Wednesday 25 January 2017

New Judges in respect of the Netherlands and Hungary

Yesterday, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe elected two new judges to the European Court of Human Rights. For the Netherlands, judge Jolien Schukking was elected. Judge Schukking was preferred over two other similarly very well-qualified Dutch ECHR experts, professors Rick Lawson and Martin Kuijer. All three are currently fellow board member here at the Dutch human rights law review (Nederlands Tijdschrift voor de Mensenrechten) - as a journal board we are obviously very proud of all three and especially of Jolien. Many congratulations, Jolien!

Jolien Schukking is an experienced national judge, currently in the Administrative High Court for Trade and Industry (College van Beroep voor het bedrijfsleven), one of the (four) highest Administrative Courts in the Netherlands. Previously, she was a judge at the first instance court of Utrecht, dealing with both refugee law and criminal law cases. She has also been active as a solicitor. Jolien Schukking is no stranger to Strasbourg, as she was a senior legal officer with the dutch Foreign Ministry in the past, amongst others representing the country in human rights proceedings at the European Court as well as leading the Dutch delegation on negotiations on Protocols 12 and 13 ECHR. She has even worked at the former European Commission of Human Rights for some time. She also has experience in UN human rights law. Jolien Schukking has also been active in training and teaching judges on the ECHR internationally and is currently a board member of both the Foundation Judges for Judges and a member of the International Association for Refugee Law Judges.

In respect of Hungary, the choice fell on Mr Péter Paczolay. Again, a very experienced judge, having been judge at Hungary's Constitutional Court from 2006 to 2015, of which he was President since 2008 until 2015, when the recent changes to the Constitutional Court were made by the government. Also well-known and appreciated in the Council of Europe, e.g. though his work for the Venice Commission, the Commission “for Democracy through Law” in which he served and three years ago was made honorary President. Whatever the current political developments in his own country, it is great to see the Parliamentary Assembly did value his credentials in staunchly defending and upholding the rule of law (to note: an earlier list of three candidates submitted by Hungary was sent back by the Assembly). Congratulations too! 

Both new judges have been elected for a term of nine years and should start working in Strasbourg within three months.