Wednesday 14 November 2012

New ECHR Protocols and Structural National Problems

A few weeks ago, at the end of October, the Committee of experts on the Reform of the Court (DH-GDR), met again to further discuss future Protocols 15 and 16 to the Convention (see my earlier reporting here). The report of this most recent meeting

All of these drafts will now be discussed by the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH) at the end of November. The documents relating to the Committee's work can be perused here (and here in French). This website also includes reports of the meetings which give some insights into which points were discussed in the negotiations. An example is that the Commissioner for Human Rights will be given the right to participate in advisory opinion proceedings (in the new Protocol 16). It also set up a drafting group "C" (on the practice of interim measures and on the possibility of creating a "representative application procedure"- an additional way of dealing with large numbers of situations relating to the same human rights issue in a certain country, akin to class actions and collective complaints) and designated an expert consultant, Mr Martin Eaton, to prepare a draft toolkit to inform national public officials about state obligations under the ECHR.

The texts discussed at the meeting were:

In a separate process, the Legal Affairs Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly approved a report this Monday, entitled 'Ensuring the viability of the Strasbourg Court: structural deficiencies in States Parties'. Written by rapporteur Serhii Kivalov from Ukraine, the report focuses on what national authorities could and should do to counter and prevent structural and systemic human rights violations. This would enable the Court to be less burdened with repetitive applications. The last pages of the reprot also give a handy overview of all the pilot judgments so far. The report indicates that nine states face the most structural problems: Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, the Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine.