Communications by NHRIs/NGOs
Under Rule 9, National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) may submit to the Committee of Ministers (CM) communications with regard to the execution of judgments according to Article 46, paragraph 2, of the Convention.
The Council of Europe thereby stresses the important role played by NHRIs and NGOs in the execution process. (Copenhagen Declaration)
On this webpage NHRIs and NGOs can find useful, practical information about the execution process and the submission of communications to the Committee of Ministers.
Tips for drafting a submission
In the beginning of the communication, a brief description of the case or of the problems revealed (possibly based on the case description text in HUDOC-EXEC) may be useful to help see the pertinence of the observations/arguments submitted.
Also it is useful to make clear in the beginning of the communication its aim. For example, is the aim to comment on:
- the scope and content of the respondent state’s action plan;
- the implementation of the measures set out in the action plan (e.g. the results obtained or likely to be obtained, respect of time line, manner of approaching problems encountered);
- the respondent state’s assertion in an action report that execution has been carried out so that the case can be closed;
- procedural issues, such as whether the case should be moved by the CM from the standard to the enhanced procedure or rapidly needs a detailed examination, e.g. because of intervening events, etc.
- Individual measures (IM)
When drafting, NHRIs and NGOs should bear in mind that the aim of IM is to put an end to on-going violations, so that the consequences of the violations are erased for the injured party, as far as possible - principle of restitutio in integrum.
If the NHRI or NGO has updated information on IM, it should be included in the communication.
NHRIs and NGOs may wish to address the adequacy and effectiveness of the measures adopted/envisaged by the respondent state or available under existing domestic law and practice to provide individual redress.
If the IM appear to require the prior adoption of general measures (e.g. a new law on reopening of proceedings or revision of the time limits for reopening), it is important to indicate this and provide a reasoned view on how such measures should be conceived.
- General measures (GM)
GM aim to prevent recurrence of violations similar to those found, to provide redress to the extent possible for violations already committed, to put an end to continuing violations.
As with IM, it is important for NHRIs and NGOs to indicate whether the measures already taken or envisaged by the respondent state in the action plan or action report are sufficient for the purpose of execution or whether additional measures are necessary. If not, identify clearly what needs to change.
There is added value if alternatives to GM proposed/envisaged by the respondent state can be presented.
Bear in mind that expert advice may be available from Council of Europe bodies or institutions (e.g. CommHR, CPT, CEPEJ, ECRI).
Also bear in mind the expert advice available from other international organisations (e.g. UN Treaty Bodies, UN Special Procedures, FRA).
Timing for submitting communications
Timeline for submitting communications under Rule 9 on cases on the agenda of the CMDH meetings
All communications received from NHRIs and NGOs are sent immediately by the Council of Europe Secretariat to the state concerned.
If the state responds within five working days, both the communication and the response are brought to the attention of the CM and made public.
If there is no response within these five days, the communication is transmitted to the CM but is not made public. It is only made public ten working days after it was sent to the state, together with any response received within this time limit.
A state response received after these ten working days is circulated and published separately upon receipt.
As a result, NHRIs and NGOs need to ensure that any communication relating to a case due to be examined at a specific CMDH meeting is sent to the Secretariat in due time for the meeting or at least five days before that meeting, to allow it to be taken into consideration by the CM, and more than ten days if the intention is for the communication to be published by the CM.
If the NHRI or NGO wishes to have its communication taken into account in the drafting notes on the agenda prepared by the Secretariat in respect of each case, thus allowing good preparation of the meeting, it is important that communication be submitted well in advance, whenever possible at least five weeks before the CMDH meeting.
Other practical issues
Under the CM’s rules of procedure, the respondent state is required to submit an action plan or action report at the latest six months after the date on which the Court’s judgment becomes final. The national reflection procedure should, therefore, start shortly after the judgment becomes final. The views of NHRIs and NGOs may sometimes be useful at an early stage.
All action plans and action reports submitted by respondent states are immediately posted on the CM website (“Documents” – “Latest DH docs”) and available on HUDOC-EXEC, except in the very rare cases where a request for confidentiality is made by the state concerned.
After a CMDH meeting, the order of business of the meeting, with the relevant decisions and other documents, are published on the Execution Department’s webpage on CMDH meetings.
NHRIs and NGOs can check the preliminary draft list of cases proposed for detailed examination for the next CMDH meeting on the home page of the Execution’s Department website. This list is available online after each CMDH meeting, together with the list of cases listed for detailed examination at future HR meetings by decisions of the Committee.
If you wish to receive notifications when a new document regarding cases you are interested in is published in HUDOC-EXEC, you have the possibility to subscribe to targeted RSS feeds allowing to follow action plans, action reports and communications published by the Execution Department.
Submissions should be addressed to the Head of the Department to the general mailbox:
Council of Europe
DGI - Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law
Department for the Execution of Judgments of the ECHR
F-67075 Strasbourg Cedex
+33 (0)3 90 21 55 54
+33 (0)3 88 41 27 93