Skip to main content

ABOUT the department for execution of judgments

Agora building Strasbourg


The Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights advises and assists the Committee of Ministers in its function of supervising the implementation of the Court's judgments. It also supports Member States to achieve full, efficient and speedy enforcement of judgments.


In accordance with the mandate of the Directorate General "Human Rights and the Rule of Law", pursuant to the delegation of the Director General and under his authority, the Department for the Execution of Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights:

  • on the one hand, it advises and assists the Committee of Ministers in its functions of supervising the execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in accordance with Article 46, paragraph 2 of the Convention; and
  • on the other hand, the Department provides support to member states in their efforts to achieve full, efficient and speedy execution of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, in cases in which they are parties.

Main objectives

  • To assist, through its independent and impartial expertise, the Committee of Ministers in its evaluation of the measures undertaken and/or envisaged by the States to implement the judgments of the European Court and in the identification of the responses to be given;
  • To assist the Committee of Ministers in its efforts to strengthen its oversight activities, in particular by improving its working methods and strengthening the tools at its disposal;
  • To promote the strengthening of synergy with other actors of the Council of Europe in the areas of their competence, especially with the Court, the Parliamentary Assembly and the Commissioner for Human Rights;
  • To support the surveyed states in identifying and implementing the necessary individual and/or general enforcement measures;
  • To ensure transparency and visibility of the results of the supervision process.

Main activities

In accordance with the rules of the Committee of Ministers for the supervision of the execution of judgments and additional indications contained in its work methods, the Department ensures close and continuous monitoring of the progress of the execution of all cases, regardless of the type of supervision (standard or enhanced).

Regarding the Committee of Ministers:

  • makes proposals for determining the priorities of the Commission's supervisory actions, especially in relation to the initial selection of the supervisory path (standard or enhanced) and any subsequent transfer of cases between the two tracks, as well as proposals related to cases that require special support from the Committee of Ministers through detailed examination on their meetings;
  • prepares, in that context, proposals for cases that will be included in the order of work of the Board sessions;
  • prepares and provides all necessary assistance to the Board, including analyzes and assessments of the state of execution in the form of contributions to the order of business and proposes actions, especially in draft decisions and draft solutions;
  • intervenes if necessary during Commission sessions to present analyses, assessments and proposed actions;
  • cooperates with the Secretariat of the Commission in its mission to prepare, organize the meetings of the Committee and assist the Chairman in the preparation and conduct of the meetings; is in contact with the injured party(ies), national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights, non-governmental organizations in connection with the execution of judgments, for the purpose of applying rule 9 of the Rules of Procedure of the Supervisory Commission, as well as with any other interested organization;
  • closely monitors the implementation of the Rules for the supervision of the execution of judgments of conditions of friendly settlements and working methods in order to submit to the Committee, in cooperation with the Secretariat, proposals for improvement.

Regarding Member States:

  • maintains a permanent bilateral dialogue with national authorities to encourage the implementation process, in particular through early evaluation of action plans/action reports and regular contact meetings;
  • support, upon request, the efforts of respondent States to ensure full, effective and speedy enforcement by providing them with technical advice and support through targeted activities, such as legal expertise, meetings involving all interested national actors or training activities.

As for synergy:

  • maintains close contacts with members of the Court's Secretariat on all relevant issues related to enforcement, developing meetings with the Court's departments as necessary;
  • maintains and develops contacts with the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly, the Office of the Commissioner and other relevant entities of the Secretariat in connection with execution tasks;
  • ensures that the relevant actors of the Council of Europe take into account, in cooperation programs and activities, the problems revealed by the execution of judgments;
  • enters into contact, as necessary, with the relevant departments of other international organizations.

Regarding the visibility and transparency of the judgment execution process:

  • develops all the means necessary to promote and strengthen the visibility of the oversight activities of the Committee of Ministers, especially through a dedicated website, prepares thematic information brochures and country data, and prepares the annual report of the Committee of Ministers on oversightactivities.


Supervision procedure

Member States have undertaken to comply with final judgments of the European Court of Human Rights (the Court) establishing violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (the Convention), as well as court decisions that take into account friendly settlements (see below, Article 46 and 39.4 of the Convention).

Obligation and enforcement of judgments

1. The High Contracting Parties undertake to obey the final judgment of the Court in every case to which they are parties.

2. The final judgment of the Court is submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which supervises its execution.

3. If the Committee of Ministers considers that monitoring the execution of a final judgment complicates some problem related to the interpretation of the judgment, it may turn to the Court for a decision on the question of interpretation. A two-thirds majority vote of the authorized representatives in the Committee is required for the decision to address the Court.

4. If the Committee of Ministers considers that a High Contracting Party refuses to comply with a final judgment in a case to which it is a party, it may, after officially notifying that High Contracting Party, and on the basis of a decision adopted by a two-thirds majority of the representatives sitting in the Committee, to ask the Court whether that High Contracting Party has failed to fulfill its obligation from paragraph 1.

5. If the Court determines that there is a violation of paragraph 1, it refers the case to the Committee of Ministers for consideration of the measures to be taken. If the Court finds that paragraph 1 has not been violated, it will return the case to the Committee of Ministers, which concludes the hearing on the case.

Friendly settlements

1. At any stage of the proceedings, the Court may make itself available to the disputing parties in order to reach an amicable settlement based on respect for the human rights established by the Convention and its protocols.

2. The procedure conducted on the basis of paragraph 1 is of a confidential nature.

3. If an amicable settlement is reached, the Court removes the case from its list with a decision that contains a brief description of the facts and the solution reached.

4. The decision is submitted to the Committee of Ministers, which supervises the execution of the friendly settlement provisions provided for in the decision.


Adoption of the necessary enforcement measures is monitoredCommittee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which consists of representatives of the governments of 47 member states, with the help of the Department for the Execution of Court Judgments (Directorate General I of Human rights and the rule of law).

States havelegal obligation to correct the identified violations, but enjoyfreedom of assessment in terms of the means to be used. The measures to be taken are, in principle, identified by the respective country, under the supervision of the Committee of Ministers. The court can assist in the enforcement process, particularly throughpilot judgment procedure (which is used in case of major structural problems).

The measures to be taken may refer to an individual applicant or be of a general nature.

Individual measures

Enforcement measures must first end the violation and eliminate, as far as possible, its negative consequences for the applicant.

This includes the payment of any amount awarded by the Court as just satisfaction or agreed between the parties in an amicable settlement. Default interest is due in case of delay.

When mere monetary compensation cannot adequately erase the consequences of a violation of the Convention, the Committee of Ministers ensures that the authorities take any other individual measures that may be necessary to remedy the violation. The judgments themselves sometimes contain additional recommendations.

General measures

Enforcement of judgments also requires general measures to prevent violations similar to those found by the Court (either through changes in the law, case law or through other types of measures). Ensuring the effectiveness of domestic remedies is an important concern.

Where domestic authorities give direct effect to the judgments and jurisprudence of the Court, the publication and distribution of the judgments, where necessary, translated and commented, are often sufficient to achieve the necessary changes and to provide effective domestic remedies.


Examples of individual measures

  • Reestablishing contact (in accordance with the best interests of the child) between children and parents who have been unjustifiably separated from them (eg in the case of children being placed in foster care or kidnapped by the other parent)
  • Repetition of unfair criminal proceedings
  • Revoking a deportation order that would expose applicants to the risk of torture or ill-treatment, or to life-threatening circumstances in the country of destination

Examples of general measures

The process of execution of final judgments

The Committee of Ministers provides continuous supervision over the execution of judgments and decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. The cases remain under surveillance until the necessary measures are taken. The supervision then ends with a final resolution.

When judgments and decisions become legally binding, states inform the Committee of Ministers as soon as possible about the measures planned and/or undertaken in the "action plan". When all measures are taken, an "action report" is submitted. During the supervision process, applicants, non-governmental organizations and national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights can submit statements in written form.

Monitoring of the adoption and implementation of action plans follows a new dual-track procedure since January 2011. Most cases follow a standard monitoring procedure. Enhanced supervision is used for cases that require urgent individual measures or reveal important structural problems (especially pilot judgments) and for cross-border cases.

When necessary, the Committee of Ministers can assist implementation in various ways, particularly through recommendations made in decisions and interim resolutions. The Council of Europe can provide countries with additional support in the form of targeted programs where required (eg legal expertise, round tables or training activities). Support can also be provided through the Human Rights Fund (HRF).