Crafted in the wake of World War II, the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) was the first regional expression of fundamental human rights protection as asserted in the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (“UDHR”). Its codified rights, primarily civil and political rights such as the right to life and the right to be free from torture, were to be protected by the European Commission on Human Rights (“the Commission”), (now defunct) and its supervisory body, the European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR” or “the Court”), which now sits in Strasbourg, France as the largest international court operating in the world. Additionally, the Council of Europe (“the Council”) organs now include a Parliamentary Assembly with parliamentarians drawn from all participating nations, and the Committee of Ministers, a political committee comprised of representatives of all Foreign Ministers. While it cannot invalidate national laws or domestic judgments, all forty-seven Member States of the Council of Europe are bound to accept the judgments of the Court, and Strasbourg “can be seen as carrying out a judicial control, on the international plane, of the exercise of democratic discretion at the national level by domestic authorities (legislative, executive or judicial).” Strasbourg’s control is sometimes said to be “quasi-Constitutional”—providing both generalized standards of human rights for the European space,
and through the right of individual petition, specific relief for distinct violations.
Protocol No. 14 ECHR and Russian Non-Ratification: The Current State of Affairs