Delays in implementation of pending cases of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Committee of Social Rights concerning Finland need to be clarified

Aug 3, 2021

The Human Rights Centre sent a letter to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto on 28 June 2021 bringing up the worrying fact that there are several pending cases of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and of the Council of Europe Committee of Social Rights concerning Finland where the implementation is delayed. The Human Rights Centre inquires the Ministry for Foreign Affairs what the central problematic issues are and why their implementation has been delayed.

The Human Rights Centre requests information on, amongst others, which entity in Finland is responsible for the implementation measures related to these cases at national level. We also inquire how the Ministry for Foreign Affairs intends to promote the completion of the implementation measures at national level and in relation to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, and what is the planned timetable for the measures.

The Human Rights Centre underlines that all necessary measures must be taken without delay in order to restore the legal status of both the individual applicant and the general measures and to put an end to the monitoring of the implementation of the cases. Unreasonable delays in implementation are not in line with Finland's human rights obligations, human rights policy nor with Finland's strong support to the Council of Europe.

Currently, there are 30 pending judgments of the ECtHR, of which 10 are leading cases and 20 repetitive cases. Leading cases are cases where new structural or systemic problems are revealed and which require the adoption of new general measures, such as regulatory or other significant new measures. Repetitive cases relate to a structural or general problem already raised in the context of a leading case.

There are seven pending cases of the Council of Europe Committee of Social Rights concerning Finland. In several cases the Committee on Social Rights has assessed the situation of implementation and requested information from the government from two to three times.

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe supervises the execution of judgments of the ECtHR at national level. The Committee of Ministers requests information from the government about the execution, and the government delivers information on the development of the implementation to the Committee of Ministers. The Committee of Ministers gives recommendations and resolutions to the government on the implementation of the cases of the European Committee of Social Rights after which the Committee of Social Rights assesses the progress of the implementation at national level and decides when the decision has been implemented.

The Human Rights Centre is an autonomous and independent expert institution whose task is to promote the implementation of fundamental and human rights in Finland. The Human Rights Centre, together with its Human Rights Delegation and the Parliamentary Ombudsman form Finland's national human rights institution. The statutory tasks of the Human Rights Centre include, among other things, promoting information, education and research related to fundamental and human rights, drawing up reports on the implementation of rights, taking initiatives and issuing opinions, and participating in European and international cooperation related to the promotion and safeguarding of fundamental and human rights.

Compilation of pending judgments of ECtHR and decisions of European Committee of Social Rights 

(With its decision on 13 July 2021, the European Court of Human Rights annulled its judgment in the case of N.A. v. Finland.)