The European Implementation Network (EIN) held its first-ever training seminar at the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights in Warsaw from 2 to 3 February 2018.
The design of the training centred on the Council of Europe (CoE) process that underpins the supervision of the implementation of the judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
Under Rule 9.2 of the Rules of the Committee of Ministers (CM), the CoE’s decision-making body responsible for ensuring the implementation of ECtHR judgments, civil society organisations can make submissions in support of the implementation process. These inputs and associated advocacy efforts in Strasbourg and domestically are vital to an effective, transparent and participatory execution process. They provide the CM with up-to-date and accurate information and analyses on the state of implementation and enable civil society organisations to take part directly in the execution process.
Yet civil society organisations active in CoE member states currently underutilise the opportunities afforded to them by Rule 9.2 submissions. The impetus for the training stemmed in fact from an EIN analysis in mid-2017. This showed that there were only 90 such submissions in all of 2016 in the face of nearly 10,000 cases pending implementation, including 1,500 leading cases. In comparison, governments submitted 227 Action Plans and 460 Action Reports in 2016, respectively.
As a result, there is an ongoing need to increase the involvement of NGOs in making Rule 9.2 submissions to adequately complement the information on the status of implementation coming from governmental sources; and ensure that the information and analyses provided are pertinent to overcoming the respective challenges to implementation as seen through the lens of the work of NGOs and other civil society organisations.
Over 25 participants took part in Warsaw training event, including staff from EIN members and partners, the Head of a Division in the CoE’s Department for the Execution of Judgements, the Government Co-Agent for the Coordination of the Execution of Judgments, the Polish Ombudsman and others.
Through a mix of interactive sessions, the training in Warsaw allowed participants to enhance their skills related to the execution process of the CoE and to better understand and navigate the opportunities offered for getting involved in this process. Participants benefited from the experience of others and shared best practices in preparing and drafting impactful Rule 9.2. submissions. The training focused as well on advocacy activities in Strasbourg and domestically to ensure the follow-up to submissions.
The feedback received from the participants was very positive overall. As a result, EIN made relevant enhancements and adjustments based on the suggestions received and is now calling for applications for the next training seminar to be held in Strasbourg from 21 to 22 June 2018. More information including the application form, which is due by 26 April, can be found here.