Tuesday 4 October 2011

A History of Violations in Statistics per State

The European Court of Human Rights has published an online statistical overview of its entire history of judgments grouped per state in pie charts 'Statistics on Judgments per State'. It covers the whole period of 1959 to 2010. For each country it shows a division into which rights were mostly at stake and what the outcome of the proceedings was (violation, no violation, striking out of list, friendly settlement).

The pie charts show that, as is widely known, most violations concern the right to a fair trial (including the notorious problem of too lengthy judicial proceedings), the right to liberty and the protection of property (these taken together take up 71% of the total). But the differences between countries are quite striking. Sometimes this is due to the relatively small number of judgments concerning a certain counry. For Andorra 50% of the very small number of violations found was about the prohibtion of discrimination. Often, it gives an insight into where the biggest human rights problems for a particular country can be found (at least within the sphere of ECHR rights). For Hungary, for example, a striking 82% of violations concerned the length of proceedings, in Bosnia 32% of violations related to the protection of property. The same variety can be found in the outcome of proceedings: whereas for Bulgaria and Russia only 1% ends up in friendly settlements, for Iceland this is 25% percent. Even taking account the obvious difference in size between the countries and the number of complaints, it also might show a different attitude in working towards outcomes which are acceptable for both applicants and states. For Turkey, for example, which also has to deal with a high numer of complaints, the percentage is 8%.

The overview also shows the grand total of the Court's history: 96% of all applications was either inadmissible or struck out. Only 4% ended up in a judgment. Again a clear pointer that any concerns or fears that the Court is encroaching on a large scale on national powers should be put into perspective.