The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia held that Protocol 15 to the European Convention is compatible with the Republic of Armenia Constitution

On December 1, 2015 the Republic of Armenia Constitutional Court held that the obligations envisaged by Protocol No. 15 amending the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms are compatible with the Republic of Armenia Constitution. Mr Arman TATOYAN, Deputy Minister of Justice of the Republic of Armenia, Deputy Representative of the Government of Armenia before the European Court of Human Rights was appointed the Republic of Armenia President’s official representative at the Constitutional Court for discussion of this question.

Being signed on June 24, 2013 the Protocol stipulates amendments aimed at increasing the European Court’s effectiveness. The principal amendments are as follows:

1. A new recital shall be added at the end of the Preamble of the European Convention containing a reference to the principle of subsidiarity and the doctrine of the margin of appreciation. It is intended to enhance the transparency and accessibility of these characteristics of the Convention system.

2. Another amendment is introduced to require that candidates be less than 65 years of age at the date by which the list of three candidates has been requested by the Parliamentary Assembly. This modification aims at enabling highly qualified judges to serve the full nine-year term of office and thereby reinforce the consistency of the membership of the European Court.

3. According to the Convention where a case pending before a Chamber raises a serious question affecting the interpretation of the Convention or the Protocols thereto, or where the resolution of a question before the Chamber might have a result inconsistent with a judgment previously delivered by the Court, the Chamber may, at any time before it has rendered its judgment, relinquish jurisdiction in favour of the Grand Chamber, unless one of the parties to the case objects. Following the entry into force of the Protocol the parties may no longer object to relinquishment of a case by a Chamber in favour of the Grand Chamber. The removal of the parties’ right to object to relinquishment would not apply to pending cases in which one of the parties had already objected, before entry into force of the Protocol, to a Chamber’s proposal of relinquishment in favour of the Grand Chamber.

4. The Convention will be amended as to reduce from six months to four the period following the date of the final domestic decision within which an application must be made to the Court.  The reduction in the time limit for submitting an application to the Court should apply only after a period of six months following the entry into force of the Protocol. Furthermore, the new time limit will not have retroactive effect, i.e. it will not apply to applications in respect of which the final domestic decision was taken prior to the date of entry into force of this new rule. This amendment intends to reduce the European Court’s caseload preconditioned by ever-increasing number of applications.

5. The admissibility criterion concerning “significant disadvantage”, has been amended to delete the proviso that the case have been duly considered by a domestic tribunal.

Taking into consideration the above-mentioned transitional provisions governing the application of certain other, substantive provisions, the Protocol will enter into force when signed and ratified by the Council of Europe all member states.

Until now 41 out of 47 member states have signed the Protocol, 23 have already ratified it. Besides Armenia, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia, Turkey and Ukraine have not ratified the Protocol yet.

The English text and Armenian translation of Protocol No.15 amending the European Convention. 

For the Constitutional Court decision, please, follow the link.

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