Challenging the Unconditional: Partial Compliance with ECtHR Judgments in the South Caucasus States

27 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2018

Date Written: September 8, 2018


The European human rights system has long been seen as one of the greatest European achievements with its European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) being the world’s leading human rights court. Current turbulent times however pose serious challenges to the European system, which has been increasingly contested by the deepening ‘implementation crisis’. The absolute obligation of member States of the Council of Europe (CoE) to abide by ECtHR judgments under Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) has been increasingly compromised by States’ selective approach, often resulting in minimalistic, dilatory, lengthy or even contested compliance with ECtHR judgments, which this paper analyses under the overarching notion of ‘partial compliance’. As the implementation backlog has largely grown after the accession of the newly emerged States to the CoE in late 1990/early 2000s, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this paper analyses the respective States` compliance behaviour by looking into the South Caucasus States: Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The research findings suggest that partial compliance is a very likely form of compliance in the South Caucasus States, and that some of the factors explaining such behaviour that this paper discusses may be distinctive to States that joined the CoE after the collapse of the Soviet Union, continuing to display various vulnerabilities in the areas of human rights, rule of law and democracy today. This, in turn, has serious implications for the whole European human rights system and its ability to ensure that the States’ commitments to the CoE are duly respected.

Keywords: Compliance, partial compliance, implementation, European Court of Human Rights, South Caucasus, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia

Suggested Citation

Remezaite, Ramute, Challenging the Unconditional: Partial Compliance with ECtHR Judgments in the South Caucasus States (September 8, 2018). European Society of International Law (ESIL) 2018 Research Forum (Jerusalem), Available at SSRN: or

Ramute Remezaite (Contact Author)

Middlesex University ( email )

The Burroughs
London, NW4 4BT
United Kingdom

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