Switzerland signs Protocol 14 to the European Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)
Press Release, FDJP, 13.05.2004
Bern, 13.05.2004. On 13 May, Switzerland signed Protocol 14 to the ECHR, amending the Convention’s control system, at the 114th session of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe held in Strasbourg.
The purpose of the Protocol is to ensure the medium- to long-term effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. The measure has been made necessary by the massive increase in the number of individual applications submitted to the Court. Last year, more than 39,000 new applications were registered, bringing the total number of pending cases to 69,000.
The Protocol provides for a package of measures to enable the Court to deal with individual applications within a reasonable time. A new filtering mechanism will empower a single judge, assisted by rapporteurs, to decide about applications where the inadmissibility of the application is manifest from the outset. With a view to establishing a rapid decision-making process, committees of three judges will also be empowered to decide on the merits of manifestly well founded applications, for example, repetitive cases. A new admissibility criterion will permit the Court to declare individual applications to be inadmissible if the applicant has not suffered significant damages, except in cases where respect for human rights as defined in the ECHR and its Protocols requires further examination of the application. In the case of inadequate execution of a final judgment of the Court, the Protocol provides for an infringement proceeding which enables the Committee of Ministers to refer the case back to the Court for judgment.
Ambassador Paul Seger, head of the Directorate of International Law of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, signed the Protocol in Strasbourg on behalf of the Federal Council.