Guaranteeing the authority and effectiveness of the
European Convention on Human Rights
Resolution 1856 (2012)1
Parliamentary Assembly pays tribute to the extraordinary
contribution that the European Court of Human Rights (“the
Court”) has made to the protection of human rights in Europe.
In so doing, it recognises the subsidiary nature of the
supervisory mechanism established by the European Convention
on Human Rights (ETS No. 5, “the Convention”), notably the
fundamental role which national authorities, namely
governments, courts and parliaments, must play in guaranteeing
and protecting human rights.
Assembly reiterates that the right of individual application,
which lies at the heart of the Convention machinery, has to be
preserved in essence, and that the Court must be in a position
to dispose of applications within a reasonable time, while
maintaining the quality and authority of its judgments. It
follows that priority must be given to difficulties
encountered in states which do not appropriately implement
Convention standards. Therefore, the Court should be
encouraged to continue to prioritise cases in line with its
recently adopted policy.
this, it transpires that, in order to ensure the long-term
effectiveness of the Convention system, there is a need to
strengthen and enhance the authority of Convention rights at
the national level (including the res interpretata
authority of the Court’s case law), to improve the
effectiveness of domestic remedies in states with major
structural problems, and to ensure rapid and effective
implementation of the judgments of the Court. National
parliaments can play a key role in stemming the flood of
applications submerging the Court by, for instance, carefully
examining whether (draft) legislation is compatible with
Convention requirements and by ensuring that states promptly
and fully comply with the Court’s judgments.
this connection, the Assembly reiterates its call for
parliaments to establish appropriate internal structures to
ensure rigorous and regular monitoring of states' compliance
with international human rights obligations (Resolution 1823
(2011) “National parliaments: guarantors of human rights in
Europe”) and, in particular, effective parliamentary oversight
of the implementation of the Court’s judgments (Resolution
1516 (2006) on the implementation of judgments of the European
Court of Human Rights, paragraph 22.1).
5. As the
post-Interlaken debate on the future of the Convention system
does not sufficiently take into account the role of
parliaments (Resolution 1823 (2011), paragraph 5.2), the
Assembly, as well as national parliaments, must ensure that
they are provided with an opportunity to scrutinise reports
which member states have been required to submit to the
Committee of Ministers on national implementation of relevant
parts of the Interlaken and Izmir Declarations.
Finally, the authority and effectiveness of the Convention
system are contingent on the political will and commitment of
member states to provide the Organisation with the appropriate
financial means to implement its human rights mandate. The
difficult budgetary predicament in which the Council of Europe
finds itself must be given urgent attention in member states,
especially the legislative branches of state authority, given
the latter’s decisive role in the determination of state
1 Assembly debate on 24 January
2012 (4th Sitting) (see Doc.
12811, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human
Rights, rapporteur: Ms Bemelmans-Videc). Text adopted by
the Assembly on 24 January 2012 (4th Sitting).
Recommendation 1991 (2012).