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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR President Raimondi to EF on Discretionary Power: Decision-Making proces(Dialogue State-Citizen?

ECHR President Raimondi to EF on Discretionary Power: Decision-Making proces(Dialogue State-Citizen?

Parašė ACM
Thursday, January 25, 2018

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*Strasbourg/ECHR/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to an "Eurofora"s Question at the Annual Press Conference of ECHR, its experienced President, Guido Raimondi from Italy, explained that the PanEuropean Court of Strasbourg "is Developing" quite wide possibilities for Judicial Control of Public Authorities' Discretionary Power, in order to Prevent eventual Abuse vis a vis Citizens, inter alia, also by imposign the Respect of a Number of Rules, concerning the Decision-Making process of any Public Administration, (f.ex., Prior Information of affected Citizens, Contradictory Procedure, Sufficient and Correct Motivation of Decisions, etc), i.e. in a way quite similar to an elementary Dialogue between States and Citizens Before Taking Important Decisions which Affect their Lives and/or Society at large, as "Eurofora"s Wider Project and Views support since a long time.


Such ECHR's moves (that President Raimondi analyzed here in a Crystal-clear way) coincide also with Both relevant EU Developments, particularly since Lisbon Treaty, as well as with even more Recent COE's PanEuropean Legal Space's own developments, as "Eurofora" has already Highlighted recently, (See, f.ex.: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/coeruleoflawchecklistandeuroforaproject.html, etc).


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- In our Question, "Eurofora" started by pointing at the Fact that : -"A Few Months ago, in Strasbourg, CoE's Parliamentary Assembly endorsed a Measure adopted by the Venice Commission, (supported also by the Congress of Local/Regional Authorities of Europe : CLRAE), which concerns a General Mechanism, for All (COE's 47) Member Countries, about the relations between Citizens and Public Authorities, in order to Prevent Risks of Abuse of Discretionary Power."


- "I.e. when a State can Decide Whatever they like, in the Substance of the matter, But has to Respect a Series of (Decision-Making Process') Rules, that we know also in Adminstrative Law : As, f.ex., to Inform the Persons involved, to Hear them Before it Decides, to present a Motivation that is Sufficient, (Legally and Factaully) Correct, etc", we explained in this regard.  

 

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 - "Obviously, it's Not Directly and Explicitly Linked with some ECHR Articles. But, according to your Experience, is there Something - or there Might be Something, Hopefully - inside the PanEuropean Mechanism for Human Rights, - as there are some Similar things in EU Law, after Lisbon Treaty (EIF : 2010) - which Could Develop, in the foreseable Future, a kind of Guarantee against Abuse of Discretionary Power ?", "Eurofora" asked ECHR President Raimondi.


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- ECHR's President reacted Positively, as he said, - "On your Interesting Question, concerning (Public Authorities') Discretionary Power, and possible Control by our (PanEuropean) Court :"


- "This is an Interesting Question, especialy Because the Range of (Public) Administrative activities, and the Role of the State in the Social Life, Developed and Increased, across the board, in CoE's 47 Member States, in Recent Years", Raimondi observed from the outset.


 - "But we (ECHR) have Developed a quite Rich Jurisprudence on that Issue : "


 - Even if, as "You Know, UnLike of Article 47 of (EU's) Charter of Fundamental Rights, which Covers All sorts of Jurisdiction (i.e. also Administrators, and Not only Judges), Our (CoE's) corresponding Provision in the (PanEuropean) Convention (on Human Rights), i.e. Article 6, (which is) Providing Guarantees of "Fair Trial", does Not Apply to All Forms of Jurisdictional Proceedings".


 - "So, in order to Trigger the Protection of Article 6, you Need Either a writer Obligation of a Civil Rights, or an Accusation in Criminal matters. Of course, these 2 Noions are developed Autonomously by the Case-Law of ECHR",  (which, therefore, can have a Wider Scope of Action, if it wishes so : See Infra).


=> "In this connection, the activity of the Public Administration may Fall Within he Scope of Application of Article 6 : Either Because a Civil Right is at Stake , either because what is considered as an Administrative Action in the National Law, is considered, in the Autonomous Evaluation of ECHR, (Comp. Supra), as a <<Criminal Sanction>>, which Triggers the Protection of Article 6".


 - "Of course, it's a Delicate Question, Because we are confronted with the Theory of Separation of Powers. So, we (ECHR) Require that, when Article 6 Applies, the Judge has to have what we call "Full Jurisdiction". But this has to be understood with Caution, when it comes to the Control of Activities of the Public Administration", he warned. "Because of the (Constitutional) Principle of Separation of Powers".


 - "We (ECHR) have developed a Rich Jurisprudence on this : I'd say, the Most Important Case in this direction is "Sigma TV against Cyprus", that you may know", President Raimondi indicated.


 - "And there are a Number of Principles, which have been developed, in this connection : One of them, is, for instance, that, if the Judicial Body, which is called upon to Review judicially the Behavior of the Public Administration, has Not the Power to Assess the Facts, and canNot Rely on an Independent Assessment of the Facts, that is, for instance, a Problem, in the context of Article 6 !", he pointed out. "And this is one the Examples".


 - "So, the (ECHR's relevant) Jurisprudence is, Already, Rich, and it is Developing".


 - F.ex., "there is a Case which is Pending : Ramos Nunes v. Portugal", which will be Delivered in the Forhcoming Months, by the Court, and may provide some Further Clarification on that Issue", he Announced in fine.

 

+ As for a Comparison with the relevant EU Law, the presence of ECJ's President, Tomorrow in Strasbourg, at the Official Opening of the New Judicial Year of 2018, (on the occasion of which, is organized a Timely Seminaire focused on "the Authority of Judicial Power" : Comp. Supra), might be very Interesting, potentially, in this regard too. ECHR and ECJ have indeed, Recently developed a very close Cooperation, President Raimondi stressed earlier Today.

 

 

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  Ten Years of ECHR : 1998 - 2008 show need of Revival in 2009-2010 coinciding with 2009 EU Election
   

A threefold, coordinated move by new Top French Political actors in the 2009 EU Parliament Elections, expressed in Strasbourg a will to boost Europe's Political dimension close to Citizens' concerns, going from protection of Economy to defence of Human Rights.    

The move met an exceptional ECHR's call for a "revival" of Human Rights' protection mechanism', in a Mega-Conference, early 2010.   

Obviously focusing on June 2009 Elections to EU Parliament, it involved from the outset the recently nominated "dual" Head of French Governing Party (UMP)  Michel BARNIER and Rachida DATI :

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     - "As President Sarkozy has clearly said, we (France) are in favor of a Strong, Sovereign and Independent, Political Europe, which protects its Citizens, and not for a large Super-Market, nor for a Europe under influence",

    "This goes for everything, including Energy", added to "EuroFora" the experienced former EU Commissioner, Minister of Foreign affairs, currently of Agriculture and Sarkozy's new pick as Leader of the Governing party UMP to EU 2009 Election, Michel BARNIER                                              .                             

  - Human Rights are important because they are at the Heart of the Political Europe that we aspire for : I.e. a Europe able to act and protect its Citizens, stressed also the New French Minister for European affairs, Bruno LE MAIRE, while meeting Strasbourg's Journalists at his first visit to the CoE.   

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This is one of the main interests for CoE, which is also a natural place for cooperation between EU countries and Russia or Turkey, which was recently helpful at the Middle East crisis, he added.

The move gained momentum with French Minister of Justice, Rachida Dati's main observations at ECHR's 5Oth Anniversary :   

- "While we are seeking Europe's Borders and Identity, you (ECHR) remind us also of its Values", Human Rights, Dati noted.   

Citizens seek more and more often ECHR's help, and the tempo accelerates, Europa awaits a symbol, while national legal orders are not freezed   

And she expressed "support" to ECHR President Jean-Paul Costa's call to satisfy the vital need to revigorate the PanEuropean Court by deciding big changes at a High-Level Conference open to a large audience, a kind of "Etats Generaux" of Human Rights, at the beginning of 2010.       

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It's not so much the recently growing number of applications for Russia or Ukraine etc, which seems to be Costa's main concern : In fact, the cases declared "admissible" are much fewer...    

But rather the persistent violations of Human Rights, sometimes very grave (ie. murders, torture, abritrary deprivation of liberty, oppression of freedom of speech, destructions of homes/properties, etc), despite numerous, repeated condemnations by ECHR. So that CoE's Ministers, due to "supervise execution" of ECHR's judgements, are overloaded.   

F.ex. most Media noted that Turkey still remains, even in 2008, the 1st among 47 CoE member States in the number of condemnations by ECHR :  257, compared to 233 for Russia, with a population more than the double..    

The problem is that it's not the 1st time at all : During all the last Decade 1998-2008, Turkey was condemned by ECHR much more than any other State, and for particularly grave violations :   

- 1.652 condemnations, compared to 605 for Russia, 548 for Poland, 494 for France, 476 for Ukraine, etc.   

Italy's second place with 1.394 condemnations is a misleading false appearance : In fact, most of them (999) concern mere "procedural delays" in national courts. Same for France.   

On the contrary, Turkey was condemned 180 times for Killings, 192 times for Torture or Inhuman/Degrading treatments, 340 times for arbitrary deprivation of Liberty, 528 times for "Unfair trial", and 169 times for oppression of Freedom of speech, (etc). And the latest, 2008 numbers, indicate no change in this trend, (See supra).   

The current Spanish CoE Presidency (November 2008 - May 2009) has made of the implementation of ECHR's judgements its 1st Priority.   

ECHR's President, Jean-Paul Costa, stressed in its 2009 Annual Press Conference, CoE Member States' obligation to implement the judgements, according to Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.   

Moreover, if CoE's Committee of Ministers delays to ensure implementation, then, the repetition of violations in similar cases provokes a multiplication of complaints tabled to the Court, which overload the mecanism for the protection of Human Rights, denounced Costa.          

A series of Debates on "the situation of Human Rights in Europe", focusing on the "need to fight against Impunity" of perpetrators of grave crimes, is  currently prepared by CoE's Parliamentary Assembly for the session of June 2009.  

The final Timing comes shortly AFTER the EU Elections, but the main Reports should have been adopted before.

Meanwhile, French President Sarkozy and German Chancelor Merkel's recent call "for a Political Europe" in 2009 EU Elections (See earlier "correspondence from Paris, Elysee Palace), seems more and more endorsed also by other EU Countries' Top MEPs :

Thus, f.ex., EU Parliament's 1st vice-President, Greek MEP Mrs Rodi KRATSA, speaking to "EuroFora", agreed that 2009 EU Election would be a "naturally good" opportunity to debate what really interests EU Citizens : "The Future of a Political Europe, able to face the Economic Crisis, with a Culture and identity which attracts the People"

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(Photo taken earlier during Sarkozy's 1st visit at EU Parliament, in 2007 : Sarkozy and Merkel's Ideas for a Political Europe inspire also other EU politicians accross the continent)..
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