Russian law allowing the Russian Constitutional court to disregard decisions of the European Court of Human Rights

The EU is deeply concerned by the new Russian law allowing the Russian constitutional court to set aside international law and rulings of international courts, including those of the European Court of Human Rights, if in contradiction with the Russian constitutional law.

 It is a well-established principle of international law that a state party to a treaty may not justify its failure to perform a treaty by invoking provisions of its internal law. By ratifying the Convention, the parties have assumed the obligation to be bound by its provisions, including the obligation to abide by the judgements of the European Court of Human Rights.

 In this respect, the EU would like to highlight Article 46.1 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which reads as follows: "The High Contracting Parties undertake to abide by the final judgment of the Court in any case to which they are parties".

 Where conflicts arise between the European Convention on Human Rights and domestic constitutions they should be resolved on the basis of constructive dialogue.

 Members of the Council of Europe, including EU MS, have demonstrated that perceived tensions between the Convention and core constitutional principles can be resolved. This is the only way to preserve a common legal pan-European space.

 The decisions of the Strasbourg Court should not be treated as opinions but as binding obligations. Any other approach risks undermining the unique human rights protection system established by the European Convention of Human Rights.

 The Council of Europe, as the guardian of the European Convention on Human Rights, should seek full compliance of all of its member states with the European Convention on Human Rights.

 In this light, the EU remains fully committed to supporting the Council of Europe’s role and to protect and promote human rights and the rule of law, based on Article 21 of the Lisbon Treaty.

 The European Union encourages the Council of Europe to continue its dialogue with the Russian authorities in order to avoid open conflicts between the Convention and Russian constitutional principles.

 We call on Russia’s Constitutional Court to ensure respect for the Convention in the event specific cases arise under the new law.

publié le 18/12/2015

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