Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A New Advisory Opinion May Be Coming Up

At its meeting on 8-9 July the Committee of Ministers (in its composition of deputies) of the Council of Europe decided to ask the Court for clarity on the issue of candidates lists for possible new judges submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly. The requests directly follows up on the dispute on the problematic Ukrainian list of candidates. On that matter, see my earlier post here. If the Court issues an Advisory Opinion, it would be the second one in its history. Last year, it issued an Opinion on an issue concerning gender aspects of candidate lists.

These are the questions that were asked by the Committee of Ministers concerning the current issue:

a. Can a list of three candidates, nominated by a High Contracting Party for election as a judge to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of the High Contracting Party and submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly, be withdrawn and replaced with a new list of three candidates by that High Contracting Party? If yes, is there any time limit?

b. Can candidates for the post of judge at the European Court of Human Rights be considered as nominated by a High Contracting Party within the meaning of Article 22 of the European Convention on Human Rights if the list containing their names has been withdrawn by that High Contracting Party?

c. Is the Parliamentary Assembly obliged to consider a list of candidates submitted by a High Contracting Party which replaces a list previously submitted but withdrawn by that High Contracting Party?

2. furthermore, they invited the Court to pronounce on the following two additional questions:

a. If one or more candidates on a list of candidates submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly by a High Contracting Party withdraw(s) before the Parliamentary Assembly has voted on the list, is that High Contracting Party obliged under the European Convention on Human Rights to submit an additional candidate or candidates to complete the list or is it entitled to submit a new list?

b. Are the conditions in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Appendix to Resolution 1432 (2005) of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in breach of the Assembly’s responsibilities under Article 22 of the European Convention on Human Rights to consider a list, or a name on such a list, on the basis of the criteria listed in Article 21 of the Convention?
This is the link to the official document. The request has been transmitted to the Court's President on 15 July.

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