According to the European Convention on Human Rights, the
Parliamentary Assembly elects the judges of the European Court of
Human Rights from a list of three candidates submitted by each State
Party. The procedures used to select those candidates are left to
the state concerned – though the Convention lays down that judges must
hold the qualifications for office and be of “high moral character”.
To ensure those criteria are met – and to maintain the efficiency
and authority of the Court – the Assembly has made clear it expects
national selection procedures to meet certain standards: they should
be fair, transparent and as consistent as possible across countries.
Yet, despite a marked improvement in some countries, there is still
significant variance in meeting these standards, the Legal Affairs
and Human Rights Committee believes, raising the risk of ad hoc or politicised nominations.
The committee strongly urges those governments which have
not yet done so to set up appropriate national selection procedures,
including public and open calls for candidatures and a mechanism
to ensure that all the candidates they put forward possess an active
knowledge of one of the Council of Europe’s official languages and
a passive knowledge of the other – the languages in which the Court’s
judgments are drafted.
The committee proposes that lists based on national selection
procedures which fail to meet these criteria should be rejected
by the Assembly.