On Thursday, 21 September, the Saeima conceptually supported the draft law aimed at ratifying the Protocol that would amend the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. The Protocol provides for the improvement of the legislative framework in order to quicken the handling of complaints at the European Court of Human Rights, thus ensuring that Latvians also have their allegations of human rights violations reviewed faster.
The Protocol provides changing the upper age limit for judges: henceforth, candidates for the post of judge cannot be more than 65 years of age and are to be elected for nine years. Until now, persons up to the age of 70 could fill the post of judge at the European Court of Human Rights irrespective of the time spent in the position.
Likewise, the Protocol aims to shorten the timeframe within which a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights must be submitted, namely: once the final ruling at the national level has been delivered, a person is granted four – rather than six, as it was until now – months within which to submit the complaint.
Under the proposed framework, the European Court of Human Rights is permitted to declare minor complaints inadmissible for examination of merits even if those complaints have not been assessed in national courts.
The number of individual complaints at the European Court of Human Rights has been steadily increasing. For example, in 2011, 160 thousand complaints were waiting for examination. Therefore, in 2010, the European Court of Human Rights reform was launched, and the Protocol, which the Committee on Foreign Affairs today conceptually supported, is part of this reform. Once all members of the Council of Europe have signed and ratified the Protocol, it shall enter into force.
Saeima Press Service