Council of Europe (CoE)
Press release on the newly released report, NGOs and the Judges of the ECHR 2009-2019
The European Centre for Law and Justice, a Strasbourg-based NGO, has released a report entitled “NGOs and the Judges of the ECHR 2009-2019” which provides evidence of NGOs using their influence on the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), its judges and rulings.
This report caught our attention, not least because Russia has repeatedly pointed out to its CoE colleagues instances of major Western human rights NGOs exerting implicit and explicit influence on the ECHR, which is being analysed in this paper.
At first glance, the report’s setbacks are technical in nature, such as a lack of stringent requirements for self-recusal by the judges who have connections with the NGOs interested in the outcome of the case; non-disclosure by the applicants or their representatives of information about ties with the NGOs that provide funding for filing a complaint; lack of judicial experience among some ECHR members and so forth. However, these aspects directly affect the quality, impartiality and fairness of the court rulings.
We believe that our colleagues from the Council of Europe and member states of the organisation should pay attention to this report, which may provide valuable “food for thought” in the context of ongoing ECHR reform. Russia has always advocated a strong but non-politicised European Court. It appears that due consideration by all parties of the existing shortcomings in the ECHR activities during the reform will make it possible to adjust and ultimately minimise the “political” side effects involved in its practice.