Roma Rights 1, 2010: Implementation of Judgments

This issue of Roma Rights is dedicated to a consideration of implementation of European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments and other decisions of international adjudicatory bodies. Although implementation problems plague national justice systems, the European and international systems, without coercive enforcement mechanisms, present particular challenges to implementation at the national level.

This issue begins with Constantin Cojocariu’s discussion of recent developments in the ECtHR’s structural and procedural reform and their impact on implementation of judgments, providing an overview of the function and challenges facing the Court. Next, Krassimir Kanev focuses on ECtHR judgments against Bulgaria, mostly related to police abuse of detainees, for which the Government awards financial compensation but generally fails to undertake needed systemic reforms. István Haller writes about several Romanian pogrom cases involving “friendly” settlements and the unique challenges to implementation that these present.

Turning to Western Europe, Panayote Dimitras provides a detailed account of ECtHR and European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) decisions in the areas of school segregation, substandard housing and evictions and police violence, as well as the Greek Government’s implementation record. The ERRC’s Lydia Gall and Robert Kushen offer analysis of the implementation of the judgment in D.H. and Others v The Czech Republic, which a coalition of NGOs is striving for in the face of limited Government reform and no significant change in the proportion of Roma studying in segregated special education. From the UK, Chris Johnson, Andrew Ryder and Marc Willers contribute a history of the failure of the government to implement the decision in Connors v The United Kingdom and other housing cases. Finally, Zoran Gavriloski writes of systemic police abuse in Macedonia which persists despite several favourable ECtHR decisions.

The theme concludes with a fascinating look from inside the Court, an account by former Judge Loukis Loucaides of Cyprus, of systemic impediments that hinder the Court from rendering justice.

Given the lackluster track record of implementation of the Court’s judgments at the systemic level, this issue raises the question: what can we as advocates do? We invite readers to send us ideas of work that we can do to encourage the implementation of judgments.

Download Roma Rights 1, 2010: Implementation of Judgments (PDF)

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