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President points to the Assembly’s potential key role in ‘stemming the flood’ of Court cases

Strasbourg, 26.04.2011 – National parliaments must play a key role in stemming the flood of applications submerging the European Court of Human Rights, PACE President Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, speaking today at the opening of the High-Level Conference on the future of the Court in Izmir, Turkey.

Parliaments should "rigorously and systematically verify the compatibility of draft and existing laws with the Convention’s standards", the President pointed out, which would prevent some cases reaching Strasbourg in the first place. Secondly, they should apply pressure on governments to rapidly implement the Court’s judgments when violations were found.

However, he also acknowledged: “In spite of the efforts of the Assembly, the manner in which many national legislative bodies function in this regard is still not satisfactory.”

The President pointed to the Assembly’s work in tackling major structural problems at national level which had led to numerous repeat violations. For example, Chairpersons of national delegations had been personally invited to provide information within six months on the measures being taken to deal with these problems, he indicated.

Concerning PACE’s role in electing the judges of the Court, Mr Çavuşoğlu pointed out that the Assembly was doing its best to ensure that the judges were of the highest calibre – and did not hesitate to send back lists of candidates which it considered unsatisfactory. He also welcomed the initiative of the Court’s President to create an advisory panel of experts to counsel governments before lists were transmitted to the Assembly.

The President also raised concerns that the EU member states could vote as a “bloc” within the Committee of Ministers, particularly as concerns execution of Court judgments, creating an insurmountable voting majority. “I wish to stress that on human rights issues, states must act in conformity with fundamental values and principles, and not according to their ‘bloc’ belonging and solidarity,” he concluded.