Poland improves its standing in European Court of Human Rights caseload

The number of pending European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) cases in which Poland is one of the parties has dropped from 900 in 2012 to less than 100 in 2019, reported Poland’s “Dziennik Gazeta Prawna” (DGP) daily citing Szymon Janczarek of the Polish MFA’s Department of Implementation of the ECHR Rulings.

Among the most urgent issues that Poland has managed to solve were, as listed by Mr Janczarek, “overcrowded prisons and limitations imposed on owners of housing units liable to regulated rent.”

For her part, Katarzyna Wiśniewska, head of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights Precedents Programme, said that another important issue pointed out by the ECHR that has already been solved was that of “compulsory stays at nursing homes.” Regarding the latter, patients’ mental health now must be regularly examined to make sure his or her stay at the nursing house is justified.

Mr Janczarek went on to explain that in 2019 there was a figure of 0.48 ECHR complaint per 10,000 citizens. The outcome looks promising, given that the average for 47 member states of the Council of Europe amounted to a figure of 0.53 ECHR complaint. This shows that Polish complaints filed to the ECHR constitute 2 percent of all complaints submitted to the international court.

“Poland is not one of the countries that generate more workload for the ECHR,” Mr Janczarek told DGP.

The daily newspaper wrote that Poland has 29 ongoing leading cases to date pending implementation, which is 35 percent of the total number of leading rulings issued by the ECHR over the past 10 years. That is far less than Russia, which has 218 unresolved cases (89 percent), Turkey with 153 (63 percent), and Ukraine with 116 (67 percent).

However, Poland performed worse than Lithuania, Germany, Slovakia, Norway, the Czech Republic and Denmark in terms of the implementation of ECHR rulings on leading cases.

As Mr Janczarek said, “execution of ECHR rulings is not just a matter of a state’s good will. States are obliged [to execute the rulings] by Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”