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Russia finally ratifies Strasbourg Court reform

RIA Novosti


GORKI (Moscow Region), February 4 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday signed a law on the ratification of Protocol 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, opening the way for European Court of Human Rights reforms.

The lower house of the Russian parliament approved Protocol 14 on January 15 and the upper house on January 27.

Protocol 14, designed to simplify and speed up the work of the ECHR, had previously been signed and ratified by all 47 Council of Europe member states except Russia.

The protocol was introduced to help the court cope with the growing backlog of complaints, nearly one-third of them filed against Russia.

Moscow has often criticized the court's rulings against it as political.

The Council of Europe welcomed Russia's ratification.

Council of Europe Secretary-General Torbjorn Jagland previously said the ratification would be important "for the whole of Europe," strengthening the Court's role in upholding human rights throughout Europe.

The State Duma, dominated by the Kremlin-backed United Russia party, declined to ratify the protocol in December 2006 on the grounds that some of its provisions were at odds with Russian laws.

Protocol 14, among other things, establishes a new mechanism to assist the enforcement of judgments by the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers.

The Committee can ask the Court for an interpretation of a judgment and can even bring a member state before the Court for non-compliance to a previous judgment against that particular state.

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