16 April, 2009
The judges of national courts are the first and main interpreters of the European Convention of Human Rights, the Chairman of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) Jean-Paul Costa recognises, therefore during the first official visit to Latvia, he has considered important to meet judges of the Supreme Court of the Republic of Latvia.
During the meeting on April 15, Costa has specified great value of cooperation between the ECHR and the Supreme Court of Latvia. „The countries should guarantee the human rights, which are defined in the European Convention of Human Rights, and in the greatest degree it is provided with national courts. The ECHR is only the final court”, Costa has underlined.
The Chairman of the ECHR, and also a Vice Secretary of the ECHR, Michael O’Boil and the judge of the ECHR Ineta Ziemele, who accompanied him in visit to the Supreme Court, have answered to questions of judges and have explained position of the ECHR on several topical questions for Latvia.
Judges have asked opinion of the ECHR on more extensive use of written process in reviewing of cases, in order to accelerate legal proceedings course. Asked, as national courts, if on any question in the state legislation there has been "vacuum", should operate, and if in the Convention of Human Rights corresponding norms have been provided, for example, mentioning compensation of moral harm in civil procedure cases, which had been reviewed, when the institute of indemnification of a damage had not been developed yet in procedure laws. The Chairman of the ECHR has advised to use experience of other countries in similar cases, and, not waiting for judgement of the ECHR, to apply norms of the Convention, even if provided by the Convention is not provided in the national legislation, as „the Convention is a part of the national legislation”.
ECHR has started to think of a question on abilities of the countries to pay indemnification to victims in the conditions of financial crisis, understanding that the financial situation in the countries is different, the Chairman of the ECHR has confirmed, answering a question of judges on the volumes of indemnifications during financial crisis. Discussions have been spent on it, supposing that Article 41 of the Convention about fair performance of indemnifications can be postponed for a while. But the greatest fears exist that the economic crisis could touch an essence of the human rights and principles of the good government, and in this sense the ECHR will not give a freedom of action to the countries, in a crisis context.
Judges of the Supreme Court used possibility to express fear that ECHR does not always pay attention to a historical situation in Latvia, and have asked opinion of the Chairman of the ECHR on events of year 1940 in the Baltic States. Cоста has confirmed his belief that in year 1940 the Baltic States had been occupied, and during this visit they see the results of 50-years oppression in Latvia. The ECHR tries to be fair and objective court, taking into account the political past of the countries, but receives reproaches from Russia in politicization of the court.
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Ivars Bickovics has expressed satisfaction with the visit of the Chairman of the ECHR to the Supreme Court, and also possibility for judges and workers of the court to visit the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg regularly, in order to exchange experience.
The Chairman of the ECHR and delegation stayed in Latvia with official visit from April 14 till April 16. Visit has been organised by the Constitutional Court in cooperation with the ECHR and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the visit the Chairman of the ECHR has met the President of the State Valdis Zatlers, the President of Ministers Valdis Dombrovskis, the Minister of Justice Mareks Seglins, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Maris Riekstins, the Public Prosecutor Janis Maizitis, a companion of the Chair of Saeima Solvita Aboltina, judges of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court, and also has visited the Museum of the Occepation of Latvia.
Information prepared by
Head of the Division of Communications of the Supreme Court Rasma Zvejniece
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