It is the midst of Summer, but important times for the European Convention of Human Rights system. On 1 August, the new Protocol 16 entered into force for those state parties that have ratified it. This means the European Court will be able to now give advisory opinions upon request of the highest national courts and tribunals related to the interpretation or application of ECHR rights. Thus far, the following states have ratified: Albania, Armenia, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Lithuania, San Marino, Slovenia and Ukraine. As a consequence, the Court has also amended its Rules of Court as of 1 August, inserting provisions on Protocol 16 (the new rules 91 to 95) outlining how this should be implemented in practice.
Related to another aspect of implementation - impact of the Convention - the Council of Europe has launched a new website on this theme, geared towards the general public. This is what the website includes in the words of its makers:
"The Council of Europe has launched a new interactive website highlighting the positive impact of the European Convention on Human Rights across the continent.
The site illustrates how judgments from the European Court of Human Rights, and their implementation by national authorities, have affected people’s lives in many different ways across all 47 Council of Europe member states.
“The European Convention on Human Rights protects the basic rights of some 830 million people across the whole of Europe,” said Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
“Focussing on a small proportion of the cases decided by the Strasbourg court, this new website clearly demonstrates what the convention system has achieved so far and the positive impact it continues to have on many people’s lives. I encourage all those who support human rights, democracy and the rule of law to make good use of it.”
The interactive website uses textual summaries, infographics and audiovisual materials to show how judgments from the European Court of Human Rights have helped to change policies and practices in Council of Europe member states and to improve the situation of individual applicants.
101 different case studies are presented by country and by topic, with separate sections explaining how the system works and the state of implementation of other key Council of Europe conventions.
The site is currently available in English, French and Turkish. A Russian-language version will be launched shortly.
The site will be updated and further developed on an on-going basis, depending on the funds available. The initial development and launch of the site cost €92,000, funded through voluntary contributions from the governments of Finland, Ireland and Norway."