Turning Criticism into Strength
Edited by Spyridon Flogaitis, Tom Zwart and Julie Fraser
Chapter 15: An all-European conversation: Promoting a common understanding of European human rights
No modern institution can survive exclusively on status-based authority. It is criticism that generates and maintains the self-reflection that enables adaptation and initiative. The European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’ or ‘the Court’) certainly needs and often deserves criticism. Only self-reflection – generated by honest criticism – enables performance improvement both in terms of intellectual integrity and functional efficiency. The Court has to be grateful for criticism and for the efforts of the human rights, academic and political communities dedicated to ‘Court-watching’. This term is derived from ‘bird-watching’, which is based on conservationist principles and aims to protect and assist the life of birds. The methods used in bird-watching are praiseworthy and to be emulated, particularly in contemporary times, as it appears that some of the Court’s critics are more interested in ‘Court-watching’ for the purposes of hunting rather than conserving. This chapter addresses select points related to the current problems facing the Court and some of the potential remedies to those problems.
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