Call for applications - EIN training seminar (now closed)

The European Implementation Network (EIN) is calling for applications by civil society organisations (CSOs) to participate in a training seminar on advocating for full and effective implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

CSOs are accorded a critical role in the Council of Europe’s (CoE) process that underpins the supervision by the Committee of Ministers (CM) of the implementation of these judgments (known as the CM judgment execution process). This is made possible under Rule 9.2. of the Rules of the CM. However, there is little readily accessible information on how this process works and how CSOs can engage with it to best effect, with the result that this powerful mechanism for implementing human rights is very underutilised. 

The aims of the seminar are to equip CSOs to use the CM judgment execution process to support full and effective implementation of ECtHR judgments; and to share best practice on advocating for implementation at the national level.

For information about EIN, see http://www.einnetwork.org/

Date and place of seminar:

Date: 21-22 June 2018
Place: Strasbourg, European Youth Centre
Arrival: 20 June evening
Departure: 22 June afternoon at the earliest

 Strasbourg. Photo: EIN

Strasbourg. Photo: EIN

Seminar content:
The seminar will cover the following issues:

  • The CM execution process and the role of NGOs.
  • How to use Rule 9.2 submissions to push for effective implementation at national level: case studies.
  • Rule 9.2 submissions: group exercises on developing general measures and/or responses to non-implementation. The session is aimed at helping participants who have not engaged with the CM judgment execution process to do so – gaining advice from other participants.
  • Advocacy: EIN and Strasbourg-based advocacy, advocating for improved implementation structures at the national level.

Training methodology:
The seminar will combine:

  • presentations by experts on how to engage effectively with the CM judgment execution process;
  • sharing of learning by participants who have already engaged with implementation, whether through the CM judgment execution process, or at the domestic level;
  • group exercises to help participants starting work on a new case to develop the content and recommendations they should include in their written submissions to the CM (i.e., Rule 9.2 submissions).  

Target audience:
Staff of civil society organisations working on, or planning to work on, implementation of ECtHR judgments; independent lawyers supporting civil society organisations in these activities.

Criteria for selection of participants:
Participants will be selected on the basis of following criteria:

  • The impact resulting from full and effective implementation of any cases their organisation is supporting.
  • Any relevant experience the participant is able to share. The training methodology requires a number of participants with particular attributes – some with experience in different aspects of implementation, others with cases which will be particularly suitable for group exercises.

Participants will be limited to one per CSO and are required to have a good working knowledge of English. They must be present for the full duration of the seminar.

Please note that EIN will be conducting further training seminars on an ongoing basis. Applicants not selected will be able to apply for a later seminar. CSOs that are supporting cases currently before the ECtHR should also consider applying for future EIN training seminars as and when their cases are settled.

Travel and accommodation expenses:
EIN will cover the costs of participants’ travel, accommodation, food and visas. Guidelines on the funding procedure will be provided to selected participants.

Application process:
Please complete the application form and return to Agnes Ciccarone (aciccarone@einnetwork.org) by 26 April 2018 (now closed) . Please also arrange for your organisation to send a letter supporting your application, confirming that you have a good working knowledge of English and can be present for the full duration of the seminar.

The results of the application review will be made know by mid-May.

 The first EIN training seminar, Warsaw, 2-3 February 2018. Photo: EIN

The first EIN training seminar, Warsaw, 2-3 February 2018. Photo: EIN

Conditions of detention at the heart of the latest EIN briefing

 Chair Andrew Drzemczewski and the NGO representatives. Photo: EIN

Chair Andrew Drzemczewski and the NGO representatives. Photo: EIN

On 5 March 2018, the European Implementation Network (EIN) convened a quarterly civil society briefing on cases of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) scheduled for review at the 1310th Human Rights Meeting of the Committee of Ministers’ (CM) Deputies on 13-14 March.

This event was the first of four briefings that will be organised by EIN in 2018. The next briefings are expected to be held in May, September and November - each one approximately two weeks before the respective Human Rights Meetings of the Committee of Ministers’ Deputies.

The meeting took place at the Palais de l’Europe and was attended by representatives of over twenty delegations, including the EU delegation to the Council of Europe. 

The following cases were discussed: Zorica Jovanovic v Serbia, Bragadireanu v Romania, Ciorap v the Republic of Moldova, and Kehayov v Bulgaria. Whilst the first case deals with failure to provide information as to the fate of new-born babies alleged to have died in maternity wards, the three other cases concern poor conditions of detention.

A summary of points in the form of 3-5 recommendations made by all presenters on their respective cases can be found here and further information on the discussions at the briefing is provided below.

Zorica Jovanovic v Serbia (Application No 21794/08)

This case concerns failure to provide information as to the fate of new-born babies alleged to have died in maternity wards. In its judgment, the ECtHR held that there had been a violation of Article 8 of the Convention – respect for family life. The Court also ordered remedial measures. Given the significant number of potential applicants, Serbian authorities had to take appropriate measures to establish a mechanism to provide individual redress to all parents in a similar situation, within one year of the judgment becoming final, on 9 September 2013.

 Ana Jankovic-Jovanovic, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Belgrade. Photo: EIN

Ana Jankovic-Jovanovic, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Belgrade. Photo: EIN

In her presentation, Ms Jankovic-Jovanovic, Legal Adviser at the Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights (Belgrade), pointed out that the Republic of Serbia had not yet enacted the special law, lex specialis, which should establish a mechanism capable of investigating the “missing babies” cases upon parents’ complaints (applications). She also underlined the weaknesses of the Draft Law proposed by State Authorities – and currently withdrawn from the parliamentary procedure – which would not allow for investigations of “missing babies” cases and underlined the need to establish a “proper investigative mechanism”. The memo from the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights can be found here. The submissions pursuant to Rule 9.2 of the Committee of Ministers’ Rules for the Supervision of the Execution of Judgments can be found here (2016) and here (2017). The 2017 revised Action Plan from Serbia on this case is available here

Bragadireanu v Romania group of cases (Application No 22088/04)

These cases concern inhuman and/or degrading treatment suffered by the applicants on account of overcrowding and poor material conditions in prisons and police detention facilities and the lack of an effective remedy in this regard; the inadequacy of the medical care provided to some of the applicants and several other dysfunctions regarding the protection of the prisoners' rights (violations of Article 3; and violation of Article 13 in the case of Marcu). On 25 January 2018, the Government of Romania communicated its “Timetable for the Implementation of measures 2018 – 2024 to resolve the issue of prison overcrowding and conditions of  detention with a view to executing the pilot-judgment Rezmiveș and others against Romania delivered by the ECtHR on 25 April 2017”.

Ms Gheorghe, Legal Officer at the Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania - the Helsinki Committee, underlined in her presentation that this document had not been debated or submitted to public consultations. In addition, she highlighted the fact that financial resources to build new accommodation places in prison were not detailed, with the exception of EEA grants. Her memo identifying key problems and recommendations on detention conditions in Romanian prisons and police lock-ups can be found here. The latest action plan of the Romanian authorities submitted in January 2018 can be found here

Ciorap v the Republic of Moldova (Application Nos 12066/02, 9190/03, 39806/05)

The Ciorap group of cases mainly concern poor conditions of detention in Prison No. 13 in Chisinau and the lack of effective domestic remedies in this respect. The ECtHR found the following main problems regarding conditions of detention in Prison No. 13: (extreme) overcrowding; unsanitary conditions / hygiene; insufficiency and low quantity of food.

On 11 January 2018, the Government of the Republic of Moldova submitted a revised Action Plan for the execution of these judgments. In respect of general measures, it mainly refers to a compensatory remedy that entered into force on 20 December 2017 (Law No 163 of 20 July 2017). The Government admitted that the overcrowding of Prison No. 13 still was a problem, as well as the “massive granting of prosecutors’ motions for pre‐trial detention”.

 Nadejda Hriptievschi, Legal Resources Centre from Moldova. Photo: EIN

Nadejda Hriptievschi, Legal Resources Centre from Moldova. Photo: EIN

Nadejda Hriptievschi, Director of Programmes at the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova, focused in her presentation on material conditions of detention in Prison No. 13, as well as on the domestic remedy introduced for detention in poor conditions. She highlighted the possibility to overcome the problem of overcrowding through the application of non-custodial preventive measures, until the construction of a new prison is finished. She also called for training measures for relevant stakeholders to ensure that “the new remedy introduced to address the problem of detention in bad conditions (be) effectively applied in practice”.

The memo of Ms Hriptievschi can be found here. You can also find the Rule 9.2. communications from the Legal Resources Centre from Moldova on this case here (2016) and here (2018). 

Kehayov v Bulgaria (Application Nos 41035/98 36925/10)

This group of cases concerns inhuman and degrading treatment of the applicants in penitentiary facilities between 1996 and 2016, in particular owing to overcrowding, poor sanitary and material conditions, limited possibilities for out-of-cell activities, inadequate medical care and prolonged application of a restrictive penitentiary regime, in respect of accused or convicted persons, combined with the effects of inadequate material conditions (violations of Article 3). In certain cases, the Court also found that there was no preventive remedy and that there were various shortcomings in the functioning of the domestic compensatory remedy (violations of Article 13).

 Ecaterina-Georgiana Gheorghe, Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania, the Helsinki-Committee, and Adela Katchaounova, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. Photo: EIN

Ecaterina-Georgiana Gheorghe, Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania, the Helsinki-Committee, and Adela Katchaounova, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee. Photo: EIN

Ms Katchaounova, Legal Programme Director at the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, underlined that, whilst one could witness some improvement of living conditions in some prisons and prison hostels, there was still need for renovation in prisons buildings. Similarly, conditions in investigative detention facilities remained problematic, she said. As far as the legal remedy is concerned, Ms Katchaounova underlined the progress made through the 2017 Act which amended Article 3 of the Execution of Punishments and Pre-Trial Detention Act, noting however that it was too early to estimate the effectiveness of these dedicated preventive and compensatory remedies. Ms Katchaounova’s memo and the most recent Rule 9.2. submission made by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee on this group of cases can be found here. You can also consult the 2017 Action Plan of Bulgaria on this group of cases and its addendum

 

 

EIN welcomes four new members

The European Implementation Network (EIN) recently welcomed four new members: the Accountability Unit; the Netherlands Helsinki Committee; the Stitching Justice Initiative; and Fair Trails.

“We are excited to have new members joining our growing network of NGOs and individuals who collectively are committed to supporting the full implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. We look forward to working with our new colleagues by harnessing the energy and expertise of civil society organisations in the field of human rights protection,” said Kevin Steeves, EIN Director. 

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The Accountability Unit (AU) works to advance conflict-related gender-based rights through litigation, advocacy, research and policy advice in Turkey. The monitoring and implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is a core consideration of AU’s work. This relates to the provision of legal assistance on available domestic legal accountability mechanisms to victims and petitioning local authorities, including ministries, national human rights bodies and ombudsmen. AU also supports strengthening of domestic laws and implementation of human rights through advocacy submissions to the Council of Europe, EU, OSCE and UN mechanisms. AU has prepared submissions to the Committee of Ministers based on Article 14 to bring state practice and behaviour in line with international law and ECtHR case law.

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The Netherlands Helsinki Committee (NHC) aims to contribute to defending, building and securing human rights and the rule of law in Europe, mostly but not exclusively in the eastern European part of the OSCE region. NHC sets up capacity-building projects for government institutions and civil society organisations and engages in advocacy with national governments and intergovernmental organisations. NHC has over the past decades developed and coordinated several projects to train and accompany NGOs and lawyers in submitting cases to the ECtHR, the most extensive of these having focused on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia during the period of 2006 to 2011. Priorities in the future include building advocacy for the implementation of ECtHR judgments, in particular at the national level. 

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The Stichting Justice Initiative (SJI) is dedicated to the legal protection of victims of human rights violations connected to armed conflict and counter-terrorism operations, torture and gender-based violence in the post-Soviet region. SJI has been conducting activities around implementation of ECtHR judgments for over eight years, including regular submissions to the Committee of Ministers, post-judgment follow-up on the domestic level in Russia and advocacy in Strasbourg and the diplomatic community in Moscow. Since that time, it has ensured in-depth legal follow-up on the domestic level on over 40 ECtHR judgments, including by applying to the Russian Constitutional Court, overturning the conviction of a torture victim at the Russian Supreme Court, and challenging the application of amnesties, statute of limitations, classification of case materials, and many other issues at the local level in the North Caucasus region of Russia.

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Fair Trials is an international criminal justice watchdog working to uphold the right to a fair trial according to internationally recognised standards of justice. They lead in efforts to create and implement EU-wide standards on the procedural rights of suspects and accused persons and regularly intervene in cases before the ECtHR related to fair trials issues. Among other initiatives, Fair Trials coordinates the Legal Experts Advisory Panel (LEAP), composed of representatives of over 150 criminal defence law firms, academic institutions and civil society organisations. A LEAP working group was formed in 2017 to monitor judgments of the ECtHR.  It then accesses the wider LEAP network to help in ensuring proper implementation of respective judgments, including litigation support, legislative and policy advocacy, or training.

EIN now has 25 members from 17 countries – 19 NGO and six individual members. EIN membership is open to all civil society organisations or individuals adhering to the founding statute of EIN and working towards effective implementation of ECtHR judgments. All membership applications are reviewed and approved by the EIN Board.