Candidates for the European Court of Human Rights

Doc. 10377
20 December 2004

Motion for a resolution
presented by Mr McNamara and others

This motion has not been discussed in the Assembly and commits only the members who have signed it

The Assembly, in its Resolution 1366 (2004) and its Recommendation 1649 (2004) on Candidates for the European Court of Human Rights, has rightly placed great emphasis on the importance of gender balance in the composition of the Court. It has called upon the Committee of Ministers to address the problem of the current gender imbalance and has itself taken the following decision in the above-mentioned Resolution:

 “3. The Assembly decides not to consider lists of candidates where:


ii. the list does not include at least one candidate of each sex”.

This decision was obviously taken with the unfortunate experience in mind of all-male lists of candidates submitted to the Assembly by certain High Contracting Parties to the Convention. The Assembly has rightly refused to consider such lists, as they make it simply impossible to achieve a gender balance in the composition of the Court, where women remain clearly under-represented for the time being.

However, the absolute wording of the decision quoted above would in effect also exclude consideration of an all-female list of candidates (a list otherwise meeting the criteria set by the Assembly). Although such an effect was not necessarily intended, the Assembly would be obliged to reject such a list, even if it would obviously contribute to achieving the underlying purpose of the decision: to achieve a more balanced representation of both sexes on the Court.

Accordingly, the Assembly should modify its decision as follows in order to create a specific and gender-neutral exception which refers to the general 40% parity threshold agreed by the Committee of Ministers and accepted by the Assembly itself in paragraph 4 (iv) of its above-mentioned Resolution:

“The Assembly decides not to consider lists of candidates where:


ii. the list does not includ at least one candidate of each sex, except where the candidates belong to a sex which is under-represented on the Court, the latter being understood as comprising less than 40 % of the total number of judges”.

Signed [1]:
McNAMARA, Kevin, United Kingdom, SOC
AZEVEDO, Maria Eduarda, Portugal, EPP/CD
BEMELMANS-VIDEC, Marie-Louise, Netherlands, EPP/CD
CILEVICS, Boriss, Latvia, SOC
CLIVETI, Minodora, Romania, SOC
CURDOV┴, Anna, Czech Republic, SOC
ERR, Lydie, Luxembourg, SOC
FOULKES, George, United Kingdom, SOC
H─GG, Carina, Sweden, SOC
HAJIYEVA, Gultakin, Azerbaijan, EPP/CD
KONGLEVOLL, Synn°ve, Norway, SOC
LLOYD, Tony, United Kingdom, SOC
McCAFFERTY, Christine, United Kingdom, SOC
RUPPRECHT, Marlene, Germany, SOC
VERMOT-MANGOLD, Ruth-Gaby, Switzerland, SOC
ZAPFL-HELBLING, Rosmarie, Switzerland, EPP/CD



Socialist Group
Group of the European People’s Party
European Democratic Group
Liberal, Democratic and Reformers’ Group
Group of the Unified European Left
Not registered in a group