As highlighted in the Priorities of the Icelandic Presidency of the Committee of Ministers, democracy needs transparent and accountable institutions, and the legitimacy of those institutions depends on compliance with the rule of law and respect for human rights.

In this context, the implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention) at national level remains of fundamental importance, and it is essential to ensure the effectiveness of the Convention’s system. The primary responsibility to ensure the application and effective implementation of the Convention lies with the States Parties and national authorities and in particular courts, which are the first guardians of human rights, ensuring the full application of the Convention as interpreted by the European Court of Human Rights (the Court), in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity[1]. However, States are not left alone in this endeavour.

In its decisions of 4 November 2020[2], on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Convention, the Committee of Ministers emphasised "the importance of maximising the potential of the Council of Europe to support States Parties in the execution process and in the implementation of the Convention at national level, including through co-operation projects such as the HELP Programme (Human Rights Education for Legal Professionals), and by developing synergies with the knowledge sharing platform developed by the Court, in order to facilitate Convention-compliant adjudication by national courts".

This conference “Subsidiarity principle: national implementation of the European Convention on human rights” aims to provide an up-to-date overviewand to establish opportunities to exchange on the support offered by the Council of Europe to this purpose. Particular emphasis will be placed on (multilateral and bilateral) co-operation projects, as well as specific tools to support Member States in the national implementation of the ECHR. In the afternoon, the launch of a new co-operation project "Support to efficient domestic capacity for the execution of ECtHR judgments (Phase 1)"[3] will be marked.  

[1] Among many references, see High-level Conference on the “Implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, our shared responsibility”, Brussels Declaration, 27 March 2015

[2] CM/Del/Dec(2020)130/4

[3] Project financed by the Human Rights Trust Fund (HRTF)