Archive for the ‘ECHR Criticism Wrong’ Category

Criticism of ECHR not Based on Fact

vendredi, janvier 27th, 2012

The criticism of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by the British Prime Minister is wrong and panders to popular opinion without an understanding of the facts, says Sir Nicolas Bratza QC, the new president of the Strasbourg-based court.

Writing under the headline Britain should be defending European justice, not attacking it, he added: The UK can be proud of its real contribution to this unique system and its influence in bringing about effective human rights protection throughout the European continent.
However, in his speech on the 25th January, 2011 (see Telegraph article below) to the Council of Europe which the UK currently chairs, Prime Minister David Cameron was addressing what appears in certain sections of the press to be a popular cause with the British people, in calling for reform of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Last week the ECHR was again criticised after it ruled that the radical Islamist Abu Qatada, cannot be extradited from the UK to Jordan as he would not receive a fair trial on terrorism charges. Mr Cameron claims the 47 members of the Council have a once-in-a-generation chance to improve the way we enhance the cause of human rights, freedom and dignity. He addresses his critics by saying that belief in human rights is part of the British character. We are not and never will be a country that walks on by while human rights are trampled into the dust.
However, he could face a difficult task convincing members to return more power on human rights decisions to national courts:
?The 160,000 backlog of human rights cases that had built up within the ECHR can be also traced to the increase in members of the Council of Europe following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
?The UK has lost 3 out of 4 cases brought before the Court since its establishment after WWII and only 8 cases brought against Britain last year (less than 1% of the total) were defended successfully; however, most recently and concerning the extradition of two alleged murderers to the US, the judges decided in the favour of the UK.
?In the case of Abu Qatada one underlying issue seems to be torture and the related inadmissability of evidence obtained through torture, the latter that might well have undermined the UK?s case for extradition. Kenneth Clark the Justice Minister has also suggested that the ECHR should concentrate on more major issues impacting human rights such as torture.