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  • Print publication year: 2018
  • Online publication date: January 2019

A Decade of Violations of the European Convention on Human Rights: Exploring Patterns of Repetitive Violations

from Part III - Coe



This article examines human rights violations of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) between 2007 and 2017 from a statistical perspective. For many years, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has had to deal with large numbers of repetitive cases, dealing with issues that the Court has previously ruled in other cases from the same country. After a general descriptive analysis of numbers of violations of the ECHR, the article provides an exploration of patterns of repetitive cases and general connections between leading cases and provisions of the treaty (articles) – using network analysis. The role leading cases play in repetitive cases differs across countries. In some countries several leading cases are cited in repetitive cases at the same time. This means that there are more complex structural issues that need to be addressed. The variety of leading cases mentioned in repetitive cases in Romania, but also Russia, Bulgaria and Ukraine, is higher compared to other countries, with strong connections between leading cases.


The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is arguably the most important human rights law instrument in Europe. Together with its monitoring body, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), they constitute a global role model for protection of human rights. Opened for signature in 1950, with all 47 Member States of the Council of Europe (CoE) being parties, the ECHR serves as the foundation of Europe‘s human rights framework – in particular for civil and political rights. Cases concerning violations of the ECHR can be brought to the ECtHR in Strasbourg. In the past decades, the Court has dealt with thousands of cases, which also has led to the Court struggling with its caseload. The majority of cases are so-called repetitive cases from a few states. Long evident but explicitly expressed in the Interlaken Declaration of 2010 of the High Level Conference on the Future of the ECtHR, too large a share of the Court‘s resources are devoted to repetitive applications – dealing with types of situations that have already been settled and which could be dealt with more effectively at national level.