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Interviu exclusiv Robert Spano, noul Preşedinte CEDO
30.04.2020 | Alina MATEI

Secţiuni: CEDO, Covid 19 Legal React, Dreptul Uniunii Europene, Interviuri, Selected
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Alina Matei

Alina Matei

Robert Spano

Alina Matei: Thank you, Professor Robert Spano, for your time and willingness to give this interview. I also want to express my gratitude to Professor Iulia Motoc, Romanian Judge at the ECHR, for her support in this endeavor. You have recently been elected President of the European Court of Human Rights. Will you please tell us three goals that you set out to achieve in the mandate that will begin on May 18 and whether the outbreak of the Coronovirus has led to the establishment of special objectives?

Robert Spano: The European Court of Human Rights’s role and mandate has not changed with the pandemic, but has only become more important than ever. My first goal is to secure that the Court can efficiently and at a high level continue dealing with the cases presented to it within a reasonable time, in particular the most important cases which affect democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Europe. Second, the Court must continue to engage in an active dialogue with national courts, in particular Supreme and Constitutional Courts, and play an active role in securing the independence of the judiciary all over Europe. Thirdly, the Court must be increasingly visible and transparent in its work by developing its IT capabilities, not least because of the limitations of physical interaction which flow from the pandemic, and also be efficient in its use of social media to disseminate knowledge of its work.

Alina Matei: How is the European Court of Human Rights seen from the perspective of both the judge and the vice-president of the Court, in the mandate of Judge Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos?

Robert Spano: President Sicilianos has had a very successful and illustrious career as an academic, a judge and President of the Court for the past year. In his mandate, he has been an inspiring and efficient leader bringing the Court forward as the pre-eminent human rights institution in Europe. President Sicilianos has also emphasised the Court´s central, yet interrelated, role within the Council of Europe system. I will be seeking to strengthen that relationship even further in the years to come.

Alina Matei: What are the perspectives / points that the European Court of Human Rights should improve / change? How will you manage the obstacles? Romanians use the expression to put a spoke in the wheel 🙂. I saw that the Romanian press emphasized that you are the youngest president of the Court.

Robert Spano: It is true that I will become the youngest President in the history of the Court when I take up office on 18 May, but the relevance of my age is limited for the job that awaits me. Many leaders in the modern world are my age or even younger. But I am indeed of a younger generation that understands well the significance of visibility, transparency and dynamism for the legitimacy of a truly modern institution serving in the public interest, including an international court. The challenges confronting human rights in Europe are complex and difficult. Under my leadership the European Court of Human Rights will remain at the forefront of developing the general principles of human rights and human dignity that must continue to form the cornerstone of democratic life and the rule of law in Europe.

Alina Matei: Which article of the European Convention of Human Rights do you consider the most important and tell us please if art. 38 of the Convention makes online trials at the court possible?

Robert Spano: It is in general not appropriate to classify Convention provisions on the basis of a subjective view of their importance. The Court has made clear that certain provisions are fundamental for the protection of democracy and human rights. The right to life under Article 2 of the Convention and the prohibition of torture and other forms of ill treatment found in Article 3 are of course of great importance. It is for the Court to decide how to conduct its proceedings and has set special Rules of Court for that purpose based on its competence under Article 25 of the Convention. If the Court considers necessarity to develop its procedures, for example with online hearings, it will do so. We are now in the process of determining our procedures moving forward during this phase where we have to take account of the health crisis.

Alina Matei: A message, please, to the readers of J.

Robert Spano: The protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms is central to the prosperity of the human person. Democracy and the rule of law are values which need to be nurtured and safeguarded at all times, in particular when, as now, we are all facing an unsecure future, a challenge in the form of a health crisis that affects us all. The protection of human rights is not self-evident. A culture of human rights at all levels of society requires a conscious effort, especially by those in power who must never forget that they are servants of the people and that courts are the ultimate guarantors of the rule of law. It is therefore of utmost importance to secure their independence and ability to efficiently deliver justice.

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