Independent yet Accountable: Stress Test Lessons for the European Court of Human Rights
Maastricht Journal of European and Comparative Law, Forthcoming
28 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2017
Date Written: August 14, 2017
An important ‘stress test’ for regional human rights courts would be to see how well such courts perform when faced with authoritarian, human rights-violating regimes that they are supposed to hinder or constrain. These states are not only subjects of the court, but also its masters insofar as they enjoy various forms of control and accountability mechanisms that may constrain the court’s independence. The article argues that, at least in the case of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), its precarious ‘constrained independence’ should be modified to enhance its impact even under such circumstances. Such changes could strengthen the ECtHR’s impartial and independent role without running the risk of turning it into a so-called ‘juristocracy’ - subjecting European states to the arbitrary rule of international judges.
Keywords: Accountability, Independence, European Court of Human Rights, Selection of Judges, Selection of Cases, Gender Bias, Professional Background, Role of Registry
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