Ensuring that European Court judgements get implemented

The European Implementation Network (EIN) works to improve implementation of judgements of the European Court of Human Rights. Currently, 47 per cent of the court’s leading judgements from the last ten years have not been implemented. In total, over 1,300 leading judgements are pending implementation. The rate of non-implementation is particularly high in the eastern part of the Council of Europe, which extends to Russia and the Caucasus. Failure to implement these judgements undermines victims’ right to an effective remedy and frustrates the role of the court in addressing systemic barriers to realising rights. 

In 2020, EIN published a report on the implementation record of Azerbaijan, a country that has 97 per cent of leading cases from the ECHR over the past ten years still pending. It highlighted cases involving arbitrary prosecution of human rights defenders, journalists and activists; restrictive legislation governing civil society; and violations of the right to free and fair elections They collaborated with human rights defenders and others who had won such cases after being prosecuted for political reasons. EIN ensured these defenders  had access to legal expertise, assisted in drafting of submissions, and supported engagement with the European bodies responsible for overseeing implementation of the Court’s decisions. 

The collective efforts of EIN and its partners over many years encouraged the Supreme Court of Azerbaijan to end wrongful convictions for two high profile victims the politician Ilgar Mammadov and the human rights defender Rasul Jafarov. 

These two cases represent progress in a country where individuals and organisations are routinely targeted by government authorities. EIN will continue to push for the implementation of ECHR judgements and support civil society in Azerbaijan.

“Although the overall human rights situation in the country remains dire, these Supreme Court decisions show the value of continued engagement by EIN and other groups with the implementation mechanism of the Council of Europe,” said George Stafford, EIN’s director. 

EIN is also working with Human Rights House, the European Human Rights Advocacy Centre and Amnesty International, to campaign for an end to politically motivated prosecutions in Azerbaijan and the creation of an adequate legal environment for civil society organisations to exist and work. 

EIN is also supporting victims of political persecution in Turkey, including Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtas, and Russia, most notably, the case of Alexei Navalny.

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