Friday 9 March 2012

NGO Letter and Comments on Brighton Reform Proposals

A group of leading human rights NGOs is calling for more transparency and civil society involvement in the Court's reform process. The group, consisting of Amnesty International, the AIRE Centre, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre (EHRAC), Human Rights Watch, INTERIGHTS, the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), JUSTICE and REDRESS, has addressed an open letter on this issue to the member states of the Council of Europe. Unlike what happened with the first draft, which was leaked to the media two weeks ago, the NGOs call for a more open and inclusive process in which new drafts are made public in a timely way in order to allow for civil society input.

The coalition of NGOs, which was earlier involved in galvanising civil society during the Interlaken process, also issued joint preliminary comments on the leaked Brighton draft. The core of the comments reflect the criticism that I have voiced on this blog earlier and which is also shared by the group of other NGOs on which I posted yesterday:

"Against this background we are deeply concerned that some measures at the heart of this Draft have the potential to marginalise and undermine the functioning of the Court without the evidence having been produced to establish that such radical change is needed and with little recognition of the damage they could do to the Convention system in the long-term. ... We are particularly concerned at two aspects of the draft Declaration:

· The proposal to incorporate the principle of subsidiarity and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation – broadly defined – into the text of the Convention.
· The proposals to amend the admissibility criteria."
To be continued!