News 03/06/2015

The Importance of Continuous Observance of the Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights

“Although the importance of the European Convention on Human Rights, which provides the foundation for the creation of the contemporary democratic legal orders, is unquestionable over an extensive period of time, there is insufficient understanding of its role as well as knowledge about the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, which is one of the key reasons for the huge number of lodged complaints against the Republic of Serbia, but also other states in the region, before this Court”, said today the Minister of Justice, Mr. Nikola Selaković, on the occasion of the opening of the second regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe, held at the Falkensteiner Hotel in Belgrade.

Minister Selaković reminded that the confirmed international treaties are integral part of the legal order of the Republic of Serbia and emphasized that, accordingly, the European Convention has a supra-legislative force and ranks, in the hierarchy of legal acts, just below the Constitution.

“The examples of direct application of the European Convention, but also the interpretation of the provisions of national laws in the context of the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, are exceptionally rare in the case law of domestic courts“, emphasized Selaković. He said that the reasons for the fact that the case law of the European Court of Human Rights is still unknown to the majority of judicial office holders in Serbia are still unknown, and added that there is also the problem of language barriers and poor knowledge of information technologies, which have made for years the access to the decisions of this Court difficult.

Speaking about the training for acquiring basic knowledge on the content and application of the European Convention, which the Judicial Academy organized for judges and public prosecutors, Selaković emphasized that these trainings could not have included all judicial office holders, and were in no way sufficient for overcoming the mentioned issues.

“The data base of the translated decisions of the European Court of Human Rights, which shall be presented at the Forum, is most certainly a huge step toward building a new approach regarding the interpretation of the Convention in the judiciary field in the Republic of Serbia“, said Selaković.

Toward the end of his address, Selaković expressed his belief that exchanging experiences and views among and between the participants within this Forum, will be an important stimulus to share the acquired knowledge and useful information with their colleagues, thus contributing to further raising of awareness of the necessary continuous observance of the case law of the  European Court of Human Rights.