European Court of Human Rights received 103 complaints re Estonia in 2023

  • 2024-05-02
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - During 2023, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) received 103 complaints against Estonia, an overview submitted to the government by Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna on Thursday shows. 

The ECHR issued eight public rulings on cases filed against Estonia. Four of them were judgments, three were actions declared inadmissible by the ECHR, and one action was removed from the list of cases because Estonia accepted the existence of the infringement. In 2023, the ECHR found an infringement in four cases in which Estonia was the accused. As of Jan. 1 this year, the ECHR was in the process of handling 17 applications sent to Estonia for a response.

Also during 2023, the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers discontinued supervising the implementation of two decisions on Estonia.

When it comes to the judgments, in one case the complainant had been held in custody for an excessively long period during pretrial proceedings. In another case, there was a violation of the right to respect for private and family life as the biological father was unable to participate in proceedings where another man was adopting his child. In the third case, an individual had been detained for an extended period in a detention facility where conditions did not meet the standards of the convention. In the fourth case, the consecutive enforcement of disciplinary punishments imposed to be served in a punishment cell resulted in complainants spending extended periods of time in solitary confinement.

Three of the complaints were declared inadmissible by the ECHR and one was removed from the list of cases because Estonia had accepted the infringement. 

"We stand out rather positively at the European Court of Human Rights," Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said. "Both in terms of the number of cases and the execution of decisions; Estonia also has no repeated systemic problems with human rights."

Tim Kolk, the Estonian government's representative at the ECHR, noted that the vast majority of complaints from people in Estonia receive a response in about four months.

As at Jan. 1, 2024, 33 applications concerning Estonia were pending. Of these, 17 had been forwarded to Estonia for a response.

The ECHR continues to hear cases against Russia, although Russia itself does not take part in any proceedings after its expulsion from the Council of Europe. Expulsion from the Council of Europe does not release Russia from its obligation to cooperate with the bodies of the human rights convention or to comply with ECHR decisions. 

"Estonia considers it important that Russia be held accountable for violations of international law, including the Convention on Human Rights," the foreign minister said. For this reason, Estonia is participating in the case initiated by Ukraine, which concerns massive human rights violations during full-scale warfare after February 24, 2022.

As at the end of 2023, there were 68,450 pending cases in the ECHR. Typically, three in four of the cases involve five countries: Turkey, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, and Italy.