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The European Human Rights Database for South-Eastern Europe

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THE Regional database is a new comprehensive portal which provides access to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg Court), case summaries and expert comments relevant to South Eastern European countries ( Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia). and Macedonia) in local languages ​​(Bosnian/Croatian/Montenegrin/Serbian (BCMS), Albanian and Macedonian). The database is the result of cooperation between the AIRE Center legal team and regional government agents representing the respective states before the Strasbourg Court.

The database was developed with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office through the British Embassies in Podgorica, Skopje, Belgrade, Sarajevo, Tirana, Pristina and Zagreb and was covered by the Fund of influence and diplomatic values ​​(Reunifying Europe).

South-Eastern European countries are continually ratifying international human rights conventions and harmonizing existing legislation to comply with European standards. However, national courts have encountered difficulties in interpreting and applying the Strasbourg Court’s judgments, in particular because its case law remains largely inaccessible in local languages.

The database contributes to three important objectives:

  • Improving the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights in the national courts of Council of Europe member states, which was a key recommendation of the Brighton Conferenceorganized under the British presidency in April 2012.

  • Strengthening the capacity of South-Eastern European countries to meet the fundamental rule of law requirements necessary for closer association and eventual membership of the European Union, which remains the ambition of the entire region.

  • Strengthen regional cooperation between national institutions in the area of ​​rule of law and human rights.

The database project lists a large number of Strasbourg stops and makes them available in one place, in electronic form, in a systematic and searchable manner. This is therefore an innovative initiative by making the abundant case law of the Strasbourg Court easily accessible to national judges.

This article briefly explains 1) what the database is, 2) what it contains, and 3) how to use it. It reports on the progress of its promotion, implementation and adoption in the region.

What is database?

The European Human Rights Database (the Database) is an online database of Strasbourg case law, case summaries and expert commentary relevant to the region in local languages.

The database is primarily designed to enable national judges at all levels to incorporate and apply Convention jurisprudence in their judgments. It aims to encourage prosecutors, legal experts and court assistants to take into account the case law of the Convention in their legal analysis.

We hope that it will also become a useful tool for practicing lawyers, NGOs, academics and law students, as well as government officials and members of legislative bodies.

Database content

The database lists a large number of European human rights judgments (HRC) in local languages. It contains:

  • the text of each article of the Convention,
  • an overview of the main principles applicable to the article concerned,
  • reports on the case law against each country,
  • short stories,
  • relevant expert commentary, manuals and comprehensive “factual situations” as well as
  • links to other documents that may help in the interpretation of the Convention.

A manual explaining how to use the database is also published in print and electronic versions to help users navigate the database.

How to use the database

The main advantage of the database, apart from being searchable in local languages, is its user-friendly interface and search options. There are two main methods for searching the database: searching by article of the Convention and advanced searching.

Searching by article of the Convention is preferable for users who do not have extensive experience with the case law of the ECtHR, as it provides a detailed description of an article in question and its main principles. It also contains a list of common factual situations that arise under a specific article, allowing users to understand the context and circumstances in which the given article may be engaged, providing a list of all relevant decisions having context similar fact.

The advanced search option allows for a more sophisticated search that is suitable for users who already have significant knowledge of Strasbourg case law and its key concepts. It allows you to carry out a search using several articles of the Convention at the same time. Search criteria also include: general keywords, article-specific keywords, and searching by article subsections.

The Annual Regional Rule of Law Forum for South Eastern Europe

The first Regional Rule of Law Forum for Southeast Europe, held in Budva, Montenegro, in March 2014, and organized by the AIRE Center, civil rights advocates, the Montenegrin government and the embassy British from Podgorica, was the first presentation of the database.

The forum promoted the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the region, encouraged regional cooperation for the continued development of the rule of law and human rights and aimed to contribute to the European integration process in the region.

The forum also provided a platform for the presentation of the database and for future beneficiaries (ministries, judges and NGOs) to discuss its benefits and development. This is a successful outcome of interregional cooperation and sharing of best practices in the field of judicial reform and European integration. Due to its success, this regional event will be held every year.

The launch of the database in Bosnia and Herzegovina

On July 2, 2014, the AIRE Center and the Office of the Agent of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the Court in Strasbourg, together with the British Embassy in Sarajevo, presented the European Human Rights Database man to more than 50 participants, including court presidents, prosecutors and court directors. training centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Other speakers at the event included the President of the High Council of Magistracy and Prosecutions of BIH, the President of the Constitutional Court of BIH, the Vice-President of the Court of BIH and the Charge d’affaires of the United Kingdom United in BIH.

The database will be presented to judges and prosecutors in Bosnia and Herzegovina starting from September 2014, during training sessions organized in cooperation with the High Council of the Judiciary and Prosecutors and judicial training institutions of the Federation of Bosnia -Herzegovina, Republika Srpska and Brcko district.

Launch of the database in Macedonia

On July 14, 2014, the AIRE Center and the Judicial Academy of Macedonia presented the European Human Rights Database in Skopje. The Macedonian Minister of Justice, (the?) Macedonian judge at the Strasbourg Court, the UK Chargé d’affaires in Macedonia and the Macedonian Government Agent in Strasbourg also spoke at the event. The launch received widespread media coverage.

The database will be presented to judges and prosecutors in Macedonia starting from September 2014, during training sessions organized in cooperation with the Judicial Academy of Macedonia.

The launch of the database in Montenegro

At the press conference held in Podgorica on July 18, 2014, organized by the AIRE Center and the Office of the Agent of the Government of Montenegro at the Strasbourg Court, the database was presented to Montenegro. Speakers also included the President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro, the President of the Constitutional Court of Montenegro, the British Ambassador to Montenegro and the judge of the Strasbourg Court for Montenegro. The launch was widely reported in print and electronic media.

The database will be presented to judges and prosecutors in Montenegro from September 2014, during training sessions organized in cooperation with the Judicial Training Center of Montenegro.

Database launched in Serbia, Albania and Kosovo

National launches among these participants will be organized in September/October 2014 in cooperation with their respective ministries and judicial training institutions. The database will also be presented to judges and prosecutors through a series of training sessions organized in cooperation with judicial training institutions.

The full approval of the project by the relevant ministers and the highest representatives of the judiciary is of paramount importance, for the judges and prosecutors who will use it, but also, ultimately, for the citizens of these countries which will hopefully benefit from better implementation of European human rights law. rights standards at the national level. This demonstrates the political will and commitment of the top brass of the judiciary to find practical solutions to improve the human rights situation in the region. By making the information accessible and comprehensive, judges will better understand Convention rights and their familiarity with the Strasbourg Court’s case law will improve. By working closely with judicial training centers, the database will not only reach higher court judges, but will also be integrated as a primary tool for training young judges and practitioners. Implementing the Convention at the national level is the most effective and efficient way to guarantee individual rights. This is in the interest of both states in the region and in the best interest of their citizens.

Ask for an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email govuk-feedback@digital.cabinet-office.gov.uk. Please tell us which format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

Further information

For more information about this project, please contact one of the our project managers.



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