CM/AS(2003)Quest413 prov. 6 January 2003
Reply by the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers
to Written Question No. 413 on “Reform of the procedures and membership of the European Court of Human Rights”
by Mr Kevin McNamara
To ask the Chairman of the Committee of Ministers,
What progress has been made towards reform of the procedures and membership of the European Court of Human Rights.
1. Pursuant to the procedures adopted by the Deputies at their 816th meeting (13 November 2002, Item 1.4) concerning the practical arrangements for dealing with Written Questions of Parliamentarians addressed to the Chair of the Committee of Ministers as they appear in the Appendix to document CM/Bur/Del(2002)28, the Chairman has drawn up the following reply to Written Question No. 413:
“The Honourable Member knows that following the submission of the Report of the Evaluation Group in September 2001, the Committee of Ministers, at its 109th Session in November, adopted a declaration outlining how the reform process was to be carried forward. He will also recall that, in his address to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights in September 2002, the Chairman of the Deputies' Liaison Committee with the European Court of Human Rights (CL-CEDH) indicated that the necessary financial provisions had been approved in principle and provided some indications of the main lines of the progress report of the Steering Committee for Human Rights (CDDH).
In line with the provisions of the Declaration mentioned above, the Deputies, having shared information with the Parliamentary Assembly and the Court, and having analysed the progress report of the CDDH, reported to the Committee of Ministers, at its 111th Session (6 – 7 November 2002) on the progress achieved. The Committee of Ministers adopted a new declaration in which, in particular, it
“[Instructed] the Ministers' Deputies to take steps to accelerate ongoing work and to present a set of coherent proposals covering on the one hand measures that could be implemented without delay and on the other any possible amendments to the Convention;
[and accordingly] to assign revised terms of reference to the CDDH, to be completed no later than 17 April 2003, on the basis of the priorities identified in its interim report, taking account, inter alia, of the following areas:
- preventing violations at national level and improving domestic remedies;
- optimising the effectiveness of the filtering and subsequent processing of applications;
- improving and accelerating execution of judgments of the Court; and
[Encouraged] the governments of the member States to further this collective effort by contributing their own proposals to the work of the CDDH.”
As was reported to a meeting of the CL-CEDH on 6 December 2002, the CDDH has already begun work under these revised terms of reference and has already considered a number of proposals contributed by member states.
Regarding the precise terms of Mr McNamara's question, it will be clear from the above that only part of the “coherent proposals” refer to the procedures of the Court, many of which have been adjusted or are subject to critical examination by the Court itself. With regard to the Court's composition, it will be recalled that one of the proposals of the Evaluation Group, which is still under active consideration by the CDDH, concerns the modification of judges' terms of office.”