Tomorrow, 1 November, it will be exactly ten years since the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was established as a permanent court. An Additional Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) created a new system of legal protection on 1 November 1998: Each and every citizen of the now 47 member states of the Council of Europe has the right to apply directly to Europe's supreme tribunal in matters of human rights. Over the last ten years, more than 500,000 individual applications have been made to the court.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Berlin today (31 October):
"The European Court of Human Rights makes a crucial contribution to the protection of freedom and basic rights in Europe. Its case law has also helped to enforce and develop human rights far beyond Europe's borders. We in Europe can be proud of its achievements."
The European Court of Human Rights is the court of last instance on human rights issues for some 800 million European citizens. Some 50,000 applications are made by individuals each year – a clear reflection of the Court's popularity.