UHHRU asks Council of Europe to send back Russia’s list of candidates for ECHR Judge



Parliamentary Assembly

Committee of Ministers

Sub-Committee on the Election of Judges

The Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union which represents thirty Ukrainian human rights organisations would like to express its concern over the candidate selection for the election of European Court of Human Rights Judge in respect of the Russian Federation.

According to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Recommendation 1649 (2004), “in order for the European Court of Human Rights to continue to inspire confidence, it is vital that the process by which judges are selected and appointed also inspire confidence. The Parliamentary Assembly also stressed that “the process of appointment must reflect the principles of democratic procedure, the rule of law, non-discrimination, accountability and transparency”.

Our observation of the national process of selection in the Russian Federation has aroused concern that the failure by the Russian authorities to observe the above principles could have adverse consequences for the European system of protection of human rights.

The notification of the competition was published by the Russian authorities in the specialized “Newsletter of the European Court of Human Rights” only at the beginning of August 2011, i.e. after the 1 August 2011 deadline for applications had expired. This flagrant breach of procedure resulted in many candidates with sufficient credentials to participate in the national competition being prevented from taking part in the election process. In such circumstances the national competition was not in a position to select the most appropriate candidates. This and other deficiencies in the selection procedure were challenged in the Russian courts by potential candidates prevented from taking part, and consideration of their claims is pending to date.

In result of the flawed selection proceedings, the Russian Federation submitted a list of candidates whose backgrounds hardly match the requirements for position of European Court of Human Rights Judge. From the list of the candidates submitted to PACE, only one may be said to have experience in the area as an ad hoc judge in two cases considered by the European Court of Human Rights.

Thus, in breach of PACE Resolution 1646 (2009) the list submitted by the Russian Federation provides no real choice of candidates.

We would respectfully note that the requirement of transparency and quality of the selection procedure at national level is an integral part of the Interlaken Declaration of 19 February 2010 adopted by the High Level Conference meeting.

For the above reasons, we ask the Council of Europe to send back the list of candidates submitted by the Russian Federation in order to allow the Member State to launch new selection procedure that is open, transparent and public.

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