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‘Alarm’ at high number of Strasbourg Court rulings being ignored

PACE’s Legal Affairs Committee has expressed “deep concern” at the high number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights that have still not been implemented by the States concerned – a figure that it says is stable at nearly 11,000 cases.

Despite some progress, “the scale of outstanding problems is alarming,” said rapporteur Klaas de Vries (Netherlands, SOC) in a report made public yesterday. He pointed out that almost 80 per cent of the backlog was from only nine States – Italy, Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Greece, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria – where deep-seated structural problems often generate repeat cases. These include poor prison conditions, domestic court cases taking too long, or a culture within security forces that permits ill-treatment.

“There are more and more cases in which States Parties appear reluctant to implement judgments of the Court,” said Mr De Vries, adding that a growing number of judgments have still not been implemented after more than ten years.

In its draft resolution, the committee again urges States to observe their legal obligation to fully and rapidly implement Court judgments. It also urges the Council of Europe’s ministerial body – which oversees the execution of Court judgments – to “take firmer measures” with dilatory states, including use of the so-called “infringement procedure” foreseen in the European Convention on Human Rights.

The report is due to be debated at the Assembly’s autumn session in September.