The opening of the ECtHR’s judicial year

The European Court of Human Rights 31 January 2014 formally celebrated the opening of the judicial year with the official ceremony. The President of the Court, Dean Spielmann delivered a speech, where he emphasized one of the open wounds of the system of European Convention of Human Rights – the execution of the Court’s judgments. He inter alia stated the following :

»Our Court – and this brings me back to the point I made just now – was aware of the responsibility that it had to assume. But that responsibility goes hand in hand with its duty to ensure compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights throughout Europe. The role of a Court such as ours, unless it were to depart from its intended mission, is not to be popular. Sometimes it is even necessary to cause displeasure. In the Europe of the Council of Europe, of which you are all representatives this evening, the rule of law must prevail and any discrimination must be excluded. Those two cases must serve as examples. It is noteworthy that those two judgments, in spite of their highly sensitive nature and any misunderstanding to which they may have given rise in public opinion, were executed so quickly. Is this not an illustration of that dialogue with States and  with the highest national courts which goes to the heart of my message this evening? There is no question of pointing the finger at States which are not so rapid in their execution of our judgments. I would simply like to remind them that this system belongs to them; that it is our common system and that if we wish to preserve this common area of freedom, then the execution of judgments is an absolute necessity.«

The official opening was preceded by the conference on the »Implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights: a shared judicial responsibility?«, which included lectures by Professor Alec Stone Sweet,  Judge Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade and Judge Julia Laffranque.

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