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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR Chief Registrar Liddell to EF on Discretionary Power's Decision-Making Process' control

ECHR Chief Registrar Liddell to EF on Discretionary Power's Decision-Making Process' control

Written by ACM
Friday, 04 May 2018
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*Strasbourg/CoE/Angelo Marcopolo/(Partly UPDATED)/- Replying to an "Eurofora" Question on the Judicial Control of Public Administration's Discretionary Powers, and, particularly, if and when, according to ECHR's case-law, this should include, or not, a part of Supervision on the way that they take into account concerned Citizens' relevant arguments, in order to adequately Reply to them, (in a kind of Procedure of Dialogue between Citizens and State, or "Controle du Processus Decisionel" in French), ECHR's Chief Registrar, Roderick Liddell, who has a very Extensive Experience of the PanEuropean Court's work since several Decades, after Studying Law at Oxford University and working as Legal Expert, Assistant to ECHR's President, Chief of Press/Communication, Head of Strasbourg Court's General Services, and Elected on December 2015 as Registrar responsible for about 600 Legal and Administrative Staff at the ECHR, appeared Both Positive and Pedagogically crystal-clear, on the Substance of that matter :

 

+ And, Surprizingly, a Long Series of ECHR's Judgements Published just Yesterday in Strasbourg, seems to consistently Support, with Concrete Evidence, at least the Main Thrust of Roderick Liddell's Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions, concerning Human Rights and the Judicial Supervision of Public Authorities' Discretionary Powers, as we shall see Infra...

 

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 - "I think, that There has Always been this Procedure Element", he surprisingly told us, from the outset, adopting a quite original approach.

 
  - indeed, "for me, Procedure has a Role to Play in almost Every Article of the (PanEuropean Human Rights') Convention !", he stressed.  "It has Always been a Procedure Element. There has always been an important Procedure Dimension".


- "Because, part of the Aim of the Convention is to Create a Situation where Applicants can obtain Redress in their Domestic System".


- "So that involves having the necessary Procedures and Structures in place, to be Able to pursue the Verification of Conventions' complaints at National level".


- "Part of it is to have procedures in place which are Able to Ensure that, when the Convention is examined at National Level, then, the National Authorities go through the Necessary Process of Taking into Account the Competing Interests, in the Light of the Strasbourg's Case-Law".


- "It's a Question of Procedures Affecting the Settlement", he Positively replied to "Eurofora"s secondary Question if this really includes also the Exchange of Arguments (in a kind of Dialogue, or "Procedure Contradictoire" in French) with the concerned Citizens.


- "If you see f.ex. at Article 8 (protecting Private/Family Life), ECHR's case law Requires that when it looks if National Authorities have Examined the Issue of Proportionality, then, the Question of the Existence of that Procedure, and the Course of that Procedure are in there...", he pointed out in conclusion,


(Stressing particularly that Last Point on the "COURSE" of that "Examination Procedure", which seems, indeed, Similar to what we call in French : - "Contrôle du Processus Decisionel", or, alias : "Checking the Decision-Making Process", even in cases of Discrerionary Power detained by Public Authorities).

Liddell spoke to "Eurofora" on the Sidelines of the Official Ceremony, Headed by CoE's Secretary General, Thornbjorn Jagland, for the Award of Prizes won by the Best Teams competing at the Final Round of the European Law Students' Association (ELSA) Annual Moot Court contest, in ECHR's Headquarters, at the 10th Anniversary of its regular Cooperation with the CoE, Hailed this year by the Chairman-in-office of the PanEuropean Organisation's Highest Political Body : that of its Committee of Ministers, Danish Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the CoE, Arnold de Fine Skibsted, after a Strong Competition between a Hundred of Registered Universities from all around Europe, among which, 19 were invited to Strasbourg for the Final Round, won by Spanish IE University (Madrid), facing London's Kings College (which got the 1st Individual Plaidoyerie prize, instead, See : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes

 

 Both this CoE-ELSA English Speaking Moot Court Competition, and the Equivalent, French-Speaking Contest at ECHR organized by the International Institute for Human Rights "René Cassin", (very Popular in Strasbourg : See "Eurofora"s NewsReport from its Recent, 2018 Awards, at: http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/whistleblowersatrenecassinechrcontest.html), are notoriously Focusing mainly on Developing the Capacity of those Representing a respondent State, and/or one or more Applicant Citizens, to Exchange Facts and/or Arguments, in relation with ECHR's case-law Principles.


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+ By a timely Coincidence, this week, ECHR has just Published a Series of various New Judgements, concerning Different States and Different aspects of key Human Rights, (f.ex., unreasonable Delays in Length of Proceedings, InHuman/Degrading Treatments, etc), which all Focus mainly on a Similar Key-Point:


- Always in these Cases, ECHR consistently reiterates, indeed, that: EuroJudges have "Examined all the Material Submitted" to the Court by the Parties, (i.e. the applicant CITIZENS and the respondent STATE), but have "Not found any FACT or ARGUMENT Capable of PERSUADING" them, "to Reach" this or that "Conclusion" on this or that Concrete Human Rights' Legal Issue, "Regard(ing)" ECHR's "Case Law on the subject" concerned there.


=> I.e., ECHR obviously evokes a kind of DIALOGUE, Between Citizen and State, using Facts and Arguments, capable of Persuading, in order to Reach this or that Conclusion, on Human Rights, regarding ECHR's Case-Law principles :


>>> That seems to be Exactly what "Eurofora"s co-Founder has Found, Described, Analysed and Defined (initially Named, at the Original in French : "Contrôle de Légalité du Processus Decisionel d'un Pouvoir Discretionaire"), both in Legal Scientific Research (already made, Basically, since a Long Time Ago at certain University Papers, to which were Added, Meanwhile, also active paticipations to certain Scientific Conferences), as well as in Recent Legal Research and/or Journalistic, Original Press Reports, at least Partly Related, Moreover, to "Eurofora"s main Project about Innovative Social Uses of New Digital/Communication Technologies 1997-2018, in Parallel) !


+ In Certain among this Long Series of Cases, whose Judgements were published this Week, ECHR even goes as far as to clearly Explain, one by one, at least the Main Points on which Citizens and States should Focus in their Dialogue whenever an important Decision affecting Human Rights is to be taken :


 In Concrete terms, it naturally Depends on the Particular Right concerned in one or another Case : F.ex., concerning the "Length of Proceedings" of Public Authorities, ECHR explains anew that "the Reasonableness", or not, of such Delays, "must be Assessed, in the light of the Circumstances of the case and with reference to the following Criteria: the Complexity of the case, the Conduct of the applicants and the relevant authorities, and what was at Stake for the applicants in the dispute".


It's on these Key-Points, that a kind of Dialogue between Citizens and States, whenever relevant Decisions affecting those Human Rights are taken, should Focus, according to the ECHR.


=> In Conclusion, all these Converging, older and recent Facts, clearly appear to Justify ECHR Registrar, Roderick Liddell's above-mentioned, interesting Statements, made (as a matter of General Principle, and on the basis of his particularly Extensive Experience) in Reply to relevant "Eurofora"'s Questions, (Comp. Supra), concerning a Core Legal (and Socio-Political) Issue of Nowadays European Society and well beyond.

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+ For anOther, and also very Interesting, Approach of this Same Issue, from a Different Angle/Point of view, (but, in fact, clearly Complementary), See Also the Extensive Reply that ECHR's President himself, Guido Raimondi, kindly gave to a relevant "Eurofora"s Question during his Annual Press Conference, already as early as since January 2018, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/echrpresidentondiscretiionarypowercontrol.html).


Obviously, President Raimondi's above-mentioned Reply to "Eurofora"s Question during ECHR's Press Conference, also Points at Both Recent and Forthcoming Judgements adding more or less New Developments, which may unfold also in the foreseeable Future, in a kind of On-Going Evolutionary Trend (as he Observed himself), already set in Motion...

 

 

(../..)
 

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  imag0573_400

    An "Eugenic" loophole Amendment, which might expose to Dangers reminiscent of "3rd Reich's" notorious Genetic Abuses, hidden at the last minute inside an otherwise Good, larger Health policy Package scheduled to be voted on Thursday, was strongly denounced by a coalition of MEPs from various Political Groups and Countries, in a Press Conference held this afternoon at EU Parliament in Strasbourg.

    Mainly calling to "Select Human Embryos", via "Genetic Counselling" and "pre-implantation" Techniques including "Genetic Tests", in order to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", it might open ways to Dangerous Practices in Future, they denounced in substance.

    But they also made it clear that a much larger Report inside which this Controversial Amendment "No 15" was added in dubious circumstances, officialy destinated to struggle against "Rare Diseases", and drafted by Professor Antonios Trakatellis, was otherwise "an Excellent Report", aiming at a "completely Uncontroversial target" of Health policy on which "all MEPs and Experts are united, believing that Europe should act" to protect People's Health (See "EuroFora"'s earlier News).

    The controversy came at a particularly delicate moment for the EU in relation to Citizens, at the eve of June 2009 EU Elections, and shortly before Ireland re-votes for "Lisbon Treaty"..    

- Denouncing risks of "an Eugenic demand, very similar to what we had during the 3rd Reich in Germany, but now coming from some Scientisists themselves", German ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Dr. Peter Liese stressed that critical MEPs were against "Eugenic" engineering with "Selection of Human Embryos", and anything which might ultimately lead up to to a "Selection of Human Race". It doesn't help to "eradicate" Human Lives, he added.


    Several Experts and NGOs expressed "Deep Concern", as f;ex. DR M.C. Cornel of the "European Society of Human Genetics", which stressed, on this occasion, that "the importance of Non-Directiveness in Reproductive issues is a Central characteristic of Human Genetics, after the Atrocities committed in the name of Genetics in the first half or the 20th Century".

     - "This is completely Unacceptable", stressed Italian Liberal MEP Vittorio Prodi, on the Controversial Amendment, also because pushes to "eliminate early Human Life", as he noted.

     - "This opens a Dangerous Road, rather a Motorway", denounced Danish MEP Mrs Margrette Auken, from the "Greens", observing that various similar attempts were made in the Past "not only in Germany, but also in several other Countries, "even at the 1970ies", "f.ex. on forced Sterilisation of Roma" People, and other criticisable situations f.ex. in the UK, in Sweden, etc. as she said.

    + Other NGOs, as f.ex. "LebenHilfe" from Berlin, added that, among various other Risks, could also be that, by exploiting the pre-implantation Genetic Diagnostics and the Selection of "healthy" Embryos, some may "propagate" several "Eugenic" aims, starting f.ex. by pushing to eradicate Human Livies which might "Cost too much" to preserve, ultimately exposing to dangers reminiscent of the "3rd Reich"'s atrocious abuses.

    In consequence, ChristianDemocrats/EPP and "Green" MEPs "decided by Majority to vote against" this Controversial Amendment, anounced to Journalists the 5 MEPs who participated in the Press Conference, representing a wide spectrum, from Liberals to "Greens" and ChristianDemocrats, and from Hungary, Italy, Germany and Danemark up to Ireland (Gay Mitchell), etc.
----------------------------------
    Hungarian ChristianDemocrat MEP Laszlo Surjan said "that it was "Suddenly, at the End of the Procedure" in Committee, that "appeared this (Controversial) Amendment, which has nothing to do" with the main purpose of the Report, on which all agreed.

    He denounced an "Unhonest" move, and called to "avoid this kind of unacceptable situations". Nobody should "Select People", Surjan stressed.

    - "We (MEPs) had No Chance to Discuss" this last-minute Amendment earlier added at a Committee's level, said German MEP Peter Liese

    Speaking to "EuroFora", Dr. Liese, the Spokesman of the ChristianDemocrat/EPP Group in EU Parliament, said that MEPs didn't oppose other references of the Report f.ex. on "Genetic Tests", because they were "no proposals" to impose them, while, on the contrary, there was "a Problem" if anyone attempted to "impose" f.ex. this or that Genetic Technique and "Genetic Counselling", etc. to the People on human reproduction.
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The precise Text :
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    Controversial parts of Amendment No 15 ask mainly "to lead finally to the Eradication" of "Hereditary" "rare diseases", "through Genetic Counselling .., and ..pre-Implantation Selection of healthy Embryos".

    But  EU Rapporteur Professor Trakatellis, said to "EuroFora" that fears should be alleviated by Guarantees that all this should be done only "where appropriate", when it's "not contrary to existing National Law", and "always on a Voluntary basis", according to other Parts of the Amendment.

    He stressed that the main aim was to allow "a free and informed choice of persons involved", without imposing them anything :  - "It's not an obligatory, but advisary" text, he said.

    To make that point clear, he was ready, in agreement with many MEPs, to eventually drop at least that part of the controversial Amendment which initially called for "efforts to ..lead finally to the Eradication of those rare diseases" "which are Hereditary".

    But, until late Wednesday evening, reportedly together with many other MEPs, he stood by all the rest of the controversial Amendment, (fex. on the "Genetic Counselling" and the "pre-implantation Selection of healthy Embryos"), so that critical MEPs, going from ChristianDemocrats as Dr. Liese, to "Greens" or "Ind/Dem", observed to "EuroFora" that "this was not enough" to close the dangerous loophole.

    Particularly since, as Professor Trakatellis noted himself, "this is already allowed to the U.K.", and "other National Legislations would probably follow, sooner or later" in a similar direction. As for a general call to "Eradicate Hereditary rare Diseases", this "should happen, at any case, in practice, de facto", to protect public Health.

    On the contrary, "our goal should be to help patients suffering from rare diseases, not to eradicate the patients. In case of genetic disease risk, the decision should not be guided by scenarios" made by politicians. "Perents who may decide to accept a child, even if handicapped or with genetic disease, must be respected and supported with solidarity", critical MEPs stated.

    - "Any Pressure" to "a patient or couple (who "should be able to make an informed choice consistent with their own values"),"from health Professionals, Public Health Policies or Governemental Institutions, or Society at large, should be avoided", stresses the "European Society for Human Genetics".

----------------------------------

Each MEP's vote will be registered !

-----------------------------------   

The Socialist Group requested a "Split vote" on the Amendment 15, first without, and afterwards with the words "lead finally to the Eradication" etc.


    But the first "split vote" leaves intact all the other parts of the Controversial Amendment, (i.e. "Genetic Counselling", "Selection of healthy Embryos", etc).

    That's why, 3 Groups of MEPs : ChristianDemocrats/EPP, "Greens/EFA", and "Ind/Dem", have asked for "Roll Call Votes", on everything regarding the Controversial Amendment No 15, and on the final outcome of the resulting Report as amended, which will register all the individual positions to be taken by each MEP.   

Something which will obviously make each MEP think twice before voting for one or another choice, to be sure that he/she will make the right choice in front of EU Citizens, particularly at these pre-Election times...


    Crucial Votes were scheduled between 12 Noon and 1 p.m. local Strasbourg time, in the middle of a long series of various other Reports, and after a long Public Debate on the larger Health policy package, from 9 to 11.50 am.

    The specific Report inside which was hidden the controversial Amendment is due to be debated between 11 and 12 am.

    So that more last-minute Surprises may not be excluded a priori...

    Particularly at the present Historic moment, when even the Institutional Future of the EU depends on the result of a second Referendum on "Lisbon Treaty", later this year, in ...Ireland, a mainly Catholic country, where People are particularly sensitive in such kind of socio-cultural and values issues...
 

      ***     
 
     (Draft due to be updated).
 
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