Supervision of the
Execution of Judgments

The judgments of the Court

Has the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found a member state guilty of a violation of the human rights as defined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), the offending state has to:

  • pay material damages to the applicant in accordance with the Court’s orders
  • eliminate the ramifications of the violation
  • take the necessary steps to insure that the same kind of violation can’t be repeated in the future
  • publish the judgement in the relevant national legal journals

The execution of the judgments of the Court

The Committee of Ministers, as the Council of Europe’s decision-taking body, supervises the execution of the judgments of the Court. It not only ensures, that damages awarded by the Court are paid, but it also assists the state in question in trying to find suitable measures in order to comply with all other demands made by the Court. Especially the obligation to eliminate the ramifications of the human rights violation as well as to prevent the violation from happening again can be a challenge. Changes to the national legislation of the state in question might be necessary, and in that case the execution of the judgment in its entirety will take up quite some time.

Forms of pressure

Should a member state refuse to implement a judgment, the Committee of Ministers can apply multilateral peer-pressure or bilateral pressure from neighbouring states. It can also threaten the member state in question with the publication of a list, containing all its pending cases before the Court, or – as a last resort – with the exclusion from the Council of Europe.

All these forms of pressure are only “soft measures”, but since they have the potential to let a member state loose face, they nevertheless hold a certain power.


Video clip on the supervision of the execution of the judgments (4 minutes):

Video © CoE