Op woensdag 24 januari sprak ik de Deense premier toe in de Raad van Europa. Ik was erg verbaasd, want ik denk dat hij een gevaarlijk spel speelt om lidstaten op te roepen om tussen te komen in rechtszaken in het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens.

Herbeluister (vanaf minuut 49:45) en lees mijn tussenkomst hier:

Ms De SUTTER (Belgium) – We have heard you pleading for reform of the European human rights system. You want to make it easier for member States to intervene directly in Court cases and call it shared responsibility”. But can you address the fear that this could risk the deterioration of the human rights system, leading to the belief that human rights are not universal but subject to the subsidiarity principle, which could lead to cherry-picking?

Mr RASMUSSEN – The principles are universal. There is no discussion about that. I thank Ms De Sutter for raising that question because it gives me an opportunity to emphasise that. I put absolutely no question mark over the fact that human rights are universal, and in this pan-European context. We should discuss with an open mind how to establish the best system to ensure that these rights are fulfilled and that people are protected in reality. In that discussion, it is a fact that there is a severe case load right now. We should try to solve that problem. One way, among others, is to engage the national level more. That is the original concept: human rights should be implemented at national level. But in reality, if you look at member States, you will see clear differences between them. Some member States produce many cases to the European Court, some produce fewer. You cannot just conclude that the countries with the big backlog of cases are necessarily the ones with the biggest problems. It could also be linked to the fact that, at national level, for technical reasons or owing to tradition or whatever, they do not take the Convention into account in the proper way.

If there is closer working between the national level and the Court and – excuse my bad English – we could teach these countries better to integrate or implement the Convention, we could avoid cases at European level. We could then move our focus to the cases where we have severe problems. It is crucial to state that the rights are universal but there is shared responsibility for ensuring that they are fulfilled in reality.