01:49 GMT +318 February 2019
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    Commissioner Admits Failures of European HR Court Amid Challenges to Judgements

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    Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks has admitted there are increasing challenges to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), with 11,000 judgements never having been implemented because of questions over legal sovereignty.

    In his latest comment on the work of the court Muiznieks has admitted that: "Direct challenges to the authority of the Court within a handful of member states have also become more explicit and vocal. They have gone beyond prolonged non-implementation of a few of the Court's judgments."

    ​The Legal and Human Rights Committee of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly found that there was a rising number of judgments concerning complex or structural problems, so-called "leading" cases, that have not been implemented for more than ten years. It expressed its concern about the approximately 11,000 non-implemented judgments pending before the Committee of Ministers.

    "While the 2015 Annual Report of the Committee of Ministers on the execution of the Court's judgments shows that a new record number of cases were closed in 2015, there is a continued increase of cases pending for more than five years. In 2011 these cases accounted for 20 percent of the total number of cases, while by the end of 2015 that figure had risen to 55 percent. The number of "leading" cases pending, those indicating structural problems, has also risen steeply from 278 cases in 2011 to 685 cases in 2015," Muiznieks wrote.

    Increasing Challenges

    The  is not an institution of the European Union. It was created on January 21, 1959 under the European Convention on Human Rights and whose jurisdiction is recognized by all 47 member states of the Council of Europe, which include all members of the European Union.

    European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg
    European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg

    However, the ECHR has come in for increasing criticism over its judgments, which some states claim overrise national sovereignty. The UK Government has said it will abolish its Human Rights Act and "curtail the role of the European Court of Human Rights, so that foreign criminals can be more easily deported from Britain."

    The authority of Strasbourg judgments has also been questioned in Russia. In December last year, the Federal law on the Federal Constitutional Court was amended to allow the Russian Constitutional Court to declare some judgments of the Strasbourg Court (and other human rights bodies) unconstitutional and therefore impossible to implement.

    "Some judgments may be difficult to implement because of technical reasons, or because they touch extremely sensitive and complex issues of national concern, or because they are unpopular with the majority population," Muiznieks wrote.

    "Nevertheless, the Convention system crumbles when one member state, and then the next, and then the next, cherry-pick which judgments to implement. Non-implementation is also our shared responsibility and we must not turn a blind eye to it any longer."


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