HomeThe Execution of Judgments and Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

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The Execution of Judgments and Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

L’exécution des arrêts et décisions de la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme

Practices and Prospects Ten years after the Interlaken Conference

Pratiques et perspectives dix ans après la conférence d’Interlaken

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Published on Monday, July 27, 2020 by Céline Guilleux

Summary

The main objective of this conference is to critically examine the advances made in the field of the execution of the European Court of Human Rights judgments and decisions and the execution systems future prospects and to analyse the various legal and political measures developed by the actors involved in the execution of the Courts judgments and decisions in order to strengthen and improve execution practices in the future.

Announcement

Introduction

At the end of the Interlaken Conference in February 2010, an Action Plan was made to improve the efficiency of the system for monitoring the execution of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Constituting an "instrument of political orientation", the Plan was reviewed at the Ministerial Conferences of Izmir (2011), Brighton (2012), Brussels (2015) and Copenhagen (2018). The end of the Interlaken process coincides with the Council of Europe's 70th anniversary and the Declaration of Helsinki (2019) in which the Ministers of states parties to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) reaffirmed their commitment to the Convention system by drawing the conclusion that the strength of the Council of Europe is based on a "periodic and in-depth evaluation of all member states, in accordance with established legal criteria".

Although the supervision of the execution of judgments of the Court resides with the Committee of Ministers under Article 46(2) ECHR, this inter-governmental body does not act on its own. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) also performs monitoring functions of states' commitments and promotes inter-parliamentary dialogue through its work on the implementation of the Court’s judgments in domestic systems. This is also the informal role of the Commissioner for Human Rights and other independent bodies of the Council of Europe (ECRI, GRETA, etc.), which may communicate with national actors in order to find appropriate means to facilitate the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions. The Court itself also has a role in the execution phase, which has developed mechanisms and procedures that can enable states to fulfill their Convention obligations (e.g. the pilot judgment procedure, prioritisation of case processing, indication of general and individual measures).

This inter-institutional synergy in the area of monitoring[1] has already borne fruit and reveals a slow change in a field that has traditionally been considered as being "politico-diplomatic". Some observers even see in it a process of judicialisation of the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions that distinguishes the European Convention system from other international legal systems for the protection of human rights. In 2019, the turnover of cases pending before the Committee of Ministers numbered 5,231 (including 1,245 leading cases), while at the time of the adoption of the Interlaken Action Plan their number was 9,899 (including 1,286 leading cases). Similarly, the total number of cases closed in 2019 amounts to 2,080 cases compared to 455 in 2010. These numbers allow us to at once arrive at a positive assessment of the operation of the Committee of Ministers in the supervision of the Court’s judgments. They also testify to the success of the initiatives taken by it. However, statistics without more are but a crude measure of effectiveness, and there is always room for both quantitative and qualitative improvements. Figures show that currently 55 per cent of cases under close supervision of the Committee of Ministers derive from four Council of Europe member states, namely the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Turkey and Romania. Likewise, the nature of the cases whose the execution is in progress has changed profoundly over recent years and currently the main themes under sustained supervision relate to the actions of security forces, the legality of and conditions in detention and the provision of medical care generally. This context confirms that the time is right for a critical re-examination of the various legal and political measures developed by the actors involved in the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions in order to strengthen and improve execution practices in the future.

The Scientific Board

  • Florence Benoît-Rohmer, professor at the University of Strasbourg
  • Peggy Ducoulombier, professor at the University of Strasbourg
  • Christos Giannopoulos, assistant professor at the University of Strasbourg

Overview

It is well known that the effectiveness and credibility of the European system for the protection of human rights depends on the execution of the judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. Thus, the main objective of this conference is to critically examine the advances made in the field of the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions and the execution system’s future prospects. All types of decisions are included for consideration, namely judgments, orders on interim measures and the terms of friendly settlements as they appear in the decision to strike the case out of the list under Articles 39(4) of the Convention and Rule 43 of the Rules of the Court. Likewise, the term "execution" is understood broadly to include all more or less formalised procedures of monitoring, control, implementation, follow-up and supervision of the Court’s judgments and decisions.

Proposed Fields

Three fields of reflection are proposed as follows.

1. Execution and the Council of Europe’s institutions

This field aims to deal with the prescribed or more formal roles of the various Council of Europe’s institutions during the "post-adjudication" phase. Papers may thus focus on working methods and monitoring techniques adopted by Council of Europe’s institutions to expedite the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions. They might also examine new practices that have the potential to address any current deficits in the supervision system with a view to strengthening its effectiveness.

Papers in this field may also wish to interrogate the challenges involved in the partial judicialisation of the process of the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions and the engagement of the state’s responsibility for failing to respect the principle of res judicata. The response of the Council of Europe’s institutions to a state's refusal to execute a final judgment of the ECtHR is also of relevance in this respect.

2. Execution and national actors

The second field for examination focuses on the behaviour of national actors regarding the execution of the Court’s judgments and decisions. Thus, papers may concern the role of national parliaments, ordinary and/or constitutional courts and/or other national actors in the execution process primarily when they are required to implement the Court’s judgments and decisions in domestic law. The question of the role of private persons (applicant(s) and non-governmental organisations) during the execution phase of a judgment is also of particular interest.

In addition to the good practices adopted by member states of the Council of Europe, papers may also deal with the theoretical and practical difficulties encountered by member states in bringing their national systems into compliance with European standards following findings against them by the Court. In this regard, many pending cases can give rise to considerations involving political will in the execution process and provide a fertile ground for examining the risk of the execution of judgments being governed by factors other than the protection of human rights.

3. Execution phase influenced by circumstances

The last field deals with the challenges facing the Council of Europe’s institutions from circumstances associated with the existence of a Europe in a “multi-crisis” situation. Thus, the recent migration crisis, prolonged states of emergency due to the perceived, real or imagined, threat from terrorism, the current covid-19 health emergency and the rise of populism in certain states, may be a pretext to limit efforts to implement the Court’s judgments and decisions. The question therefore arises as to what extent the failure to comply with the Court’s judgments and decisions within a reasonable time or the framing of execution can jeopardise the credibility of the European system for the protection of human rights and undermine the effectiveness of rights for the victims of violations.

Submission and Publication

Researchers are invited to send their proposals for papers to: europedeslibertes@hotmail.com. Proposals must fall within one of the fields identified and contain a summary (maximum 15,000 characters, spaces included), written in French or English, presenting the theme, the objectives pursued, a draft plan and references. All submissions must be original and unpublished (including in electronic form, such as posting on the SSRN, or in hard copy) work.

Proposals that offer a comparative analysis are particularly welcome.

Proposals may be accompanied by a short biography of the author (maximum 1000 characters, spaces included).

This call for papers will be supplemented by the invitation of recognised scholars. The conference proceedings are intended to be published in the Thematic Section of the journal Europe of Rights & Liberties. Contributors will be given a short time to modify their papers to incorporate insights generated by other presentations and/or during discussions.

Calendar

  • The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 November 2020

  • Contributors will receive a reply in the week commencing 14 December 2020
  • Conference dates:  4 and 5 February 2021

Papers will be published in the March 2021 issue of Europe of Rights & Liberties.

Subjects

  • Law (Main subject)

Places

  • Strasbourg, France (67)

Date(s)

  • Monday, November 30, 2020

Keywords

  • exécution, Cour européenne des droits de l'homme, comité des ministres, acteur national, Convention européenne des droits de l'homme, Interlaken

Contact(s)

  • Christos Giannopoulos
    courriel : christosgiannopoulos [at] hotmail [dot] fr

Information source

  • Christos Giannopoulos
    courriel : christosgiannopoulos [at] hotmail [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The Execution of Judgments and Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Monday, July 27, 2020, https://calenda.org/793067

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