On January 30, 2014, President Dean Spielmann spoke at the annual press conference of the ECHR. In evaluating 2013 reports and statistics, he said that the Court’s work has been quite remarkable and produced good results and kept building upon the improvements made in 2012. He pointed out the results were truly impressive because the court was able to achieve an even greater output than last year.
One aspect of improvement was on the number of high case-count countries, such as Turkey, Romania, and Poland. The backlogs of manifestly inadmissible applications that are coming from those countries were eliminated, and the other countries, such as Germany and France have no backlog at all.
President Spielmann talked about positive improvements on the number of new applications received. He stated compared to previous years, the numbers are stable and this itself is a big improvement. Further, he mentioned positive directions on the number of applications determined judicially, the number of pending cases, and the creation of special account for voluntary contributions. He mentioned 18 different countries, which already funded this special account with their voluntary contributions.
The statistics about individual states was also provided. For instance, Turkey is now in the fifth place after being in the second place for a long time. He urged that the improvements and reforms carried out in Turkey are good steps in moving towards to a right direction. Even the number of cases that come from Russia has dropped down from 43,000 to 16,000 at present, and the President said it would not be a surprise if this trend continues.
Despite these improvements, the statistics for Italy and Ukraine did not come out as satisfying. He announced that Italy became the second highest case-count, with a total number of 14,600 pending applications. Additionally, the number of applications coming from Ukraine is high as well. The statistics show that there are 27,000 cases pending at present.
Moreover, the President mentioned that a Turkish-language of HUDOC has been made available for two months now, and a Russian version will be provided soon. The President ended his speech by announcing that seven new factsheets will be published concerning a variety of themes. For those who are interested may access to these factsheets at ECHR official website.
Despite several unsatisfying results, it is explicitly shown that the Court’s work has gradually been paying off, and many countries around the world have been taking crucial steps in improving their laws to meet the ECHR standard and remedying for those injured. Do you think these positive improvements will continue? How effective do you think are the ECHR holdings on countries around the world in taking positive steps to provide their citizens basic human rights? Are there any suggestions or ideas you can think of to reach results that are even more satisfying for future years?
This is a breath of fresh air! It is great to see positive and improving results in international law. A lot of people think of it as ineffective. I foresee these positive improvements continuing. The ECHR is set on finding ways to constantly improve and to better serve european nations. This active incentive and the individual acts of nations will help the change to continue to grow.
There is always room for improvement. But I think that if the Court makes it a goal to continue making improvements, the international community can really benefit. Maybe other courts will follow suit and implement some of the ECHR’s strategies for improvement.
This is a great sign and hopefully a positive sign of things to come in the future. International law can be quite tricky and difficult at times but it is great to see that the European Court of Human Rights is taking steps to lay down some stability and foundation. I see this positive trend even more important because we are talking about the European Court of Human Rights, which in essence deals with providing individuals with their basic human rights. If the European Court of Human Rights is able to continue improving this trend it will pay off huge dividends. Something as important as an individual’s basic human rights will receive better protection. The European Court of Human Rights should be active in finding ways to improve and to better serve European nations and its citizens. Obviously, there are still areas that need improvement. For example, as stated above the statistics for Italy and Ukraine were not as impressive. However, as stated above, there are signs that the Court’s work has been gradually paying off. Furthermore, there are many other countries that have been taking steps in improving their laws in order to meet the Court’s standards. Overall, this is a great sign and something that the international community can really benefit from.