Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Doc. 15742: compendium of written amendments | Doc. 15742 | 25/04/2023 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1Since its Resolution 1226 (2000), the Parliamentary Assembly has significantly contributed to the supervision of the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (“the Court”) by the Committee of Ministers, given the priority it attaches to respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law. It recalls that in Recommendation 2245 (2023) “The Reykjavik Summit of the Council of Europe: United around values in the face of extraordinary challenges” it sought to further strengthen processes for the swift implementation of Court’s judgments, including respect for interim measures, calling for the introduction of procedure for enhanced political dialogue in cases of non-compliance and for the promotion of the role of national parliaments, national human rights institutions and civil society in monitoring compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”) and the Court’s judgments.
2The Assembly also recalls its Resolutions 2358(2021) 2178 (2017), 2075 (2015), 1787 (2011), 1516 (2006) and Recommendations 2110 (2017) and 2079 (2015) on the implementation of judgments of the Court, in which it promoted national parliaments’ engagement in this process. It again underlines that the implementation of a Court judgment, under Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Convention, may require not only the payment of the just satisfaction awarded by the Court, but also the adoption of other individual measures (aimed at the cessation of the violation of the Convention and the restitutio in integrum for applicants) and/or general measures (aimed at preventing repeated violations of the Convention).
3Since last examining this question in 2021, the Assembly notes that there has been an increase in the number of judgments pending before the Committee of Ministers (from 5 231 at the end of 2019 to 6 256 on 1 March 2023). Having seen previous progress on reducing the backlog, it expresses concern at the current trajectory. The Assembly welcomes any measures taken by the Committee of Ministers to make its supervision of the implementation of Court’s judgments more efficient within the Council of Europe as well as with national authorities. It calls upon the Committee of Ministers to undertake further work to analyse why the number of pending cases has recently been growing and to suggest concrete steps to address this.
4The Assembly also notes that Ukraine, Romania, Türkiye, Azerbaijan and Hungary have the highest number of non-implemented Court judgments and still face serious structural or complex problems, some of which have not been resolved for over ten years. Indeed these five countries, and in addition the Russian Federation, account for over 70% of the cases pending implementation. The Assembly remains deeply concerned over the number of cases revealing structural and complex problems pending before the Committee of Ministers for more than five years. Along with that, the Assembly realises that the situation in Ukraine is a complex one vis-à-vis other countries due to the Russian war of aggression and the consequences for the Ukrainian authorities and society as a whole, and that the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights faces specific challenges in light of the war.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 4, at the end insert the following sentence:

"In this regard, the Assembly notes that, even in such difficult circumstances, the Ukrainian authorities continue to demonstrate their commitment to full compliance with the Convention and have undertaken a number of measures, including legislative amendments, to solve the structural problems identified by the European Court of Human Rights."

5The Assembly expresses concerns at the delays in implementing the Court's judgments and recalls that the legal obligation for the States Parties to the Convention to implement the Court’s judgments is binding on all branches of State authority and cannot be avoided through the invocation of technical problems or obstacles which are due, in particular, to the lack of political will, lack of resources or national legislation, including the constitution. The Assembly recalls that where a State’s legislation, including its constitution, gives rise to violations of the Convention, it is incumbent on that State to interpret and, where necessary, amend its legislation in such a way as to resolve the violations found by the European Court of Human Rights and avoid any repetition.
6The Assembly is gravely concerned at the slow progress towards the implementation of the Court’s judgments delivered in interstates cases or cases showing interstate features. It calls on all States Parties to the Convention involved in the process of implementation of such judgments to fully co-operate with the Committee of Ministers. It further calls on member States, as well as instances of the Council of Europe, to consider employing innovative and creative techniques and measures to seek to make progress in addressing intractable problems in such cases.
7The Assembly strongly calls on States Parties to the Convention to:
7.1implement in good faith and without delay final binding judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in line with the clear and unambiguous obligations in Article 46, paragraph 1, of the Convention, which are of an unconditional nature, and in full respect for the rule of law;
7.2provide for effective domestic remedies to address violations of the Convention and establish such remedies without undue delay where they are lacking;
7.3co-operate fully with the Committee of Ministers, the Court and the Department for the Execution the judgments of the Court as well as with other relevant Council of Europe bodies to swiftly and effectively enable the full and efficient implementation of the judgments of the Court;
7.4submit action plans, action reports and information on the payment of just satisfaction to the Committee of Ministers in a timely manner and to ensure that such action plans and reports contain sufficiently detailed information to explain the measures being taken, how they will address the issues raised by the judgment and to set out a clear timeframe for the judgment to be implemented;
7.5ensure that effective national co-ordination mechanisms are in place and have sufficient hierarchy and resources to be able to implement judgments and to co-ordinate responses in an efficient and informative manner, presenting the confirmed common position of various branches of power, and that such co-ordination bodies have the requisite clout to be able to ensure that priority is given to any necessary action;
7.6strengthen the role of civil society, bar associations and national human rights institutions in the process of implementing the Court's judgments, including through involving them in domestic planning on how to implement a judgment, as well as through providing replies to submissions made by applicants, national human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations under Rule 9 of the Committee of Ministers’ Rules for the supervision of the execution of judgments and the terms of friendly settlements;
7.7pay particular attention to cases raising systemic, structural, endemic or complex problems identified by the Court or the Committee of Ministers, notably those identified in the Court’s pilot judgments or judgments with indications under Article 46 of the Convention, especially those pending for over ten years;
7.8refrain from adopting laws or measures that would hinder the process of implementation of the Court’s judgments and ensure that domestic legislation strengthens domestic capacity to implement judgments of the Court;
7.9take full advantage of the work undertaken as part of the “Support to efficient domestic capacity for the execution of ECtHR judgments (Phase 1)” project, which could provide good practice to assist States in improving their domestic processes for implementing the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights;
7.10develop more effective structures and mechanisms for the exchange of good practice and support each other in the execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, including by fully supporting the work done by the Council of Europe aimed at establishing a network to this end;
7.11increase support to Council of Europe co-operation projects to assist member States in executing the judgments of the Court;
7.12take into account the relevant opinions of Council of Europe expert bodies, including the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, when taking measures aimed at implementing the Court’s judgments;
7.13uphold the rule of law, including by condemning statements discrediting the Court’s authority and legitimacy;
7.14respect interim measures indicated by the Court, in accordance with the obligations stemming from Article 34 of the Convention;
7.15ratify Protocol No. 16 to the Convention (CETS No. 214) as soon as possible, if they have not already done so;
7.16take immediate action to implement any judgments of the European Court of Human Rights in respect of which a violation of Article 46, paragraph 1, has been found by the Court under infringement proceedings under Article 46, paragraph 4, and in this light calls on Türkiye to immediately release the philanthropist Osman Kavala.
8Having regard to Recommendation 2245 (2023) “The Reykjavik Summit of the Council of Europe: United around values in the face of extraordinary challenges”, and referring to its Resolution 1823 (2011) “National parliaments: guarantors of human rights in Europe”, the Assembly calls on the national parliaments of Council of Europe member States to implement the “Basic principles for parliamentary supervision of international human rights standards”, advocated by the Assembly. Appropriate parliamentary structures are needed to monitor compliance with international human rights obligations and to ensure that democratically elected representatives are in a position to effectively encourage and facilitate the timely and complete implementation of the Court’s judgments. The Assembly calls on human rights or constitutional committees of national parliaments to engage in monitoring the implementation of the Court’s judgments, including through taking a pro-active role in finding solutions to potential frictions with the Court, by proposing necessary legislative reforms.
9In view of the 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.
10The Assembly’s work could include holding targeted events at the parliamentary level, such as conferences, colloquies to help bolster domestic institutional capacity and to focus political attention on the legislative, structural or other reforms needed to implement the Court’s judgments, including specific cases. Priority should be given to those countries or cases where dialogue at the level of parliamentarians might be most effective to encourage the timely implementation of the Court’s judgments and in particular to drive through the necessary legislative reforms.
11Finally, in order to help resolve the long-standing systemic and structural problems identified in the implementation of the Court’s judgments, the Assembly resolves to step up its work on thematic reports focussing on such problems in order to identify tools to resolve specific systemic or structural issues.

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 11, insert the following paragraph:

"The Assembly underlines the continuing obligation of the Russian Federation to implement the Court's judgments and welcomes the decision of the Committee of Ministers to continue its supervision of the implementation of judgments in relation to the Russian Federation."

CDraft Recommendation

1Referring to its Resolution ... (2023) “Implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights”, the Parliamentary Assembly welcomes the measures taken by the Committee of Ministers to fulfil its tasks arising under Article 46, paragraph 2, of the European Convention on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”) and to improve the efficiency of its supervision of the implementation of the judgments of the Court.
2As the implementation of the Court’s judgments still presents many challenges, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers:
2.1continue to use all available means (including interim resolutions) to fulfil its tasks arising under Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention;
2.2undertake further work to develop a clear toolkit for assisting co-operation as well as for increasing pressure on States, in order to encourage them to take timely action to implement the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights; this toolkit should include a range of different measures and techniques that could be potentially deployed, as required, in different situations depending on the seriousness and complexity of the issue as well as on the type of barriers that might exist to timely and effective implementation; such a toolkit should be an evolving document to include new techniques and best practice as experience develops; a creative approach should be applied in terms of tools and bodies that might assist in these endeavours;
2.3increase the focus and priority for implementing leading cases; noting in particular that whilst significant progress has been made in tackling repetitive cases – which has improved the overall statistics – this is no substitute for addressing the underlying root causes of a series of violations, through implementing the leading cases; to this end more of a focus should be given to analysing and publicising the barriers to implementing leading cases as well as deploying the necessary tools to implement them successfully;
2.4ensure that priority is given to tackling pockets of resistance and particularly complex cases, including by providing guidance and assistance to domestic authorities in the execution process to address the root causes underlying a violation;
2.5take action to ensure that all States have adequate, effective national co-ordination mechanisms, with sufficient hierarchy and resources to be able to implement judgments; this could include the provision of expertise on the organisation of the workload and any reforms required to ensure the correct levels of resourcing and hierarchy in order to effectively co-ordinate the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights;
2.6consider developing new mechanisms to motivate and, if need be, sanction States that fail to take timely action, including the supply of information, especially where delays or obstacles in execution were readily avoidable, for example by more effective co-ordination; this could include using financing options from the Council of Europe Development Bank to help to fund projects relevant to the implementation of the Convention rights;
2.7use 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; however, this should continue to be done sparingly and in exceptional circumstances;
2.8having regard to Recommendation 2245 (2023) “The Reykjavik Summit of the Council of Europe: United around values in the face of extraordinary challenges”, develop further the options available to the Committee of Ministers, and indeed the Council of Europe as a whole, following a judgment of the Court under Article 46, paragraph 4, with the aim of ensuring respect for the rule of law and the Convention system; such work should include careful consideration of the potential role for the Assembly within such mechanisms, such as through the complementary joint procedure;
2.9ensure that thematic debates on the execution of the Court’s judgments, are carefully targeted with the relevant participation, including carefully selected external experts, where appropriate, in order to have a meaningful debate on the topic with openness to ideas for resolving difficult issues;
2.10continue to improve synergies and make best use of all available resources and organs within the Council of Europe, in particular the Court and its Registry, the Assembly, the Secretary General, the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Steering Committee for Human Rights, the European Commission for Democracy through Law (Venice Commission), the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Human Rights Trust Fund;
2.11ensure adequate resources for the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in light of the significant workload of cases, the necessity of ensuring its strong Convention and country-specific expertise in order to provide assistance to the Committee of Ministers and the member States within its mandate, and the importance of the timely implementation of judgments for the Organisation;
2.12further elaborate the modalities of its strategy for ensuring the continued supervision over the execution of judgments pending implementation in respect of the Russian Federation, as well as those to be adopted in the future by the Court, within the limits of its jurisdiction;
2.13develop structured processes to regularly inform the Assembly about judgments of the Court whose implementation reveals complex or structural problems and requires legislative action;
2.14engage in a process of dialogue with the Assembly to ensure that the Assembly and the rapporteur for the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights can be in a position to facilitate, as best possible, the work of the Department for the Execution of Judgments and the Committee of Ministers, for example by organising conferences and exchanges with national parliaments, where this could be useful to bolster domestic institutional capacity for implementing judgments or where political engagement might be helpful, such as where legislative or other significant reform is needed to address a judgment;
2.15as part of this process of dialogue with the Assembly, establish a yearly communication of the Committee of Ministers to the Assembly during a part-session, to set out the progress achieved in the implementation of leading and other important cases; this could be similar to the addresses of the Commissioner for Human Rights to the Assembly when presenting the his/her Annual Report;
2.16to this end, pilot the organisation of country-specific meetings between the Department for the Execution of Judgments and Assembly members during the Assembly’s part-sessions on how best to improve the implementation of judgments within a given country; such meetings could be with a view to an ensuing country visit involving parliamentarians to improve the national mechanisms for the implementation of judgments as well as democratic engagement in supporting such measures;
2.17continue to take measures aimed at ensuring greater transparency of the process of supervision of the implementation of the Court’s judgments and a greater role for the Assembly, the applicants, civil society and national human rights institutions in this process, including by improving the accessibility of information on the status of the implementation of judgments on the HUDOC-EXEC website;
2.18ensure that all interim and final resolutions contain clear, specific reasoning to justify closing the supervision of a case (or elements of a case), in accordance with transparent criteria, in order to improve the transparency and accountability of decision making, so that European citizens can understand and have confidence in this core part of the European system of protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
2.19elaborate a process for the supervision of the respect of interim measures indicated by the Court.