Document Type : Original Article


Professor of Law & Former Judge of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Strasbourg, France


This paper is a Chapter from the author’s latest book, ON THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS, Eleven Publishing, 2019. The work is an attempt at a critical understanding of the spirit of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as implemented, by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (ECtHR) – starting with the appointment of the “new Court” in 1998 and up to 2016. The Court, which had begun to function in 1959, has been ever since at the intersection of the two great Western legal traditions.
In this perspective, “human rights” are the procedural safety valve, a conduit to the international jurisdiction supposedly capable of resolving authoritatively what could not have been resolved domestically. It is illusory to search in this context for the “essence” of human rights since here “human rights” is practically everything that could not have been properly adjudicated at the domestic level.