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The European Court of Human Rights
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The European Court of Human Rights

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  1. The European Court of Human Rights

  2. Human Rights • The protection of human rights is a basic goal of the Council of Europe • Main aims: • to reinforce European solidarity while guaranteeing respect for individuals, their rights and freedoms • To identify new threats to human rights and dignity • To promote public awareness of the importance of human rights

  3. The European Convention on Human Rights • Drawn up within the Council of Europe • Starting point was the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) • Signed in Rome on November 4, 1950 by Ministers of 15 European countries • Entered into force on September 3, 1953

  4. Video clip about the Convention • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOcmUQTgjCw&feature=plcp&context=C335a35cUDOEgsToPDskI6W3znOYbNheSgWr1z38n3

  5. Establishment of the Court • The Convention established an international judicial organ with jurisdiction to find against the States that do not fulfil their undertakings • The Court is a supranational court

  6. Importance of the Convention • The most effective human rights treaty in the world • A treaty by which the member states of the Council of Europe have sought to guarantee fundamental human rights to all those within its jurisdiction • The protection machinery set up in Strasbourg

  7. The rights and freedoms protected by the Convention • The right to life, liberty and security of person • The right to a fair trial in civil and criminal matters • Freedom of thought, conscience and religion • Freedom of expression (including freedom of the press)

  8. Prohibitions • The Convention prohibits: • Torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment • The death penalty • Slavery and forced labour • Discrimination in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Convention • Expulsion of a state’s own nationals

  9. Protocols • A protocol to the Convention is a text which adds one or more rights to the original Convention or amends certain of its provisions • To date, 14 additional protocols have been adopted • 1 June 2010 - Entry into force of the Protocol No. 14, whose aim is to guarantee the long-term efficiency of the Court

  10. Evolution of the Convention • The Convention evolves especially by means of the interpretation of its provisions by the European Court of Human Rights. • Through its case law, the Court has extended the rights afforded and has applied them to situations that were not foreseeable when the Convention was first adopted

  11. Organisation of the Court • Composed of a number of judges equal to that of the contracting states (currently 47) • Judges are elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe for a renewable term of six years • Judges are impartial arbiters, rather than representatives of any State

  12. The Registry • The Registry is the body of staff that provides the Court with legal and administrative support in its judicial work. • It is made up of lawyers, administrative and technical staff and translators

  13. The Court’s budget • The Court’s expenditure is borne by the Council of Europe • For 2009 the Court’s budget amounted to 56 million euros and it covered salaries of judges and staff and various overheads (travel, translation, publications etc.)

  14. Functions of the Court • The Court applies the Convention • Its task is to ensure that States respect the rights and guarantees set out in the Convention • It does this by examining complaints known as “applications” lodged by individuals or States

  15. The Court’s composition Cases are heard by one of three main formations: • Three –judge Comittee (manifestly inadmissible applications; unanimous vote) • Nine-judge Chamber (rules by a majority vote, mostly on the admissibility and merits of a case) – expanded from seven originally • The Grand Chamber of 21 judges (formerly 17)

  16. The Court’s jurisdiction • The Court has jurisdiction to hear allegations of violations of the European Convention on Human Rights and does so on receiving individual or inter-State applications • The Court cannot take up cases of its own motion

  17. Applications • Individual applications are lodged by any person, group, company or NGO having a complaint about a violation of their rights • State application is brought by one State against another • Almost all applications so far have been lodged by individuals

  18. Proceedings before the Court • The admissibility stage (the application must meet certain requirements) • The merits stage (the examination of the complaint) • If the application is declared admissible (1 out of every 20 cases), the Court advocates reaching a friendly settlement, which ranges from a change in the law(s) to compensation • The procedure is adversarial (the parties to a case have to find the evidence themselves) and public

  19. Judgments • Where the Court finds that a member State has violated one or more rights and guarantees, the Court delivers a judgment • Judgments are binding: the countries concerned are under an obligation to comply with them

  20. What is the Court not able to do • The Court does not act as a court of appeal • The Court will not intercede directly on your behalf with the authority you are complaining about • The Court will not help you find or pay a lawyer to draw up your application • The Court cannot give you any information on legal provisions in force in the State against which your complaint is directed

  21. The application • The application can be written in one of the Court’s official languages (English and French) or in the language of one of the States that have ratified the Convention • It must contain a brief summary of the facts, and indication of the Convention rights that have allegedly been violated, the remedies already used, copies of the decision given in the case and the signature of the applicant

  22. Rules for applications • A non-anonymous petitioner must bring the case to the Court within six months of the final domestic ruling on it • The issue must be a violation of a guarantee set forth in the European Convention • The applicant must be a “victim”

  23. The Court’s activity • Over 30,000 new applications are lodged every year • 64% of the violations found by the Court concern Article 6 (right to a fair hearing) or Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 (protection of property)

  24. Vocabulary • Council of Europe – Vijeće Europe • Treaty – međunarodni ugovor • Jurisdiction – nadležnost • The death penalty – smrtna kazna • Expulsion – progon • Parliamentary Assembly – Parlamentarna Skupština • Term of office – mandat • Violation of human rights – kršenje ljudskih prava • Adversarial procedure – akuzatorni postupak • Binding judgment – obvezujuća presuda

  25. ECHR The conscience of Europe • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJdoe02cY0U • When was ECHR set up? • What is the most common complaint to ECHR? • Which social issues has it dealt with so far?

  26. Translate the following: • ARTICLE 2 • Right to life • 1. Everyone’s right to life shall be protected by law. No one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a crime for which this penalty is provided by law. • 2. Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary: • (a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence; • (b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained; • (c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.

  27. Vocabulary • Execution of a sentence of a court – izvršenje presude • Conviction of a crime- osuda za kazneno djelo • In contravention of – u suprotnosti s • Unlawful violence – protupravno nasilje • Lawfully detained person – osoba zakonito lišena slobode • To quel a riot – suzbiti pobunu • Insurrection - ustanak

  28. Translation • ČLANAK 2. • Pravo na život • 1. Pravo svakoga na život zaštićeno je zakonom. Nitko ne smije biti namjerno lišen života osim u izvršenju sudske presude na smrtnu kaznu za kazneno djelo za koje je ta kazna predviđena zakonom. • 2. Nije u suprotnosti s odredbama ovog članka lišenje života proizašlo iz upotrebe sile koja je bila nužno potrebna: • a) pri obrani bilo koje osobe od protupravnog nasilja; • b) pri zakonitom uhićenju ili pri sprečavanju bijega osobe zakonito lišene slobode; • c) radi suzbijanja pobune ili ustanka u skladu sa zakonom.

  29. Thank you for your attention!