The European Court of Human Rights is a ‘supra-national’ court that was formed by the European Convention on Human Rights. This provides legal options for those in Europe who feel that their civil rights have been violated. Despite popular belief, the European Court of Human Rights has nothing to do with the EU and so cannot be accused of being designed in order to encourage integration. Rather it is part of a treaty that was spearheaded following WW2.
However that said the European Court of Human Rights is yet able to make rulings that are respected by the countries that were party to the convention. This has lead to some controversies such as accusations that the courts is ‘micromanaging’ those countries. Proponents of the European Court of Human Rights of course argue that the court needs to make such rulings in order to prevent human rights violations across the continent. The court thus can prevent inhumane human rights violations from occurring across the world – the original intention of course being to prevent situations like Nazi Germany from occurring.
However this of course a large large undertaking and by taking on cases from across Europe the court has given itself a very heavy workload. There are currently over 100,000 cases that have yet to be heard by the council and this looks set to increase. That number alone would take three years to get through but on top of that there are of course many more cases consistently coming in. A new protocol however is being put in place that aims to speed up this process.
Meanwhile some recent rulings of the court have been highly controversial. For instance they have recently stated that prisoners must be granted the right to vote which has coursed uproar in many countries. So much so is this the case in fact that some countries are considering withdrawing from the convention. Of course the idea behind this is a positive one – that even those who have broken the law should be given equal human rights and should be able to decide who gets into power. When you think about it often they are in prison in the first place because they didn’t agree with the laws of the people currently in power. However at the same time others feel that someone who has broken a law in perhaps a serious way such as murder should not be then treated equally when it comes to voting. Others argue that while some countries may not like this ruling, it defies the object if they do not tow the line – there would be little point in having the court if all the member countries agreed with everything it said.
Whether the European Court of Human Rights is a good thing or not depends on who you speak to and it is a topic of controversy. Inform yourself further on the topic and then decide what you think for yourself.
This post was written by admin on April 2012