The European Court of Human Rights supervising the execution of its judgments

Published date01 September 2019
Date01 September 2019
AuthorLize R. Glas
Subject MatterArticles
The European Court of
Human Rights supervising the
execution of its judgments
Lize R. Glas
Faculty of Law, Radboud University, the Netherlands
The European Convention on Human Rights (‘Convention’) provides that the Committee of
Ministers shall supervise the execution of the European Court of Human Rights’ (‘Court’) judg-
ments. This article aims to address the question whether, despite what the Convention provides,
the Court is involved in supervising the execution of its judgments. Additionally, this article
addresses the question what the Court does when it is engaged in this exercise. In order to answer
these two questions, four aspects of the Court’s practice that are linked to the execution process
are examined. These are the four aspects of interest: just-satisfaction judgments under Article 41
ECHR, follow-up cases concerning individual measures, follow-up cases concerning general
measures and the pilot-judgment procedure. The analysis of these aspects will lead to the con-
clusion that the Court indeed engages in supervising execution, but also that this does not mean
that the Court is taking on the Committee’s task and that supervising execution has not become in
any way part of the Court’s day-to-day work.
European Court of Human Rights, European Convention on Human Rights, Committee of
Ministers, supervision, execution, implementation, just satisfaction, follow-up cases, pilot
To many, the choice of topic for this article, as is apparent from the title, may come across as odd,
since the European Court of Human Rights (‘Court’) has ‘consistently ruled that it does not have
jurisdiction to verify [ ...] whether a Contracting Party has complied with the obligations imposed
Corresponding author:
Lize R. Glas, Assistant Professor, Department of International and European Law, Faculty of Law, Radboud University,
Houtlaan 4, 6525 XZ Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights
2019, Vol. 37(3) 228–244
ªThe Author(s) 2019
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/0924051919861844
on it by one of the Court’s judgments’.
This statement is in line with the European Convention on
Human Rights (‘Convention’ or ‘ECHR’), which prescribes in Article 46(2) that the Committee of
Ministers (‘Committee’) ‘shall supervise’ the execution of the Court’s judgments.
The Court has
confirmed that reviewing the execution measures adopted by the respondent State to secure the
rights of the applicants is ‘a matter for the Committee’.
Moreover, the Committee’s newly gained
to ask the Court whether a State has failed to execute a judgment
‘seems to confirm’,
according to the Court, that it cannot supervise execution.
By giving the Committee – and not the
applicant, the Court or individual States – the power to institute infringement proceedings, the new
procedure confirms the status quo:
the Committee supervises execution.
Despite what the Convention prescribes and what the Court maintains regarding execution, this
article aims to address the question whether the Court is involved in supervising the execution of its
judgments and, if so, what it does wh en engaging in this exercise. The Court is involved in
supervising execution when it pronounces on the measures taken by the respondent State to
execute a judgment or the lack thereof. The question is prompted by the already rather elaborate
body of literature that describes that the Court increasingly endeavours ‘to exert influence over the
execution of its judgments’,
by indicating in its judgments which execution measures the respon-
dent State should take.
The current article wants to examine whether the Court has now gone a
1. Kuric
´and Others v Slovenia App no 26828/06 (ECtHR, 12 March 2014), para 142; Kudeshkina v Russia App no 28727/
11 (ECtHR, 17 February 2015), para 29; See also Bochan v Ukraine (no 2) App no 22251/08 (5 February 2015), para
2. Article 46(1) ECHR requires that the States ‘abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are
parties’. Executing a judgment requires putting the applicant, as far as possible, in the same situation as prior to the
violation, ending the previous violation and preventing new violations. See Rule 6(2)(b) of the Committee for the
supervision of the execution of judgments and the terms of friendly settlements. See also, for example, Navalnyy v
Russia App no 29580/12 et al (ECtHR, 15 November 2018), para 182.
3. Ivant¸oc and Others v Moldova and Russia App no 23687/05 (ECtHR, 15 November 2011), para 91; See also Cyprus v
Turkey App no 25781/94 (ECtHR, 12 May 2014), para 62.
4. Protocol 14 to the ECHR, which amended the Convention to include this power, entered into force on 1 June 2010. See
for more information about the procedure generally Fiona de Londras and Kanstantsin Dzehtsiarou, ‘Mission
Impossible? Addressing Non-execution through Infringement Proceedings in the European Court of Human Rights’
(2017) 66 International & Comparative Law Quarterly 467. The Committee has started infringement proceedings once,
see Ilgar Mammadov v Azerbaijan App no 15172/13 (ECtHR, 22 May 2014). The procedure has resulted in this
judgment Ilgar Mammadov v Azerbeijan App No 15172/13 (ECtHR, 29 May 2019).
5. Article 46 (4,5) ECHR.
6. Sidabras and Others v Lithuania App nos 50421/08 and 56213/08 (ECtHR, 23 June 2015), para 103; UMO Ilinden –
PIRIN and Others v Bulgaria (no 2) App nos 41561/07 and 20972/08 (ECtHR, 18 October 2011), para 66; See also
Lucius Caflisch, ‘The Reform of the European Court of Human Rights: Protocol No. 14 and Beyond’ 2006 Human
Rights Law Review 6, 403, 411; V gT v Switzerland (no 2) ECHR 2009-IV 1, Dissenting opinion of Judge Malinverni
joined by Judges Bıˆrsan, Myjer and Berro-Lef`evre, para 16; Cyprus v Turkey (n 3), Partly concurring opinion of Judges
Tulkens, Vajic´, Raimondi and Bianku, joined by Judge Karakas¸, paras 8-11.
7. See also Egmez v Cyprus App no 12214/07 (ECtHR, 18 September 2012), para 36.
8. Article 46(2) ECHR.
9. Helen Keller and Cedric Marti, ‘Reconceptualizing Implementation: The Judicialization of the Execution of the
European Court of Human Rights’ Judgments’ (2016) 25 EJIL 829, 839.
10. eg Lucius Caflisch, ‘New Practice Regarding the Implementation of the Judgments of the Strasbourg Court’ (2006) 16
Italian Yearbook of International Law 3; Valerio Colandrea, ‘On the Power of the European Court of Human Rights to
Order Specific Non-Monetary Measures: Some Remarks in Light of the Assanidze,Broniowski and Sejdovic Cases’
(2007) 7 Human Rights Law Review 396; Elisabeth Lambert Abdelgawad, The execution of judgments of the European
Court of Human Rights (Human Rights Files No 19, 2nd edn, Council of Europe 2008), 17-32; Ingrid Nifosi-Sutton,
Glas 229

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