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Monday, December 13, 2010

The role of judges in the enforcement of judicial decisions

The role of judges in the enforcement of judicial decisions

Press release - 953(2010)

Strasbourg, 09.12.2010 – The Consultative Council of European Judges (CCJE) of the Council of Europe has adopted Opinion No. 13 on the role of judges in the enforcement of judicial decisions which is an essential element of the functioning of a State, based on the rule of law.

The CCJE drafted the Opinion on the basis of replies received from 32 member States to a questionnaire. The replies from most of the member States show numerous obstacles to an efficient and appropriate enforcement of judicial decisions. These obstacles concern civil, administrative and criminal matters.

The Opinion proposes concrete criteria in order to increase the role of the judge concerning the enforcement of judicial decisions. This is essential for citizen's trust in justice and plays also an important role in the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights (Article 6 of the ECHR).

The role of the judge has been examined concerning the enforcement of civil, administrative and criminal court decisions, as well as in the international field referring, in particular, to execution of ECHR judgements.

Opinion No. 13 on the role of judges in the enforcement of judicial decisions

Comment: This follows on from the Interlaken Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights on 18/19 February 2010. Basically, the Court felt that it's authority was threatened by the backlog of more than 120,000 cases, many repetitive cases from Member States failing to comply with the Court's judgments. A knock on effect would be the collapse of the Council of Europe. Therefore, the 47 Member States agreed to give the Court and Committee of Ministers and Council of Europe more powers to remedy the situation and impose sanctions upon rogue or pariah states.

Alarm bells should be ringing out in the UK when it is pointed out that our Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law in this country are in danger. And yet, there is a deafening silence in the MainStreamMedia.

However, we do hear noises about scrapping the Human Rights Act 1998, and pulling out of the European Union and/or Council of Europe, and let's not give convicted prisoners the vote.

And today, our so-called free press, which neither has a vote nor has been elected, attempts to get David Cameron to remove Kenneth Clarke from office and replace him with someone who is prepared to dance to the extreme right wing media tune of 'hang 'em and flog 'em and throw away the key'.



Monday December 13,2010
By Daily Express reporter

THERE were always doubts about David Cameron’s commitment to getting to grips with Britain’s problems of crime and law and order. He spoke too softly-softly.

But by making Kenneth Clarke head of the Ministry of Justice he has exceeded our worst fears, his party’s and his own. It now seems Clarke will soon be removed to a lesser post where his ability to do damage will be neutralised.

His anti-prison pronouncements have caused widespread anger; his complacent attitude to releasing mentally unstable prisoners is alarming.

For a Government facing all sorts of other problems the Clarke fiasco is extremely unwelcome. Mr Cameron has to some extent brought it on himself. In his desire to add gravitas he brought an old maverick back expecting to be able to control him. He was wrong.


Monday December 13,2010
By Macer Hall, Political Editor

Kenneth Clarke is being lined up for a “graceful exit” from the Ministry of Justice

KENNETH Clarke is being lined up for a “graceful exit” from the Ministry of Justice following outrage at his soft-touch approach to jail sentences, Whitehall sources indicated yesterday.

Prime Minister David Cameron is believed to be frustrated at the Justice Secretary’s maverick approach to law and order and his determination to lock up fewer offenders.

One Downing Street source said the Tory veteran could be shifted to a less high-profile Cabinet post in an attempt to prevent the coalition from looking weak on crime.

“Ken has to be reined in before he does any more damage,” said the insider yesterday. One plan is to shift him to Leader of the House in a mini-Cabinet reshuffle next year.

Many Tory MPs were aghast last week when Mr Clarke unveiled a “rehabilitation revolution” in the judicial system.

His plans included wider use of non-custodial “community payback” sentences for all but the most serious offenders. Mr Clarke caused particular annoyance in Downing Street by giving the impression he wanted to scrap minimum sentences for murder and knife crime.

He is understood to have been summoned to Mr Cameron’s office in the Commons to explain the presentation fiasco.

In an embarrassing clarification, the Ministry of Justice had to issue a statement insisting that the minimum sentences were not being abandoned.

But Mr Clarke inflamed the row at the weekend with a characteristically cavalier dismissal of concerns about his jail overhaul.

Asked in an interview about the risks posed by releasing mentally unstable offenders from prison, he said: “You have to explain to the sensible public you can’t give an absolute guarantee.” He added that it was “loopy” to suggest crime could be solved by “locking everyone up”.

Whilst I am highlighting a real cause for alarm, the Daily Express comes out with this load of alarmist nonsense. Take it like you would with a bag of crisps, that is, a pinch of salt. I suspect that Macer Hall is practising for the Booker Award for Fiction. I do believe in the right of journalists to protect their genuine sources, however when guff like this is written on the so-called say so of anonymous sources it brings the whole thing into disrepute. In the new media of the internet anonymous tends to get short shrift.

In 2006 Mr Clarke said: "In these home affairs things I think occasionally it's the duty of politicians on both sides to turn round to the tabloids and right-wing newspapers and say, 'You have your facts wrong and you're whipping up facts which are inaccurate'."

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