Yesterday, 12 april, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Ccouncil of Europe elected two new judges to the European Court of Human Rights. In respect of Norway, mr Erik Møse was elected and in respect of Switzerland Ms Helen Keller.
Erik Møse is a Supreme Court Justice in Norway and a human rights expert with a wide international experience. For over ten years (1999-2009) he was judge and even for three years president of the Rwanda Tribunal (ICTR). This might, by the way, strengthen the European Court's expertise on humanitarian and international criminal law - an often criticised 'blind spot' in the Court's case-law. Møse is also very familiar with the Strasbourg system (according to the website of Essex University, to which he is associated) as he was involved in the negotiations leading to Protocols six to eleven of the European Convention on Human Rights. He also pleaded cases before the Court and Commission of Human Rights. Finally, he has been chairman of the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee for Human Rights and the Committee which drafted the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture. He received 93 of a total of 160 votes cast. Møse's term of office will start on 1 September 2011.
Helen Keller is a professor of International Law, Constitutional Law and European Law at the University of Zurich. Her books, which may be familiar to the readers of this blog, are leading in the field and include issues such as the impact of the ECHR on national legal systems and friendly settlements. In addition, as a current member of the United Nation's Human Rights Committee, which supervises state obligations under the ICCPR, she brings in additional expertise about global human rights protection. Her term will start on 4 October 2011.
Two strong additions to the Court, it would seem to me. I wish them both good luck in starting to work in the world's busiest and most active international court!