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The European Court of


UNIT 13 The European Court of Human Rights The Council of Europe the first and most widely based European political institution an international intergovernmental ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The European Court of

UNIT 13 The European Court of Human Rights

The Council of Europe
  • the first and most widely based European
    political institution
  • an international intergovernmental organization
  • established on 5 May 1949 by 10 countries based
    in Strasbourg
  • comprises 47 member states covers virtually
  • the entire European continent (800 million
  • Main bodies
  • Committee of Ministers
  • Parliamentary Assembly
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Congress of Local and Regional Authorities
  • The Commissioner for Human Rights
  • The Conference on International NGOs

The Council of Europe main goals
  • Primary aim
  • to create a common democratic and legal area
    throughout the whole of
  • the continent, ensuring respect for its
    fundamental values
  • Human Rights... Democracy... Rule of Law
  • Main goals
  • safeguarding human rights, democracy and the rule
    of law
  • promoting social and economic rights
  • combating racism, xenophobia and intolerance
  • promoting cultural diversity in Europe
  • finding common solutions to societys problems
  • developing democratic citizenship through
    educational, youth, sport and heritage
  • It is active in all areas affecting European
    society except defence.

The European Convention on Human Rights ECHR
  • Official name The Convention for the Protection
    of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
  • an international treaty - leading international
    legal instrument safeguarding human rights
  • signed on 4 November 1950 in Rome by members of
    the Council of Europe (15 countries)
  • entered into force on 3 September 1953
  • today - 47 state parties/contracting parties
    signatories to the convention
  • the Convention and additional protocols oblige
    signatories to guarantee various civil and
    political freedoms

The Convention SECURES in particular
  • Right to life
  • Right to liberty and security
  • Right to a fair hearing/trial
  • Right to respect for private and family life
  • Freedom of expression
  • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
  • Protection of property
  • Right to marry

The Convention PROHIBITS in particular
  • torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or
  • slavery and forced labour,
  • arbitrary and unlawful detention
  • discrimination in the enjoyment of the rights and
  • freedoms set out in the Convention

Protocols to the Convention
  • texts which add one or more rights to the
    original Convention or amend certain of its
  • protocols which add rights to the Convention are
    binding only on those States that have signed and
    ratified them (a State that has merely signed a
    protocol without ratifying it will not be bound
    by its provisions)
  • to date - 14 additional protocols have been

ECHR- Application and Enforcement
  • -the Convention is applicable at national level
  • -it has been incorporated into the legislation of
    the States Parties
  • Courts with the jurisdiction to enforce the
  • domestic courts
  • the European Court of Human Rights

The Convention evolves
  • it evolves
  • by means of the interpretation of its provisions
    by the European Court of Human Rights -through
    its case-law the Court has made the Convention a
    living instrument
  • - when protocols add new rights (eg. Protocol
    No. 13 concerning the abolition of death penalty
    in all circumstances, or Protocol No. 12 on

The European Court of Human Rights
Establishment and Aim
  • judicial organ of the Council of Europe
  • set up under the Convention and its Protocols in
  • AIM to ensure the observance of the engagements
    undertaken by the Parties
  • - supervises implementation of the European
    Convention on Human Rights in member states
  • - examines violations of the European Convention
    on Human Rights
  • based in Strasbourg in the Human Rights Building
  • - to resolve all disputes concerning the
    interpretation and application of
  • the Convention and the protocols

Judges of the Court
  • the number of judges on the Court equals the
    number of Contracting Parties (47 at present)
  • elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the
    Council of Europe from lists of three candidates
    proposed by each State for a renewable term of 9
  • sit on the Court in their individual capacity -
    hear cases as individuals and do not represent
    their States - totally independent and impartial

Judges - Terms of office and dismissal (Article
  • 1 The judges shall be elected for a period of
    nine years. They may not be re-elected.
  • 2 The terms of office of judges shall expire when
    they reach the age of 70.
  • 3 The judges shall hold office until replaced.
    They shall, however, continue to deal with such
    cases as they already have under consideration.
  • 4 No judge may be dismissed from office unless
    the other judges decide.

Judges to the Court
  • Cases are heard by judges sitting in
  • 1. Single-judge formation (rules on
    admissibility of individual applications)
  • 2. Three-judge Committees (rule on
    admissibility declarations of inadmissibility by
    a unanimous vote)
  • 3. Seven-judge Chambers (rule on the
    admissibility and merits of a case - by a
    majority vote)
  • 4. The Grand Chamber of 17 judges (the President
    of the Court , the Vice-Presidents, the
    Presidents of the Chambers and other judges
    chosen in accordance with the rules of the Court)
  • - hears cases referred to it either
  • 1-after relinquishment by a Chamber or
  • 2-when a request for referral has been

Relinquishment of jurisdiction to the Grand
  • Where a case pending before a Chamber raises a
    serious question affecting the interpretation of
    the Convention or the protocols thereto, or
  • where the resolution of a question before the
    Chamber might have a result inconsistent with a
    judgment previously delivered by the Court,
  • the Chamber may, at any time before it has
    rendered its judgment, relinquish jurisdiction in
    favour of the Grand Chamber, unless one of the
    parties to the case objects

  • two types of application
  • individual applications (lodged by any person,
    group of individuals, company or NGO claiming to
    be the victim of a violation by one of the
    Contracting Parties of the rights set forth in
    the Convention or the protocols)
  • inter-state applications (brought by one State
    against another any Contracting Party may refer
    to the Court any alleged breach of the provisions
    of the Convention and the protocols by another
    High Contracting Party)

Procedure before the Court
  • cases can be brought directly by individuals
    (assistance of a lawyer is not necessary at the
    start of the proceedings)
  • it is sufficient to send the Court a duly
    completed application form with the requisite
  • the registration of an application by the Court
    is no guarantee that it will be admissible or
    successful on the merits
  • easy access to the Court - no fees for
    proceedings before the Court
  • the procedure is adversarial and public

Procedure before the Court
  • two main stages
  • 1) ADMISSIBILITY STAGE (certain requirements must
    be met)
  • 2) MERITS STAGE (examination of the complaints /
    actual violations of rights from the convention)
  • - committee finding that an application is
    not admissible will declare the case inadmissible
  • OR
  • a Chamber will give notice of the case to the
    respondent Government for their observations
  • written observations are submitted by both
  • the Court decides if it is appropriate to hold a
    public hearing in the case
  • the Chamber delivers a judgment that will become
    final only after the expiry of a three-month
    period (during which the applicant or Government
    may request the referral of the case to the Grand
    Chamber for fresh consideration)

Admissibility criteria
  • domestic remedies must be exhausted
  • an applicants allegations must concern one or
    more of the rights defined in the Convention
  • applications must be lodged within six months
    following the last judicial decision in the case
  • the applicant must be, personally and directly, a
    victim of a violation of the Convention
  • applications can only be lodged against one or
    more of the States Parties to the Convention (not
    against any third State or against an individual)

  • judgments finding violations are binding on the
    States concerned and they are obliged to execute
    them the execution of decisions is controlled
    by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of
  • inadmissibility decisions by Committees and
    Grand Chamber judgments are final and cannot be
    appealed against
  • the parties have three months following the
    delivery of a Chamber judgment to request
    referral of the case to the Grand Chamber for
    fresh consideration

The Languages of the Court
  • official languages English and French
  • applications drafted in one of the official
    languages of the Contracting States
  • when application declared admissible- the
    procedure continues in the Courts official
  • exceptionally President of the Grand Chamber may
    allow use of the language of application

CROATIA and the Council of Europe
  • - a member state of the Council of Europe since
    1996 (accession on 6 November 1996)
  • - Committee of Ministers representative Vesna
    Pusic (Minister of Foreign and European Affairs)
  • - Parliamentary Assembly - 5 representatives 5
  • ratification of the European Convention on Human
    Rights on 5 November 1997
  • judge to the European Court of Human Rights
    Ksenija Turkovic (professor at the Faculty of Law
    in Zagreb)

Reading comprehension
  • 1. Read the text on p. 60, 61 and do the
  • exercise
  • Exercise 1, p. 62
  • 2. Translate Article 6 from the European
    Convention on Human Rights into Croatian.

Essential expressions
  • to draft an application sastaviti zahtjev
  • to lodge an application(with the Court)
    podnijeti zahtjev
  • bring a case / an application podnijeti zahtjev
  • to declare a case admissible/inadmissible
    proglasiti predmet osnovanim/neosnovanim
  • Three-judge committee odbor od tri suca
  • Seven-judge Chamber Vijece od sedam sudaca
  • To execute a judgement provesti presudu
  • merit of case osnovanost zahtjeva
  • relinquishment ustupanje nadležnosti
  • referral of the case podnošenje predmeta
    (Velikom vijecu)
  • to refer a case podnositi/proslijediti predmet
  • term of office mandat
  • to apply / to be applicable primijeniti/primjenj
    iv, važeci
  • to come/enter into force stupiti na snagu
  • Member states of the Council of Europe zemlje
    clanice Vijece Europe
  • state parties / contracting parties of a
    convention/a treaty / signatories to the
    convention zemlje potpisnice konvencije /
    medunarodnog ugovora
  • to safeguard štititi, osigurati, jamciti
  • to accede accession pristupiti, pridružiti se
    pristupanje, pridruživanje
  • to ratify - ratification ratificirati -
  • a complaint žalba
  • to breach / violate / infringe a right a breach
    / violation / infringement kršiti krštenje
  • to observe a right observance poštivati
    poštivanje prava

Vocabulary practice - Collocations What do we do
with RIGHTS?
  • Sort the verbs according to their POSITIVE or
    NEGATIVE meaning?
  • to protect to observe to violate to
    diminish to acquire to guarantee to abuse to
    grant to respect to restrict to ensure


Vocabulary practice Word formation
  • Turn the following verbs into nouns.
  • VERB
  • to accede
  • to apply
  • to admit
  • to enforce
  • to enter into force
  • to expire
  • to implement
  • to observe
  • to ratify
  • to refer
  • to violate

Vocabulary practice Answer key
  • VERB
  • to accede
  • to apply
  • to admit
  • to enforce
  • to enter into force
    entry into force
  • to expire
  • to implement
  • to observe
  • to ratify
  • to refer
  • to violate

Case analysis
  • Rajak v. Croatia
  • Read the judgement and discuss the following
    questions with your partner.
  • What was Rajaks complaint about?
  • What did the Court find concerning the conduct of
    the Croatian authorities?
  • Which rights were violated?

  • Translate Protocol No. 13 to the Convention
  • for the Protection of Human Rights and
    Fundamental Freedoms