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The lower house of the Duma has approved Protocol 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights.  Russia has been the holdout country in ratifying Protocol 14, which the other 46 participating nations had all approved by 2006.

Protocol 14 is largely a procedural reform to the speed up the court’s work by reducing the number of judges required to make major decisions.  The Strasbourg Court has been the subject of complaints due to the extremely large backlog of cases, especially against Russia.  

Russia wanted Russian judges to be hearing cases against Russia, and they have now been guaranteed this will be the case. Furthermore the court will not investigate complaints before cases are formally accepted nor will it be granted new powers to force rulings to be carried out.

I’m not sure this counts as a victory for the ECHR. The state parties have made rather obvious concessions to Russia, especially as Russia is known to quite persistently fail to implement the decision of the Strasbourg Court. Anecdotally I have heard that many of the cases pending cases concerning Russia  concern failures to implement previous decisions of the Court. On the other hand, I suppose this stops Russia holding the Strasbourg Court to ransom. For states that are serious about their obligations under the ECHR the Strasbourg Court should once again become a more efficient court of last resort for human rights protection.

Link To NY Times Article

Full Text of Protocol 14