, the Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the measures taken by the Committee of Ministers to improve the process of its supervision of the implementation of judgments of the Court.
2The Assembly once again urges the Committee of Ministers to use all available means to fulfil its tasks arising under Article 46.2 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5). Accordingly, it recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
2.1give renewed consideration to the use of the procedures provided for in Article 46, paragraphs 3 to 5 of the Convention, in the event of implementation of a judgment encountering strong resistance from the respondent State;

In the draft recommendation, delete paragraph 2.1.

Explanatory note

Recommending the Committee of Ministers to make use of the procedures in question will not prove useful in practice. These procedures will not serve to accelerating the implementation of judgments. To the contrary, it will prolong the process unnecessarily and increase the workload of the Court.

In the draft recommendation, replace paragraph 2.1 with the following paragraph:

"recall the exceptional nature of the use of the procedures provided for in Article 46, paragraphs 3 to 5 of the Convention, in the event of non-implementation of a judgment encountering strong resistance from the respondent State;"

Explanatory note

The procedures in question should be used as a last resort and only in exceptional circumstances. Frequent use of these procedures will only increase the workload of the Court. It will also weaken the role of the Committee of Ministers in implementing the Court judgements by unnecessarily prolonging the process.

2.2make more frequent use of interim resolutions with a view to pinpointing the difficulties in implementing certain judgments;

28 June 2017

Tabled by Mr Boriss CILEVIČS, Mr Algirdas BUTKEVIČIUS, Ms Eka BESELIA, Mr Frank SCHWABE, Ms Marianne MIKKO, Ms Nellija KLEINBERGA

Votes: 46 in favor 5 against 6 abstentions

In the draft recommendation, after paragraph 2.2, insert the following paragraph:

"tackle urgently systemic problems identified in pilot judgments delivered by the Court with particular attention paid to all attached cases;"

2.3work more towards greater transparency of the process of supervision of the implementation of judgments;
2.4give applicants, civil society, national human rights protection bodies and international organisations a greater role in this process;
2.5continue to step up synergies, within the Council of Europe, between all the stakeholders concerned, in particular the European Court of Human Rights and its Registry, the Assembly, the Secretary General, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH), the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT);
2.6increase the resources of the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights;
2.7encourage the Department for the Execution of Judgments to step up exchanges with the Court and its Registry and also to consult more with national authorities in cases where particular difficulties arise over the definition of implementation measures.