Implementation and advocacy
Receiving a judgment from the European Court does not mark the end of the litigation process for us. Aside from ordering the payment of compensation, the Court may also require states to make changes to their domestic laws, or carry out effective investigations into particular incidents. In many cases, there is a lack of political will on the part of states to fully implement the Court’s judgments, in particular, when it comes to reforming their laws, policies and practices.
Pressing for effective implementation can help to bring about long-term positive change in the countries we work in, and ensures that judgments have a wider impact on society.
Our ultimate goal is for changes to be made to domestic laws, policies and practice in the countries we focus on, making them comply with the standards guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights.
We do this by:
- Supporting our partner organisations to ensure that domestic courts apply international human rights standards.
- Making submissions on individual cases to the Committee of Ministers, the body made up of representatives from Council of Europe Member States, which oversees the implementation of European Court judgments.
- Using new and creative approaches to persuade states to implement judgments. For example, requesting Infringement Proceedings, which allows the Committee of Ministers to refer a case back to the European Court where a state has failed to comply with a judgment.
We play an active role in the ongoing reform of the European Court, often commenting on issues of particularly significant to our applicants or partner organisations:
- We collaborate on joint submissions to the Committee of Ministers with other leading human rights NGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the AIRE Centre, Justice, the International Commission of Jurists, Liberty and Redress. Most recently, this group of NGOs came together to respond to ongoing discussions on the reform of the European Court, commenting on suggestions such as to charge applicants a fee to apply to the Court and the reduction of the time period during which an application can be submitted.
- At the international level, we liaise with and provide information to bodies such as the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Special Procedures.
- We meet with diplomats in the countries that we focus on, briefing them on developments in our cases and the most pressing issues affecting our applicants and partner organisations.
- We seek to comment on the European Convention and to emphasise its significance to people who cannot seek justice in their own countries.
- We support campaigns of relevance to our work, such as the Committee to Protect Journalists’ current campaign ‘Speak Justice: Voices against Impunity’ which is a digital media campaign against impunity for the murder of journalists.
Search the resource library to find the latest submissions, articles and actions taken in this area.