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[Press release] Reform of the European Court of Human Rights : Threats against the protection of fundamental rights

April 2012

[English] [français]

The future of the European Court of Human Rights is being discussed this week in Brighton, England, behind closed doors and with worrying obscurity. Human rights organizations are concerned about the possibility of adoption of reforms on the sly, which compromise fundamental rights.

From April 18th to 20th, representatives from the 47 member states of the Council of Europe are gathering in Brighton, England, for a High Level Conference on the Future of the European Court of Human Rights, organized under the leadership of the current British chairmanship of the Council of Europe.

Our organizations are seriously worried by the total absence of transparency of the draft Brighton statements, and the exclusion of civil society in the reform process.

Our organizations recall that the European system for the protection of human rights - one of the most advanced in the world - is a common good which must be preserved by all and for all. Consequently, we cannot allow its future to be discussed without an intermediary public project and without a large civil society consultation.

Our organizations remain conscious of the difficulties faced by the Court to address the significant growth of requests concerning allegations of human rights violations.

We recall that:

- The reforms already in place to reduce the volume of cases pending, especially since the entry into force in June 2010 of protocol 14, have already begun to bear fruit. The stress must be put on the amelioration of their implementation to fully produce the expected effects, and not on the adoption of new impulsive measures;

- The states have a primary responsibility to implement the European Convention for Human rights and the judgments of the Court. In fact, a significant part of requests concern violations that have already been condemned by the Court, without the states making the required changes.

Our organizations urgently demand that all delegations abstain from endorsing measures that would modify the Convention by seeking to codify or establish priorities in the subsidiary principles and a “margin of appreciation by states.” They also worry about the proposals to incite the Court to declare inadmissible all requests that have been duly examined at the national level.

The member states of the Council of Europe must ensure that no reform of the Court may cause a detriment to the protection of fundamental rights of European citizens or individual access to the European system, which is at the heart of the effective guarantee of these rights.

Contacts presse :
: Ophélie Latil 01 40 40 40 24 / 07 61 71 66 69 ophelie.latil@acatfrance.fr
Amnesty International France : Laure Delattre 01 53 38 65 41 / 06 76 94 37 05 ldelattre@amnesty.fr (Un représentant d’Amnesty International assistera à la Conférence)
FIACAT : Nathalie Jeannin 00 41 78 74 99 328 n.jeannin@fiacat.org
Justice et Paix : Denis Viénot 01 72 36 69 03 / 06 80 73 25 27 denis.vienot@cef.fr
Ordre des avocats de Paris : Amélie Guiraud 01 44 32 48 14

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