The European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms giving Russian citizens the right to apply to the European Court was significantly amended on 1 June 2010. In particular, the changes concern the case-processing mechanism of the Strasbourg Court.
You may remember that for a long time Russia was the only country of the Council of Europe refusing to ratify Protocol 14 to the Convention enabling the reform. Finally, three months ago, the Protocol was ratified.
The major changes in the ECtHR operation are as follows:
– the term of office for judges has been increased (from 6 to 9 years);
– clearly inadmissible applications can be struck out by 1 instead of 3 judges;
– identical cases related to questions that are already the subject of well-established case law can be considered by three instead of seven judges;
-a new admissibility criterion has been introduced (significant disadvantage suffered by the applicant);
-there are more possibilities for peaceful settlement;
-The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe monitoring execution of ECtHR judgments can submit a complaint to the ECtHR if one of the states deliberately avoids executing the judgment;
-The European Union has become one of the parties to the Convention.
These changes will render judicial decision-making more efficient and speed up case-processing in Strasbourg. We would like to remind you that at the present moment there are 127 000 applications pending trial in the ECtHR, including 35 000 applications against Russia.