Implementation of the ECHR, Our Shared Responsibility

25 March 2015

Tomorrow, on 26 March, Council of Europe states meet in Brussels for a high-level conference entitled, ‘Implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), our shared responsibility’. With over 11,000 judgments unimplemented by Council of Europe states at the end of 2013, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of the implementation mechanism.

The purpose of the Brussels conference is to adopt a political declaration and an action plan capable of giving fresh impetus to the reform process begun in 2010 with the InterlakenIzmir and Brighton declarations, while emphasising both the shared responsibility for implementation of the ECHR and the execution of the judgments of the ECtHR. Indeed, while the ECtHR’s backlog has been reduced, many challenges remain. Despite recent progress, there is still a large number of cases pending at the Court (68,000) and some 50% of those are repetitive cases raising issues which have already been considered by the Court. Further improvements are clearly still needed at the national level.

On 26 February 2015, EHRAC, along with 9 other prominent human rights NGOs, signed a joint statement in response to the draft Brussels Declaration on the ‘Implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, our shared responsibility’. While the NGO statement commended efforts to improve the implementation of Court judgments, it also set out their concerns with the current draft, as well as recommendations for improvement.

At the conference, EHRAC is taking part in an official side event (Thursday 26 March, 1730 – 1830): ‘Implementation of Convention Rights and Judgments: The Key Role of NGOs and NHRIs’. The speakers include representatives of the AIRE Centre, European Network of National Human Rights Institutions, the Open Society Justice Initiative and Amnesty International. EHRAC director Prof. Philip Leach will be speaking about EHRAC’s work relating to the implementation of judgments (including Volkov v Ukraine and Yuri & Klaus Kiladze v Georgia).

Philip Leach and Dr. Alice Donald (Middlesex University) have written a blog on the implementation of judgments, (for EJIL) which discusses where they believe draft Brussels Declaration falls short.