Recently, the President of the European Court of Human Rights, Dean Spielmann, held a speech in the Frauenkirche in Dresden, Germany. The speech, entitled 'Menschenrechte in Europa - Beiwerk oder Basis?' is now available on the Court's website. The speech, in German, goes into the significance of the European Convention for peace in Europe. Specifically, the President - by way of examples from the Court's case-law - went into the importance of the ECHR in transitions towards the rule of law, the protection and consolidation of democracy, and even in situations of armed conflict within which the Strasbourg system's practical effect may be less direct in the short run, it still has protective and preventive functions. Secondly, the President also shortly went into some of the criticisms towards the Court and admonished not to lose sight of the bigger picture. Thirdly, he pleaded for ongoing dialogue with the various branches of national government. Human rights protection, was the overarching message, should never be just an accessory but rather a basis for peace and democracy.