The European Court of Human Rights and its Discontents
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The European Court of Human Rights and its Discontents

Turning Criticism into Strength

Edited by Spyridon Flogaitis, Tom Zwart and Julie Fraser

The European Court of Human Rights has long been part of the most advanced human rights regime in the world. However, the Court has increasingly drawn criticism, with questions raised about its legitimacy and backlog of cases. This book for the first time brings together the critics of the Court and its proponents to debate these issues. The result is a collection which reflects balanced perspectives on the Court’s successes and challenges.
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Chapter 13: How to improve the results of a reluctant player: The case of Russia and the European Convention on Human Rights

Turning Criticism into Strength

Anton Burkov


On 6 May 1992 the Government of the Russian Federation expressed in its letter to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe the wish to be invited to join the Council and declaring itself willing to respect the principles of the rule of law and of the enjoyment by all persons within its jurisdiction of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Four years later on 28 February 1996 the Russian Federation acceded to the Statute of the Council of Europe without meeting all of the human rights requirements for member States. An unfavourable ad hoc Report by the Eminent Lawyers Group concluded that ‘the legal order of the Russian Federation does not, at the present moment, meet the Council of Europe standards as enshrined in the Statute of the Council and developed by the organs of the European Convention on Human Rights’. The same evaluation was made by the then Director of the Legal Department of the Russian Ministry for Foreign Affairs in an Explanatory Note on the Issue of Signing the European Convention. On 5 May 1998 the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (‘ECHR’ or ‘the Convention’) formally entered into force in the Russian Federation. From then on, those in the Russian Federation’s jurisdiction were allowed to bring alleged violations of the Convention before the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’ or ‘the Court’) and, more importantly, to seek legal protection within the national legal system by invoking the Convention’s guarantees.

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