Today, the European Court of Human Rights is being awarded the Treaties of Nijmegen Medal 2016. The medal is awarded every two years to key actors committed to European development. It commemorates the signing of a number of treaties known as the Peace of Nijmegen which ended a number of conflicts between major European powers in 1678 and 1679. It was an early attempt to achieve peace on a European scale.
According to the organisers, "the European Court has been responsible for safeguarding human rights in Europe since 1959. It was the very first international legal institution to which individuals could complain about human rights violations, and which was empowered to deliver binding rulings on the European states. The primary function of the Court is to offer redress to individual victims whose rights have been breached. It raps the knuckles of states that impose degrading prison conditions, in the event of disappearance and torture during civil war, police violence, or politically motivated imprisonment. In addition, the Court tackles difficult questions relating to fundamental rights in today’s society, such as the rights of refugees and immigrants, data protection and discriminatory remarks made by politicians. The European Court of Human Rights plays a crucial role in the protection of human rights and will therefore be awarded with the 2016 Treaties of Nijmegen Medal."
Today, the medal is awared by Nijmegen's mayor, Mr Bruls, to the President of the Court, Judge Guido Raimondi. My colleague professor Janneke Gerards will deliver a special lecture at the occasion. Earlier winners of the medal were, Jacques Delors, Umberto Eco, and Neelie Kroes. Congratulations to the Court!