Hungary's 75% European Court of Human Rights Compliance Rate Re-Examined
Forthcoming in Acta Humana (2022)
36 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2022
Date Written: June 21, 2022
Compliance records of Council of Europe member states have for decades been relied on as practical tools to estimate how states act before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR, Court) and later under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers (CM). However, as we learned in our study of states’ compliance, they fall short in offering a comprehensive image of states’ behaviour, because they fail to address all relevant factors that may influence their implementation of ECtHR rulings. For instance, based on a state’s compliance rate we are able to conclude that it is more or less successful in closing cases as opposed to such cases staying open. Yet, we can say nothing about why this is the case. Do successful closures depend on violations that they entail? How about on remedial measures undertaken? Accordingly, looking at compliance records alone could lead us – particularly in cases of Central and Eastern European states such as Hungary that are stereotypically perceived as more resistant to Western values – to ascribe their bad compliance records to backlash and overlook other, perhaps structural or financial issues that affect their response to ECtHR judgments. This could surely go both ways – we could justify states’ non-compliance with their financial inability to remedy often substantial and systemic issues uncovered by the Court, whereas their bad performance can in fact be attributed to their unwillingness to abide by judgments. The paper seeks to address precisely this shortcoming. To comprehensively understand several factors that influence Hungary’s compliance record we look beyond Hungary’s ratio of closed and open cases. By approaching the study empirically, we account for a range of variables, including Hungary’s practice of implementing cases of different types of violations, its approach to the adoption of monetary and non-monetary remedies and the network of different participating actors in implementation of ECtHR cases.
Keywords: Hungary, European Court of Human Rights, compliance, remedies, compensation
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