Status of execution of European Court decisions by Council of Europe member states assessed in 2013 annual report of Committee of Ministers

April 7th, 2014

On 2 April 2014 Committee of Ministers (CM) released its 7th annual report on Supervision of the Execution of Judgments and Decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. In accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights, the Committee of Ministers is responsible for supervising the execution of the Court’s judgments by the states concerned.

As stated in the CM press release, the statistics for 2013 confirm continuation of the positive trends of 2011 and 2012, and reveal a first decrease ever in the total number of pending cases.

The Committee of Ministers adopted Protocol # 15 and 16 in 2013 and these are now open for signature and ratification. Protocol #15 mending the Convention introduces a reference to the principle of subsidiarity and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation. It also reduces from six to four months the time-limit within which an application may be made to the Court following the date of a final domestic decision. Protocol #16 provides for States’ highest courts to obtain opinions on questions of principle regarding the interpretation and/or application of rights and freedom defined in the Convention and its protocols. The goal of the new protocol is to resolve these questions before they reach Strasbourg, saving Court resources and enabling speedier resolution of cases at the national level. The protocol will enter into force once 10 parties to the Convention have ratified it.

The report highlights the increasing role of Civil Society in assisting execution.

Azerbaijan is characterized as a country with 11 cases under “enhanced supervision” for 2013 year.

In Part J of the report which deals with Freedom of Expression and Information, CM refers to the case of Mahmudov and Agazade, where the applicants’ complaint was about their conviction and sentencing to imprisonment for defamation of a politician and well-known expert on agriculture following the publication of an article concerning problems in Azerbaijan’s agricultural sector. In this case the ECtHR found violation of the Article 10 of the Convention, specifying the use of prison sentences for defamation and arbitrary application of anti-terror legislation to sanction journalists as abusive sanctioning of journalists.

Main cases or groups of cases under enhanced supervision involving important structural and/or complex problems at 31 December 2013 concerning Azerbaijan are: Mahmudov and Agazade group (violation of Article 10 of the Convention case # 35877/04), Mammadov/Mikayil Mammadov (violation of Article 3 of the Convention case #34445/04), Mirzayev group (violation of Article 6 § 1 of the Conventio case #50187/06) Muradov group(violation of Article 3 of the Convention Case #22684/05), Namat Aliyev (violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 to the Convention Case#18705/06).

For more detailed data relating to Azerbaijan and other countries read the full report here: http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/monitoring/execution/Source/Publications/CM_annreport2013_en.pdf