Thursday 26 January 2017

The Court in 2016: Overview

At his annual press conference today, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Guido Raimondi, presented an overview of the Court's work over the past year. The most important issues: in 2016, for the first time after a two-year decrease, the number of incoming cases was on the rise again, and quite considerably so. at the end of December 2016, 79,750 were pending in Strasbourg. this is a rise of 23% compared to a year earlier. After the decreases of the previous years, which seemed to make inroads in the huge backlog of cases, this rise is worrying obviously. Especially, if we consider that the Court internally has been working even more efficiently in 2016 (a rise of 32% of allocated cases) To a considerable extent, it seems to be caused by complaints about detention conditions in Hungary and Romania and with the situation in turkey, especially after the failed July coup. Moreover, the number of decisions on interim measures also rose with a staggering 56% to 1,926 in 2016. Two thirds of these requests concern expulsion cases.

Further statistics (including overviews for each ECHR State Party) also give an indication were human rights are under pressure on the largest scale: at the end of 2016 the majority of pending applications concerned Ukraine (22.8 %), Turkey (15.8 %), Hungary (11.2%), Russia (9.8 %), and Romania (9.3 %). Almost 70 percent of all pending cases thus concern only five countries. Half the priority cases concerned Ukraine. As to violations found in 2016 by the Court, a handy overview shows that the top countries against which the Court found at least one human rights violation per case are largely the same ones: Russia (228 judgments), Turkey (88), Romania (86), Ukraine (73), Greece (45) and Hungary (41).

The full webcast of the press conference can be watched here.