Measures to oversee human rights laws and ECHR judgments by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

Members of the Ukrainian Parliament were urged to strengthen the parliament’s institutional capacity to press for the full implementation of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights, following a seminar held in Strasbourg on 7-8 November 2019 on the key role parliaments can play in this process.

Members of the Verkhovna Rada taking part agreed that a sub-committee of the parliament’s Legal Policy Committee created in 2017 to deal with this issue needed increased powers if Ukraine’s human rights policies were to be implemented properly.

Issues covered in the seminar included the need for co-operation between the parliament and the executive if parliamentarians are to produce systematic reports on the compatibility of draft laws with the Convention, and on how far the government is implementing rulings of the Strasbourg Court.

During an exchange of views, experts from the UK, Germany, Georgia, the Netherlands, France and Cyprus emphasised that the sub-committee had legislative responsibilities, through building legal and policy frameworks and ensuring that the law complies with international and regional human rights norms. However, it should also be responsible for oversight of how well government – and national human rights institutions – were promoting and protecting human rights.

Members of the Verkhovna Rada had considerable knowledge of the ECHR, as well as the political will to carry out these tasks, but the sub-committee needed better mechanisms, processes and working methods, it was suggested.

These included a more proactive approach, a better flow of information from and dialogue with the government, access to independent expertise, systems for moving and prioritising work, as well as an inclusive approach involving all stakeholders.