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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Will the ECtHR allow itself to be corrupted by the UK?

Will the ECtHR allow itself to be corrupted by the UK?

"Many international organizations, including the United Nations, are accused of lacking democratic accountability". The Council of Europe is guilty in this respect. However, the Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, observes that "The European Union, for example, realised that its own institutions needed a mechanism for complaints. The European Ombudsman, elected by the European Parliament, was set up precisely to deal with complaints from citizens concerning maladministration by EU institutions and bodies. Moreover, the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg is empowered to review claims from the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament and member states regarding the illegality of EU acts. Individuals may also challenge decisions addressed to them".

The 2007 Global Accountability Report Accountability Profile states that "The Council of Europe does not make any commitments regarding the handling of external complaints, nor does it have any management systems to support or oversee the handling of external complaints. Furthermore, no mechanism exists that enables external stakeholders to lodge complaints regarding organisational policies".

Now that the CJEU has acceded to the Convention, and given the Council of Europe's lack of democratic accountability, perhaps complaints could be heard before this court?

The Council of Europe's website states

"Our objectives

The primary aim of the Council of Europe is to create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of the continent, ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law

I intend to focus on just one area

"Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights

Respect of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and, in particular, of the European Court of Human Rights's judgments, is a crucial element of the Council of Europe's system for the protection of human rights, rule of law and democracy and, hence, for democratic stability and European unification

From the Supervision of the execution of judgments 2009 3rd annual report Council of Europe Committee of Ministers of the European Court of Human Rights

"Remarks by the Director General of Human Rights and Legal Affairs


1. The paramount importance of the swift and efficient execution of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (“the ECtHR”) has been rightly underscored once more by the high-level conference on the future of the ECtHR organised by the Swiss Chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers, held in Interlaken on 18-19 February.

2. The annual report is one of the tools adopted by the Committee of Ministers to improve overall understanding of the execution process and, hence, improve the process itself. It performs this function effectively notably by providing national governments with concrete examples of what is expected from them to comply fully with the requirements of a judgment of the ECtHR. The report also seems to have facilitated exchanges of information between governments and parliaments on the situation regarding the execution of judgments (encouraged in particular by Committee of Ministers Recommendation (2008)2 – the outstanding examples to date being the United Kingdom and the Netherlands1)

Between 1959-2010 the ECtHR has found the Netherlands guilty in 73 cases, whereas the UK has been found guilty in 271 cases.

There are at least two definitions of outstanding

1. Superior to others of its kind; distinguished.
2. Still in existence; not settled or resolved; a long outstanding problem.

Hirst v UK (No2) is still outstanding after 5 years! Given this record, it beggars belief that the Committee of Ministers can praise the UK as being an outstanding example. The current chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers is held by Turkey; with 2245 convictions for human rights violatons! The UK is set to become Chairman in November 2011.

In relation to my case, Urszula Gacek, Polish Ambassador to the Committee of Ministers, exposes the corruption within the CoM and explains why human rights abuses continue to go on unchecked.

As Urszula Gacek predicted, the CoM abdicated responsibility by kicking the ball into touch...


The Deputies,

1. recalled that, in the present judgment, delivered on 6 October 2005, the Court found that the general, automatic and indiscriminate restriction on the right of convicted prisoners in custody to vote, fell outside any acceptable margin of appreciation and was incompatible with Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention;

2. recalled that at the Deputies' 1100th meeting (November - December 2010), the United Kingdom authorities confirmed that they would present draft legislation in the near future, and noted that they remained committed to implementing the judgment;

3. noted the consideration of the issues raised in the judgment by Parliament on 11 January 2011 and 10 February 2011, as referred to by the United Kingdom authorities in their submission to the Committee (see DD(2011)139);

4. noted further that on 22 February 2011 the United Kingdom government requested a referral to the Grand Chamber of the pilot judgment Greens and M.T. which reiterates the conclusions in Hirst No. 2 and establishes a timetable for the United Kingdom authorities to propose legislation in order to execute both judgments;

5. decided, in light of the above, to resume consideration of the questions raised by the judgment once the referral request has been considered".

Notwithstanding that I believe the CoM has acted improperly, and that having read the UK's weak submissions to the Grand Chamber in Greens and MT v UK, I fear that the Court may allow its pure conscience of Europe to get tainted by the corruption from the UK and the CoM and allow the application. The reason being the Grand Chamber's complete reversal of the Chamber decision in Lautsi v Italy. The only difference being with mine is that if the UK succeeded it would be the Grand Chamber reversing another Grand Chamber decision.

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