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Home arrow newsitems arrow ECHR President to EU Parliament: 1st Historic Step on interpretating CoE BioEthics Treaty on 2020

ECHR President to EU Parliament: 1st Historic Step on interpretating CoE BioEthics Treaty on 2020

Written by ACM
Monday, 10 February 2020

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*Strasbourg/Angelo Marcopolo/- Replying to Questions raised at an EU Parliament's Human Rights Committee's Exceptional Hearing, this Evening in Strasbourg, ECHR's President, Professor Linos-Alexander Sicilianos, from Greece, (Comp. President Sicilianos' statements to "Eurofora", f.ex. on the PanEuropean ReUnification's repercussions on Human Rights, at : ..., etc), Announced that, "for the 1st Time", Euro-Judges are due to Interpret and/or Follow up also CoE's landmark Convention on "Bio-Ethics" (1998), known as "Oviedo" Convention, somewhere in 2020, and Not Only its general Human Rights' Convention, to which it used to be limited until now, calling that Extension "a 1st Historic Step !"

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Significantly, after a Brief Overview of ECHR's main "Successes and Challenges" Nowadays, where he had Already mentioned "BioEthics", but withOut developing, President Sicilianos chose, among a Long Series of various Topical Questions raised by MEPs, to "Start by the Beginning", as he stressed, Picking, at First, the observation, made by Luxembourg's MEP Isabel Wiseler-Lima, (who spoke on behalf of the Greatest Political Group, that of Christiandemocats/EPP), that, paradoxically, he had taken the initiative to initialy evoke "BioEthics", but withOut specifying yet, and invited him to Clarify what exactly he meant.

 

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- "Issues about BioEthics" already raised at the ECHR, "are, indeed, Numerous", observed from the outset Alexander Sicilianos.

- F.ex., "we had Cases about the End of Life", "particularly in France, with the (Famous) Lambert affair" ; "we also had cases concerning Bio-Medicine" ; "as well as Medical Experiments" (Tests) ; "Consent to Medical Operations" ; "We also have Questions concerning <<Surrogate Mothers>>", f.ex., "Recently we gave a Consultative Opinion, on a Demand by the French Final Court of Appeals, which followed it compeletely, as an example of that "Dialogue" Mechanism (of Protocol 16th) allowing to the National Supreme Courts to Ask for ECHR's Views ; etc...

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+ Moreover, "very Recently, we had a Demand from CoE's Committee on BioEthics" (an important InterGovernemental Experts' Body for PanEuropean Standards-setting), concerning the Interpretation of Article 7 of CoE's Convention on BioEthics, (known as "Oviedo" Treaty), "which raises very Delicate Issues", (about Protection of Persons suffering from Mental Disorders : something notoriously often abused by Oppressive Regimes and/or Corrupted Networks, in order to Muzzle Socio-Political Dissidents, Competitors, etc. A Sharp Contradiction exists Nowadays, Inside CoE and vis a vis many UNO ONG Actors, among those who Justify the use of Violence and/or Coertion against such Patients, under certain Conditons, and those who Exclude it, as a matter of Principle). The "Oviedo" Convention (1998) on Human Rights and Dignity of the Human being vis a vis Medicine and Biology, is an entirely Different Treaty from CoE's Convention for Human Rights, (that ECHR's Judges are due to Apply), even if, at least in Some Points, those 2 Different and Indepenent Texts, inevitably use partly Similar Approaches, in one way or another. ECHR had Never Before been pushed to Interpret Oviedo Treaty's BioEthical Law, (despite its Article 29, which allows to any Member State and/or to CoE's Committee on BioEthics to Ask for ECHR's Consultative Opinion, but had Not been used until Now).

=> So, "this will be a Great <<Première>> (a "Great First Night"), and "an Historic 1st Step !", ECHR's President appreciated, because of the UnPrecedented character of that New exercise.

- "Already Today ECHR's Committee of Rules met, precisely in order to Adopt New Rules for those New Activities, which would allow us, I Hope, during this Year (2020) to Adopt a <<Constructive>> Opinion on such Oviedo Convention's BioEthics Key-Points, "for the 1st Time", he eagerly announced.

 

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However, naturally, the above-mentioned New Activity on "Interpretation" of Oviedo's BioEthical Treaty's Rules, should pay attention not to Change the ECHR's Method of "Live", UpDating Translation, (Comp. Supra), into a kind of indirect "Reform" of the 1998 Text, which might Risk to Weaken People's Protection, at one or another pretext, (considering also the Fact that the "Oviedo" Text had been Criticized, then, particularly by Germany and Cyprus, as having been adopted "Ad Minima")...

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+ "But, BioEthics are a "Rich" Area, which naturally touches also on our European Convention on Human Rights, particularly its Article 8 on Private/Family Life, and Also its Article 2, on Human Life : End or Beginning of Life" (i.e. Human Embryo), etc., Sicilianos reminded, in parallel, as far as the Full ECHR's Competence is concerned, (Comp. Supra).


(../..)

("Draft-Text")

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    The recent paradox of freezing EU Talks with front-runner Croatia, while continuing controversial EU - Turkey talks, despite Zagreb's acceptance of Refugees' Human Rights to return, that Ankara refuses fex. in Cyprus, while both have "Good Neighborhood" problems vis a vis Slovenia, or Greece, Cyprus and Armenia respectively, can it be justified by the non-fullfilment of EU criteria, as Slovenia says, or, is it "Double Standards" ?    

The question became unavoidable after statements by Presidents of Slovenia and Croatia, Tuerk and Mesic, respectively, to "EuroFora", exclusively or among Strasbourg's journalists this week at the CoE, on the sidelines of its 2009 Summer University for Political Schools, which topically brought them together as successive key-note speakers.


    Comming only a few Months before EU checks Turkey's compliance to its commitments on Cyprus, etc., scheduled for December 2009, this obviously has a special importance for the coherence of EU Enlargement's principles.

     Suspension of EU Negotiations is a normal consequence in case of a Candidate Country's failure to fullfil EU Conditions, such as "Good Neighborhood relations", stressed at first Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, current CoE's chair.

    But, regarding EU's Criteria,  there shouldn't be any "Double Standards",  reacted Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, commenting the fact that Turkey's controversial EU negotiations continue, while they were recently "freezed" in the case of Croatia, an "unquestionably European Country", which oficially accepts to respect Refugees Human Rights, contrary to Ankara's notorious refusals or reluctance.                                       

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           - "EU itself has set as a Criterium (for EU Enlargement) the "Good Neighborhood relations",  and their absence justifies the "Suspension" EU Negotiations, (f.ex. with Croatia), because of a Border dispute affecting the territorial integrity of an EU Member Country, stressed Slovenian President, Danilo Tuerk, CoE's Chairman in office (May - November 2009), speaking to Journalists in Strasbourg including "EuroFora".    

Questioned earlier what "consequences on EU's Enlargement policy" can have the "Ban on EU Membership Negotiations", imposed to Croatia, Tuerk replied that "this question comes down to the fulfillement of (EU) Criteria for membership. One has to look at each Candidate Country ., from the point of view whether it fullfils the Criteria that EU has set. One of them are Good Neighborhood Relations, I'd like to remind. And also, there are other factors, such as Justice, Home affairs, Rule of Law, and others".


    - "Now, ..Candidate Countries are at Different Levels of fulfillement of Criteria", he observed.

    - " Croatia is obviously the closest to that. I'm rather optimistic : I think that in the coming Months we'll have an opportunity to look at all these issues constructively and hopefully we'll be able to make progress". "My main concern, at this point, is the situation in Bosnia : We haven't seen enough progres domesticaly. We haven't seen enough during ..political parties within their country.We need a New Energy, a new energetic move towards the Candidature for EU membership. "Other (Western Balkan) Countries (Serbia, Montenegro, FYROM, Albania) have been making soaring Progress, and I think that they should be ready, in a few Years, for the Candidate status".

    - "As far as the Western Balkans are concerned, .. nobody should be left outside" the EU, Slovenian's President concluded, ommitting to mention Turkey's controversial EU bid.

    - "This process may be seen as Slow, but..  Slovenia has also has also been exposed to various "Booms of Slowness" in our accession period. But now we can say that the process was relatively quick, because changes which occur after becoming EU member, are quite large, and they require proper Preparations before the (EU) membership becomes a new factor, an impacting line for a new (EU) member country".
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EU "Solidarity" ?
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Slovenian statements made some participants from certain 3rd Countries as FYROM, etc. claim that "the Principle of EU Solidarity" would "produce a.. rising European Union Nationalism (sic !), against Non-EU Countries", as they said, asking unhappy foreign countries to form a "bloc" to exert pressure on the EU...    

But Croatian President Stjepan Mesic dismissed that, supporting "EU Integration", "after the Economy also in Political" issues, as "the achievement" of our times. In EU there is "diversity, but it's United", he stressed, "EU has to be United so that it can become a central factor of Peace" also at the surrounding areas, he replied.

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Speaking later exclusively to "EuroFora", the experienced twice President of Croatia, former President of the International "Non-Aligned" movement, denounced "Double Standards" in the way EU treats recently Croatia compared to Turkey :   

 - "I think that there shouldn't be Double Standards", stressed the Croatian President, in reply to a Question comparing the freeze of EU - Croatia talks, with the continuation of EU - Turkey talks, despite the fact that Croatia is an "unquestionably European country", while Turkey's EU bid is notoriously controversial.


    Mesic was reacting to the observation that, even if he confirmed his "respect of Refugees' Human Rights to return, etc. (See infra), nevertheless, EU talks are suspended with Croatia.. While for oher, controversial candidates, who refuse to respect Refugees' Rights to return, etc., as fex. Turkey does in occupied Cyprus and elsewhere, EU negotiations continue".

    - "I believe that Croatia's accession will confirm that all European Countries who fulfill all of the Conditions and achieve European Standards, have to join the EU. There shouldn't be any Double Standards", went on to add in reply President Mesic.

    In this relation, Croatia's President found "of paramount importance", CoE's "mechanisms enforcing ECHR's judgements"
    
    - "On Refugees and Displaced persons, the process will be completed only after the last person demanding to return will be allowed to do so !", President Mesic Croatia stressed earlier, setting a general standard of obvious importance also for otherr candidates, as f.ex. Turkey, often accused to exclude or heavily restrict Greek Cypriot Displaced persons' return to their Family Homes and ancestral land, provoke difficulties to Turkish-Kurd IDPs return to their home regions at the South-East, etc.

    Some "2.000 People are still reported Missing" in former Yugoslavia, for some Years, (as in Cyprus, modern Europe's oldest case, for 3 Decades. Nagorno-Karabach, Tcecnya in Russia, etc, more recently), and Investigations "will only be completed after establishing the fate of the last one of them", he added.
    
    Speaking earlier on "War Crimes", President Mesic stressed that "Leaders are responsible for (the) Wars (of the Past), not the People", and called against Impunity :  "Individuals have to be held Responsible for Crimes. International Penal Tribunals have to persecute those individuals", perpetrators of War Crimes, he underlined.

    Such statements naturally made Mesic rather popular at ECHR, whose President, French EuroJudge, Professor Jean-Paul Costa, looked particularly smiling when he welcomed him later on Wednesday afternoon, after Slovenian President Daniko Tuerk earlier this week.
           

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