Monday 29 September 2008

10,000th Court Judgment

This month the European Court of Human Rights reached a remarkable milestone. On 18 September it delivered its 10,000th judgment, both a testimony to the Court's very high efficiency as well as a sad reminder of the enormous case load - and the underlying human rights problems. Far gone are the days when ECHR presidents claimed that the Court had a busy year when it issued more than five judgments. Ever since its first judgment (Lawless v. Ireland) in 1961 the Court's output has been increasing, especially since it became a full time Court in 1998. Out of the 10,000 judgments, 4,000 alone were delivered in the last three years! No wonder that president Jean-Paul Costya emphasized in a statement at the occasion of the milestone that the real solution is to be found in an increased national protection of human rights.

Pending reforms (under the new Protocol 14 and in other ways) the future looks rather grim in this respect. At this moment the amount of currently pending applications is ten times higher than the total of all ECHR judgments and is nearing the sad 100,000 benchmark. Perhaps symbolically, the 10,000th case (Takhayeva and others v. Russia) was another Chechnyan disappearance case, no doubt not the last one...

With this post this blog is resuming after its summer break. More posts on recent ECHR judgments will follow later this week.